Monday, May 24, 2010

The end is near

the end of the school year.

So today I could feel the end. The kids are done. I feel done. And I am ready for the summer to begin.

I assigned what I thought was a simple project last week. We read two pieces and discussed gender rolls. I asked my students to watch a tv show that had a family in it and then write two paragraphs about gender rolls. Just two paragraphs.

But you know... that's a bit hard. Half of the kids did it.

The Sleeping kid feel asleep twice. At one point he was so obnoxious that the class asked him to step outside. You know it's bad when other kids ask someone to step outside.

The school year is winding down and I am ready for it to be over. It's that I don't love my job. Because I really really do. The problem becomes when the students feel like they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope that the next three weeks will allow my little darlings to get their work done.

It doesn't help that I am also on the count down... to SYDNEY! Bren and I will be going to the land down under July 1 for a whole month. I can't wait to eat yummy food, spend time with family, and see all of my favorite places in the city.

So here we go... with great speed - towards the end of the year!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gender Rolls -

as discussed in an 11th grade classroom.

We are currently reading two different pieces. "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady and "Not All Men are Sly Foxes" By Armin Brott.

They were so funny to listen to. I am always so amazed by what young people are willing to discuss. It makes me so very proud to be a part of their education.

We discussed the rolls of mothers and fathers today.
Here is a little blip on their thoughts -

Me - Okay so how do we define what a man is - J when do you think you become a man.
J- I think when your father sits you down and tells you that he is proud of you and the actions you have taken in your life.
Me - wow that is a pretty powerful statement.
H - Mrs. Parsons what if you don't have a father in your life
Me - I think a father does not have to be biologically linked to you - It can be any man or mentor in your life. That helps create an adult.
H - *smiles and nods his head*

After class K comes up to me and says -
K- I'm so glad we had that talk today. It helps me understand what it might be like to not grow up with two parents. I think it's important to hear other people's viewpoints. It gives me a greater sense of the world around me. Thank you.

Those are the lessons I love teaching.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


While teaching Night I am also teaching a small writing unit. Personal Narratives are so fun to read after the kids are all done.

I use Freedom Writers as a jumping off point. Today the theme that my students were writing about was Heroes. What it means to be one - who their heroes are.

We went around the room after they were done writing and discussed who their heroes are. It is so amazing to hear a group of 15/16 year olds discuss who they want to be like when they grow up.

One student spoke about her grandfather and that he was just so kind, and loving. She got a little choked up when she let us know that he passes away two years ago. In this room full of wild teenagers they all felt a moment of connection with one another. They did not make fun of this girl because she was sad - they comforted her.

As much as these kids talk about their own heroes. There are so many days when my students are my heroes. They teach me so much and they don't even know it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I love teaching Night.

But - I'm a crier - Today and tomorrow (block schedule) I am reading chapter 5 with my students. This chapter discusses the fact that Elie has an infection in his foot and is forced to go into the hospital unit. As readers we find out that had he stayed in the hospital unit during the evacuation of Buna he would have been freed by the Russian army. This makes me cry.

Then the part that makes me cry every time I read it - Akiba Drumer is taken away and asks his friends to say the Kaddish for him. (the Jewish prayer for the dead). Elie then talks about the fact that three days later when they are meant to say the prayer they forget.

Gets me every single time.

I do love how sensitive the kids are - they really love reading and learning about this time period in history. It makes me feel like I'm doing a good job with my lessons when a group of 30 tenth graders are so quiet and interested in what they are reading.

speaking of good teaching - I've been nominated by my peers for teacher of the year. eeek

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Grading papers

Why is it so hard to sit down and grade papers. I did get a bunch graded today while I was lucky enough not to have to test during CST testing.

I have about 10 more to grade for my Expo classes and then 30 for my regular American Lit kids.

The Am Lit ones are only 4 pages so that shouldn't take to long to read and annotate (aka grade) 120 pages. oh blurg!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

No Teacher Left Behind

Now I know we have heard of NCLB. But this week it was N-T-LB around my neck of the woods.

178 were on "The List" - this became a curse word around our campus for the last month and a half or so. I was not on "The List" - but a lot of my friends were. 8 in my department alone. And let me tell you - the tone on my campus was "No way - No how" - we were not going to lose any of our amazing, fantastic, stupendous*, down right cool teachers.

So the district and the union 'battled' it out. (They didn't have swords or anything - but that may have been amazing to watch) And to our delight gave us the option to vote early this week. 95% of the teachers in the district voted to keep our 178! And so all is well in the land.

It felt so good to know that our department would stay intact. We will be taking 7 furlough days next year. 3 teacher and 4 student days. That does make me think - now how am I going to teach all of this in 4 less days - but then again, homework isn't always a bad thing.

*I feel like the word stupendous is not used enough. It really is a great word.
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