Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy little thought

If you are a teacher - and have a card to prove this to be true (like a CTA or School ID card) you can get discounts at certain retailers.

Office Depot - will give you a 15% discount on copy and printing- you can also log into your own account to see how your rewards are adding up - check it out

Joann's Fabrics - 15% off all your crafting needs!

Barns and Noble - 20% off books and supplies for the classroom.

Staples and Office Max do it too!

So next time you are out and about - ask if the store gives a teacher discount. It might save you some moola!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

it is the second S*

I have a hard time saying no.

I am a people pleaser and sometimes that becomes a problem. The Hubs gave me a magnet for the fridge in my classroom a few years back that says. "Stop me before I volunteer again". I make myself look at it at least once a day at work. Part of it is that I don't like to let people down. I like to be involved. I enjoy being busy.

As I look at the year ahead I get excited about the fun things that I get to be a part of - not just in my classroom but on my campus and in my community. I am co-advising with Kristine (of blog stalking fame) for the class of 2012.

I don't have to go to home football games. I enjoy it. I like hearing kids yell "Hey Parsons!" - it makes me feel needed. There is still a very big part of me that doesn't like to be the girl sitting on the sideline. Growing up I spend a lot of my time with the ASB. I was able to be a part of the foundation of a school, we were the first graduating class. It was nice to be a part of history. Even if it's local hometown history.

Speaking of high school. Tonight is my ten year reunion. I am on the planning committee (there's that volunteering again). There is a part of me that worries, because not a lot of the people I kept in touch with will be there tonight I'll have no one to sit with. Thank goodness I get to bring my husband tonight. I can't imagine facing this on my own. Bleck - it would be terrifying. I was kind of that weird girl in high school. I wouldn't say that I was popular - but I think I was well liked.

Now I tell my students - if you are weird in high school people don't know what to think of you. the weirder you are as a high school teacher the more you are loved. It's very strange but very true. I am still very much the same person I was in high school - I want to be involved and I want to be well liked. I don't like it when people are upset with me. It not that I want to be the person who people walk all over - but I want to be the person people can depend on.

I enjoy serving others. In whatever capacity that is or becomes. I guess it's a good thing I work in a place that stands for that. Character Leadership Attitude Scholarship Service - CLASS.

*this blog post title comes from Kristine of blog stalking fame.

Monday, September 20, 2010

spirit week

I love my job. Today I got to wear a Bobba Fett shirt* and jeans.
Tomorrow I get to wear a wig and act like I have a secret identity.
Wednesday I will wear my cape and dance in a rally.
Thursday is twin day.
Friday is extreme spirit day.

It's a good life.


Today was another day in the library for research. It's amazing to me that some kids don't know how to find a publishing company or copyright year when looking inside of a book. They spend so much time online and not in real libraries that they don't know how to work when they are in one.

While they are working I'm reading the new book for book club. I'll read a page or two - go help a kid - three or four pages - help a kid. And while I was in the middle of a page a kid strikes up this conversation

R: Why are you reading that
Me: It's for my book club
R: I can't read like that
Me: do you mean while standing up or because I only get a few pages in at a time?
R: No - I don't like to read for fun. I only read the stuff I have to and I don't really even enjoy that.

This is a conversation that sadly happens more often than I would like it too.

So go read a book - and because it's banned book week - go read a banned book!

*Bobba Fett is from Star Wars - he's a bad guy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I have had a few parents ask me "What can my child do to get an A in your class."

Be an A student 100% of the time.

I almost want to ask them "Are you an A+ parent all of the time" - my guess would be no. I think that part of the reason kids are so tempted to cheat is because they don't want to upset their parents by getting bad grades.

It is a very sad reality that some of these kids are more afraid of bringing home an A- than being called out for being a bad kid. WE all have days that aren't our best. I know that there have been lessons that have turned out a bit less than stellar.

Heck if I were giving myself a grade on getting papers back to kids I would give myself a C on average. I'll let you in on a little secret - there have been times at the end of the grading period that I've given a participation grade rather than plowing through all of those papers.

I guess it's hard for me to understand parents who want their child to get an A+. I was not that kid, those were not my parents. I got C's in some of my classes in high school and in college. I turned out okay. I'm a good citizen of the world - I don't beat my dog or cat. As an adult no one cares about the GPA I got anywhere in my educational career.

If your work is amazing - you will get an amazing grade. If you have a bad day - your grade might reflect that. It doesn't mean that you won't go to college, get a job, have a spouse, procreate or any of the other major events that will happen in life.

It might just mean you get an A-.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

thank goodness for dads and husbands

Today on my way to work. I was only about one mile from work. I heard a pop. and then smoke started coming from underneath the bonnet (hood). So I pulled over - started to have a little panic attack. More so because I didn't know how I would get to school. So I called my husband. He was a sleep and didn't pick up the phone. I called my parents. They picked up - very luckily. And we made a plan that Dad and Hubs would take care of it while I was at school.

Happily one of my fellow teachers stopped when they saw me and offered me a ride up to school. I am very very thankful for her.

Turns out it was a water hose that popped. The 'smoke' that I saw was only steam. And Dad and Hubs were able to fix it for a grand total of 15$.

It was one of those moments that added to the week of adventures and feeling overworked.

Tomorrow is Book Club. And let me tell you - it can not come soon enough. We will be discussing the book we read over the summer - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

I am looking forward to it. And Friday. ohhh the weekend cannot come soon enough!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

busy busy bee

This has been one of those weeks - and it's only Wednesday.

Monday - full day of work. then back to school night. Why is it that I could be in front of an entire gym full of students and be fine - but a room full of parents I break into a cold sweat.

Tuesday - full day of work. then a staff meeting. it ran 9 minutes over. people started walking out.

Today - full day of work. dealt with an academic dishonesty issue then site council after school.

I love that every day I add that there was a full day of work. As if i would not work a full day.

Next week is homecoming.
This weekend I'm headed over to my gramma's house to sew myself a cape.

our theme this year is "A Hero of a Homecoming".

I'm busy and tired. Today I woke up at 6:18 - I need to leave the house by 6:43 to make it before the traffic gets crazy.

needless to say it's been a long three days.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Good Teacher, Bad Housewife

I'm a good friend, good teacher, good family member - but one thing I know I'm not good at is housekeeping.

I don't like to clean. I like a clean house - but I'm bad at keeping it that way. I know this about myself - I have embraced it as one of my faults.

But today while I have the ability to have the house to myself my plan is to attack the laundry situation. I don't mind putting laundry in the machine - it's the folding that I don't like.

I guess this goes back to why I don't like grading. It's the teaching I love - if only I didn't have to give grades.

I would love to try the following experiment.

- teach all semester - assigning homework and essays but let students grade their own work. Give plenty of rubrics and make sure they understood what was expected of them. and at the end of the semester allow them to give themselves a grade. I would be willing to bed that there would be some kids who would give themselves an A no matter what - and there are the other kids who would give themselves a grade lower than what they really should have gotten. But I think for the most part kids would give themselves the grade that the deserve. I hate that there are so many kids who ask the question "what can I do to raise my grade" but they never ask "what can I do to learn more"

And isn't it the learning we should all be worried about. That's why I got into this field - not to give grades but to help kids learn.

But like all things in life if you are going to have the fun - there are the responsibilities that go with it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Guilt Bag

This is something every English teacher knows about.

It proves that there are simply just not enough minutes in the day.

I have a guilt bag. It's the bag that I take to work, put papers in, and hope that I'll get a few moments here or there to grade. (Insert laughter because it never happens). Every day I bring this bag from my classroom to my car - car to house - house to car - car to classroom. Secretly hoping that someone has graded those papers in the night. To my shock and surprise Santa has yet to show up and grade my papers.

I have to force myself to grade. It really is one of the hardest parts of my job. I have plenty of rubrics and forms to make sure that I am being equitable when grading. But it pains me to see a kid who worked so hard on something just well... stink as a writer.

This is why homework is important. I give homework so that there is some kind of buffer in the system to help the kid who isn't good at writing essays. If a student does all of their work - and puts their best effort in, they will almost always* get a C or better in my class.

So the battle of grading continues - it's a three day weekend. To be honest I have around 40 full essays and 100+ shorter pieces (two paragraphs) that I need to grade this weekend. Partly because back to school night is on the 13th and I don't want to deal with angry parents.

I've already gotten an email about how I need to reconsider their child's grade. I was tired when I was putting grades in and looked at the wrong column when I put grades in so it looked like half the class was failing. No matter how I phrased the email I still felt like I was a complete moron.

Thank goodness there are still 2 and a half days left of this weekend! Now I'm going to go make a cake in my new pampared chef bake-ware - that grading can wait a little while longer.

*It has happened on a rare occasion that the child gets a D ~ but I don't think they have ever failed.
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