Saturday, December 22, 2007

Literacy coaches are a waste of tax money.

I was raking the lawn today and it gave me some time to reflect. I am so busy as a teacher that it is hard to find quality time to be reflective. That was one of the things I was thinking about as I raked. I thought back to the meetings of the past week. Lots of meetings where administrators asked us teachers to complete huge forms identifying problem areas in our teaching and other forms describing all of the new strategies we will use to improve all the weaknesses in our students. These meetings make me miserable. The district has all of these administrators and coaches that do no classroom teaching. They make a lot more money than a lowly classroom teacher like the rookie schoolteacher. These people run these meetings where they literally sit on the teachers until they produce these documents. Why don't these people do their jobs?

I am a classroom teacher. I'm in the trenches fighting the good fight. I am not a general with an overview of the battle. I cannot formulate strategy. I'm trying to survive. I'm trying to keep my soldiers alive. That's it. The literacy coaches, math coaches, and principals all have the experience, courses, and time to analyze data and invent strategies for us to use. Why don't we teachers band together in these meetings and tell these lazy people to do their jobs? It really makes me sick. The coaches in my school never teach anything to anyone. They are always too busy to help you plan a lesson, teach a sample lesson, or help you figure out how to use the textbooks and all the materials that go with them. They are usually busy drinking coffee, running errands for the principal, or just missing in action. These people could be analyzing data. They simply are wasting time and they make classroom teachers do the work instead. Literacy coaches and math coaches are a waste of tax money.

I sure don't understand. Just some thoughts about the layers of unaccountability between my classroom and the door to the parking lot. Being reflective helped me rake the lawn. It sure looks nice except for those bare patches where the leaves wrecked the grass. Being a teacher just doesn't allow for much time for domestic chores during the teaching part of the year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry, merry, merry!

Hi. Merry Christmas from the Rookie Schoolteacher Classroom to you and yours. Just a few notes on the day. The kids have gone. They partied down and ate a metric ton of sugar. They bounced around the school like pinballs. They left. Spent the afternoon partying down with professional development paperwork. That took friggin' forever. It's all over and all submitted and the administrative yen for mindless bull crap has been satisfied. Many trees have died and been put into yet another file cabinet never to be seen or read again. But, it's done. I feel a sense of accomplishment. A sense of peace. About half the year is done. I have time now to do some relaxation, catch up on paperwork, see the family, eat a metric ton of sugar, and perhaps do a 5k on the first of the year. We will see.

Do enjoy the holidays and enjoy whatever holiday you do. Remember, in the immortal words of Jake Blues, to "keep both feet on the wheel and do what you feel."

My early Xmas gift is a link to an appropriate Xmas video.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We built this city.

I was listening to the radio in the car this morning and "We built this city" by Starship came on. I listened for more than a few just astounded at what a blast from the past piece of steaming poop this song really is. Wow. Drugs are bad. Don't take them. That is the true message of Starship. This band was Jefferson Airplane and really cooked back about the time I was being born. Compare the two. One is protopunk and the other is a dog's dinner.

My kids are really starting to get nutty because of the impending arrival of Santa. Their behavior both socially and academically is taking a nosedive. The dive becomes deeper with each day. Some of my kids celebrate no holidays at all. I feel particularly bad for them. They are already marginalized by factors beyond their control and then celebrate religions that further separate them from everything. To be young, poor, and minority is bad enough. You have the shaft already. No xmas or substitute is so sad.

I'm returning to my pile of Saturday papers to grade. Much of it is junk. I need to reteach what isn't getting through. Their nuttiness doesn't permit much learning to get through. Thankfully, the holidays begin at the end of next week. I need to get to my work. I also need to turn up the thermostat. My fingers aren't typing too well. Snow and sleet is on the way. Come on snow and sleet. Work your magic. Put the whammy on Monday.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I pity the fool.

I was watching TV yesterday and saw this commercial. I love Mr. T. Check this out. I wish Mr. T was working in my school.

My students are up and down today. They really want to pick on each other lately. It's a shame. They take so much joy in hurting others. My school is superdisfunctional lately. There's no communication lately. Everything is just expected of us as teachers. The administration is accountable to nobody. We're running out of everything. Who's ordering supplies? I can't wait for next Friday. I can cruise to the 21st and then a sweet break. I need a break. I'm running on fumes.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Roky by way of Darcy

Roky Erickson is just the man. I bring this up because my friend Darcy sent me some You Tube links to cool songs and I started looking around. It's really easy to burn an hour on You Tube because one thing leads to another and you realize you've been watching the Skeletor Show for 45 minutes. Anyhow, Roky Erickson has a bunch of clips and he's just so much fun. Check out White Faces and then go nuts. I hope he plays Philly soon. I'll take my school kids... or not.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

George Bush is Insane!

George Bush is bat shit crazy. He's just determined to go after Iran. He needs to be impeached. Iraq and the rest is more than enough for impeachment. More than enough to send him and the rest of his administration to jail. We as a people need to step up and say something.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lesson plans cue the memories.

I'm doing my plans and listening to WFMU online. Some excellent punk rock makes the plans go faster. I noticed this wonderful shirt when I checked their site for a playlist from the show. $12. I'm going to get one of these. I used to listen to WFMU when I was at Seton Hall. I was on a dj on their radio station WSOU but I really wanted to be on 'FMU. WSOU was all metal at the time. It was 1986. Big hair was king. I was not about the hair but I wanted to spin records. I played what sort of sounded as unlike metal as possible. Stuff like "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead. I almost got thrown off the station because I played a song that wasn't metal. The guy that almost threw me off went on to work at B101. He's still there condemned to play Rick Astley for all eternity. "Never Gonna Give You Up..." Anyway, I digress into my ideal version of the past. I wanted to share a funny shirt. My avatar will be sporting this in some chat room for old college djs. Look for me. My head will look like Ira Kaplan's from Yo La Tengo. Gotta go. "Back in the New York Groove" by Ace Frehley is playing.

Welcome to December!

I finished my novel. I wrote 50,100 words from November 1-November 30. I fell off my word count around Thanksgiving and couldn't seem to get past 30,000 for a while and then whoosh it all came out. I wrote 10,000 words in two days and finished up about 8:00 last night! So I feel relieved and exhilarated and like a champion, baby! My novel is about the teaching life. I'm going to set it aside a few days and then read it and edit it and who knows? I'm going to send it out into the world and see what happens. National novel editing month is coming!

Hope everything is great with you. Thanks for reading. More posts to come. I'm back, baby!

I need to go because my daughter is running around singing "25 days until Christmas!" It's too funny.