Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Serious

We've been talking about baseball and the world series in my classroom. Mostly it's been me. I love baseball. The kids don't like baseball. They don't understand it. Don't understand the slow pace. Don't understand the complexity of the game. Don't know the history. Don't recognize the beauty of the game. It's not their fault. They haven't been taught the game. In my neighborhood, what you don't understand, you must hate. It's sad because the Phillies are in the World Series again. They're in back to back World Series and that's special for a lot of reasons. From a Phillies perspective, this just never happens. We've only won the world series twice. Now we're in back to back championships and we get to go against the Yankees. Our team is fantastic. I keep talking about the success we're having and keep trying to tie it to our success as a class. It falls flat every time.

One of my kids kind of likes baseball. He wrote in his journal "The Phillies are going to play in the World Serious against the Yunkees I think." Casey Stengel talked about the World Serious. My student could be channeling this. He also wrote "You should see the look on their feces." in another journal entry. I think he meant faces instead of feces. These spelling errors made my day when I read them. Small things like this can mean a lot.

Go Phils!!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Musings at midnight after a sh%t day.

Good golly, I'm in a bad mood tonight, Miss Molly. This was a lame Monday. I don't enjoy being in my room sometimes. Mostly on Mondays and Fridays. My students are so mean to each other and that gets me down. They are so negative and it seeps into my bones. I'm with my students more than I'm with anyone. To be around such negativity is rough on me. I'm not really that negative a person. I defy anyone to shrug off the negative waves that I'm immersed in.

I'm up to my neck in grades, paperwork, and meetings. I go to so many stupid meetings each week. The meetings are almost always with administrators who know nothing. Today's meeting was an hour out of my day to sit with a lady with a stack of papers in front of her. Paper lady hadn't read any of the papers in her stack. She expected me to read her the highlights. This lady makes probably $10 - 15,000 more than me a year and teaches no classes. I'm expected to teach my load and perform statistical analysis, too. The meat and potatoes of this meeting: the students are having trouble in language arts and math. How do we motivate them? Hmm? We needed to have a face to face meeting about this? How about letting me alone to do my paperwork? Please? How about letting me alone so I can decompress after my sh%t day of disciplining kids?

I'm really pissed off about my day, actually. What puts it in perspective is talking to the other teachers on my floor. They're all just as pissed off as me. I was cleaning the room after my meeting and thinking about how much I hate my job some days. I was fantasizing about how much better my year would be if some of my students had manners. Fantasizing about how much better my year would be if some of my students were transferred to reform school. I packed up and walked to my car and ran into some teachers who were talking about how they want to write their resignations and email them to the principal. They want to resign because they're so pissed about the lack of concern for the teachers, the lack of direction in the school, the senseless workload, the nonresponsive administration, the lack of support, the kids, the neighborhood, and the deluge of paperwork. It was nice to hear teachers that I thought had their program squared away talking about walking away and never coming back.

I'm not walking anywhere, but I'm going to try again to get the hell out of the inner city. I'm losing power. I'm not sure that I'm making any difference at all. I know this, that the inner city is changing me into someone that I'm not sure that I like very much. I've spent my time here. Done some great things. I've been teacher of the month. I've been the golden boy and I've been a horse's ass. I need a change. At least a different school where perhaps there's some morale?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just thinking.

Today was a great day off. I'm tired. I've been relaxing, watching baseball, getting a few papers graded, and unwinding.

It's officially fall, a beautiful chill in the air, dappled sunlight and falling leaves everywhere. Fall even makes the abandoned buildings across the street from school look good. The paperwork never stops in the classroom. I'm thinking about a few random things. It would be helpful to have a classroom aide to assist in the grading and organizing. It's never going to happen. I wish that some of the highly paid literacy coaches and math coaches could help out with the load. I'll pause while the teachers reading this laugh. They aren't going to help with anything other than adding junk to my schedule to eat up my time. Coaches don't do any work that they can't pass off on someone else. There are so many highly paid people in education that don't do anything. Why are they here? They can't be fired because of the union. They can come into your classroom and wreck your day at any time. They could do things to help out in the classroom. They could teach small groups, teach demonstration lessons, write lessons, etc. Why are they here? In my school, these people are always talking, eating breakfast, and drinking coffee in the hallway.

I need to go back to watching the Phillies and correcting papers. Thinking about waste is going to make me crazy. I can't do anything about it until I get a job as a principal.

Friday, October 09, 2009


I was interviewed for another blog. This is a first for me. Excitement! Perhaps my thoughts will help another would be teacher out there. Here's hoping.

Today was an enjoyable day. The kids were ok. It's Friday. I'm starring in another blog. I'm off to bask in the glow. Tomorrow it's time to grade papers while the little one is at a skating party.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It's easy. Become a teacher. Live the high life.

I got home tonight and helped with homework, ate dinner, and went running. I'm grumpy. I'm not feeling it right now. I've got to write these enormous lesson plans because we have a new system at school. It takes me like 8-10 hours to write these things. I don't have time to correct the work from the kids. I don't even want to look at their work after writing these lesson plans. The kicker is, I hardly use them anyway. I already know pretty much what I'm going to be teaching. Our administrators have to have these plans. We don't make AYP and we're under the gun from the state and having enormous lesson plans is going to help our kids make AYP.
I want to make AYP. You're goddamn right I do. This isn't the way to do it.

Friggin' waste of time. I'm tired. I can't look at another thing and I'm going to bed. Mad. Being a teacher is really easy.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


I've started taking classes again. In a couple years I'll be able to be a principal. I just spent a weekend in a class about supervising. I've been reflecting the entire weekend about how rotten our principals are. Supervising is supposed to be reflective and developmental. Our principals don't do anything to help us become better at teaching. I would like to become better at my craft. Our principals are all about gotcha! Their emphasis is punitive and always comes from that negative place. It sucks because helping the teachers get better improves instruction. Improving instruction is the most important way to improve student learning. Beating up the teachers destroys the school from the inside out. I'm hoping to reverse this negative idiocy.