When Pigs Sing is struggling with kids -- or as she puts it, kids' hands -- that simply cannot remember where to turn in assignments: "Don't you want my paper?" it insisted. I kindly took it by the hand and walked it over to the wire basket. I pointed. It deposited the paper and walked back to its chair. That was when I felt another paper being thrust at me. And that's when I went off the deep end and personally carried the wire basket from child to child introducing it to each student. And that's how all the children ...


As school year moves beyond ice-breakers and seating assignments, reality—or at least a sense of "What in creation have I gotten myself into?"—is no doubt hitting many idealistic young teachers. Take the example of Jessica Shyu, an aspiring East Coast journalist who, on a Teach for America gig, is teaching middle school special education on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico. She's apparently spent a lot of the past week crying, with good reason: Despite working 18 hours a day, I am always behind. Each day I am a little more behind. Who am I kidding? Each day ...


EduWonk points out how little time it's taken for the discussion about schools affected by Hurricane Katrina to turn to everyone's favorite topic: NCLB, or more specifically, whether schools who take in displaced students will be eligible for waivers. Leave it to education's hysterics and hucksters...There is a real crisis in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast... But now, along come the anti-NCLB hysterics to create a three-ring anti-NCLB circus around the relief efforts... There are a lot more immediate things to do for the kids there than worry about this -- it's gotta be like #344 on ...


With just days left before her school opens its doors, New York City teacher Mildly Melancholy shares her to-do list. It's not for the faint of heart, though one item caught our eye: "Decide on train whistle use." Given that she teaches 6th graders, we just have two words to offer: All. Aboard. (From Mildly Melancholy.)...


NYC Educator seems to have gotten the tone just about right in this fictitious back-to-school missive. First of all, lateness. Lateness is out. We want to see the kids on time this year. What? Well, yes, we wanted them on time last year, too. Yes, I know what happened last year, and I’d rather not…no, let’s not talk about the year before that either. So, remember, lateness is out, right there with portfolios…yes, I know I said portfolios were necessary, but that was the old paradigm…what’s a paradigm? (From NYC Educator.)...


Tim Stahmer ponders the shabby state of many school Web sites, and finds a common culprit: the outdated concept that puts one staffer in a gatekeeper role rather than letting individual educators post things at will. Many of the tech trainers we work with in the schools have been handed this job ("other duties as assigned"), what our overly large school system calls "web curator". It’s actually a very appropriate title since many school, and central office, sites are updated as often as most museums. (From Assorted Stuff via Tim Lauer.)...


NYC Educator takes a look at a new explanation for the old problem of low teacher salaries proffered by Gotham leaders of late: Mayor Bloomberg’s contention that teachers need to raise productivity in order to justify raises beyond 1.33% a year is interesting. I’d certainly like to see that concept applied to my personal expenses. Have you noticed your car's gasoline working 150-200% better over the last few years? Has your community improved its services 20%, to match your property tax increases? Has Con Ed been offering you double quality gas and electric? Has the US Government ...


Every teacher, it seems, has a story about a Parent from Hell. This one shares a story of what happened after her very own 'Momzilla' barged into her classroom one Friday: Saturday morning, I noticed that Momzilla had left a huge bruise on my chest with her persistently tapping, accusing finger. Monday morning, I showed that bruise to the principal, and told him that I had been advised by friends and other teachers to press charges against Momzilla. He told me not to do so, because the school was going to take care of the issue for me. I agreed, ...


GGW asks a provocative what-if question: Why can't the best teachers have a say in the size and scope of their classes? But what if each big high school could tag its Jaime Escalante type of teacher as a "Franchise Player" like they do in the NFL? He/she could earn twice the salary for teaching twice the kids; 50% more to teach 50% more kids; or keep things status quo. Heck, we see college professors with class sizes of 100 and 200 and 300. The point is that a great teacher with 100 kids is better than the typical ...


Back-to-school nights are always a good way to gauge what a class will be like for the upcoming year. This 4th grade teacher may be in for an interesting time: Me: Are you ready to come back to school yet? Rocky: No, but my mama tole me not to get in any fights this year. Me: Well, I think that's a great idea! How about we try to make this year a good one! Mom: When I was young, my mama always tole me to let the other person throw the first punch. Rocky: She tole me to do the ...


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