May 2006 Archives

We couldn't help but notice that the teacher blogosphere has been strangely quiet this month. Helpfully, Mrs. Ris of Mentor Matters (having been uncharacteristically behind herself lately) lists a number reasons why teacher bloggers get distracted this time of year. In addition to having to plan for sundry spring parties and (apparently) attend country music festivals, she says, they’re also hit with a certain seasonal malaise: students and teachers enter the dreaded testing window for state testing and various other required assessments ... anxiety surges, moodiness swells, exhaustion creeps in. Blogger and colleagues try to remind each other why we ...


While the recent "soda ban" has brought much-needed attention to the issue of junk food in schools, some teachers think it's not enough. The blogger at Are We Doing Anything Today? argues that it's time for simple, sane alternatives to the Cheetos dipped in cream cheese and two-for-75 cents cookies that students eat at lunch. The demand for healthier food is certainly there: My students frequently ask for my food. They snack on my dried fruit and nuts, eat my extra apples. It is a shame that the big bucks of crappy food overrides our need for healthy food in ...


Teaching in the 408's TMAO, who teaches English language learners in California, responds to the news that a judge has struck down the state's high school exit exam. He has mixed feelings about the ruling. He agrees that low-income and minority students face "pervasive and debilitating" inequities in schooling and have not had the same opportunities as other kids to learn the tested material. Yet, as a teacher, he remains torn: Torn, because I believe in the power of teachers and schools to overcome those inequities and the obstacles they erect. I believe that the adults who run schools have ...


Science teacher Ms. Frizzle is going to Turkey next school year as part of a teaching exchange, and has started taking Turkish language classes in preparation. So what's the view like from the other side of the teacher's desk? Well, her Turkish instructor had this response to a student who remarked that the day's lesson was pretty easy: That's because I am giving you the easy ones today. I dispense my poison one drop at a time, slowly. The needle has barely brushed your skin. It will seem easy. Ms. Frizzle says she's going to use that line on her ...


Sometimes, everything just comes together perfectly. That's what Jessica Shyu, the special education teacher of East Meets West, found when she took her students on a recent field trip—to a Denny's restaurant. Ok, it's not the Louvre, but for her students, the trip was a huge self-esteem boost—and a welcome chance to use the real-world skills they'd been practicing all year: ...the real progress that I see among my students is in their confidence. [One student] can find the type of burger that he wants in the menu. My other seventh grader knows how to lay her napkin...


Dmcdowell of A History Teacher confirms that test-anxiety isn’t just for students. He describes his emotions as his AP World History students, after covering 10,000 years in 34 weeks, take the year-end exam. In some ways, I feel like an old-time expectant father, pacing in the hallway. I have done all I can, I sat with those who showed up for their morning classes, joked around with them, trying to lighten the mood. I answered last minute frantic questions all the way up to the time they entered the rooms to take the exam. Most worked hard for ...


Who's under the most pressure during these days of high-stakes testing—the students, or the teachers? Sure, the kids are the ones who are actually obligated to produce answers under pressure, but TeacherTalk blogger Erica Jacobs writes that testing time is no picnic for the educators, either: It’s four days until the test. Four days. Each May I suffer from test anxiety. One hundred six of my charges will be sitting for the Advanced Placement Literature exam this Thursday. Ironically, students seem relaxed; I am the basket case... The words every teacher dreads are: “The test was easy.” That...


Mei Flower puzzles over the reported crisis (recently featured on "Oprah") of teachers sleeping with students: As a female teacher myself, I have to say that I do not understand how a person in her mid-20s to 30s could be attracted to a thirteen-year-old boy, let alone sleep with him. And that is not to mention the fact that I would always be in Teacher Mode, where I would be saying things like, "Don't be a bully," or "Tuck in your shirt," or "Don't say 'ain't'." That is not exactly whispering sweet nothings. … Then she adds the real relationship-killer: I ...


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