Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Immigrants, Accents, and Annoyances

Eighth grade drove me up the wall today when I taught them about the immigrants who came to America.
We spoke about accents, and of course, they made me speak in my British accent for the rest of the day. - I didn't mind! :)
We finally finished Charles, so that means that I can begin a new story with them tomorrow, and then hopefully give a test by next week sometime.
During recess I went over to the principal to return a book I had taken from her office, and suddenly, I decided to ask her about having my husband come down to teach the girls about the stock market.
She was soo thrilled with the idea! She couldn't wait to have him come down, and she wanted to have the girls visit Wall Street as well. I told her that Wall Street was closed to visitors because of security reasons, but she was so excited about having my husband come down and teach them.
Now I have to get him to really come.
I walked into the 7th grade 5 minutes late because the teachers were having a hysterical discussion about toilet paper that I just did not want to miss.
As late as I came in, six girls came in later.
Of course, they were C.S.S. and C.K. and E.M.B. D.A. and F.E. surprised me by being part of the group.
I sent them all to get late notes and in the meantime taught the class and guided them in writing their persuasive essays.
I told them to pretend they were Samuel Adams in the revolutionary war, and do what he did; make all the problems worse than they were, and then offer a solution.
The girls liked the idea very much.
S.G. and S.S. definitely need special help, and I'm trying very hard, but there's only so much I can do without actually doing the work for them.
When the other girls came in, they were very lost, but it was their loss. I was not going to repeat my entire lesson.
Maybe that'll teach them to come in on time.
C.S.S. refused to do any work when she came in, but when I said that they would not be allowed to finish their drafts at home, she began working frantically.
She has been sitting in her new seat this week so far, and the isolation is getting to her. I'm happy about it.
The last 20 minutes of the day, I sat with the two highest literature groups, and we got somewhere.
I actually enjoyed it! I had fun talking to the girls, but I think I could've prepared my work better.
...Always next time!
During the group, C.S.S., who was supposed to be doing her essay, was disturbing the rest of the class. I had to stop for her like 10 times.
I spoke to the principal about her again, and she said, that she wanted to speak to C.S.S. before class tomorrow.
I hope whatever she says to her works...for her sake as well as mine.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Unexpected Changes

Eighth grade today was a shlep. I have to get this letter to self done already as the principal is even beginning to nudge me.
I told them that it's due on Friday. Hopefully, that's not an unrealistic expectation.
I was slightly annoyed at some of the girls who were just plain lazy to write anything today. Like R.Y. She was being so lazy, and she expected me to let her get away with it too.
She had come over to me before class to tell me that she had not done her homework. I told her that was unacceptable and she was upset at me for marking it down.
Well, what did she think?! Did she really think that just because she forgot to write down the homework and felt bad about it, I was going to give her a pardon?
Kids these days ...*sigh*.
We tried finishing up Charles in literature, but we got so carried away with schmoozing, that we got nowhere.
During recess I bumped into the principal, who wanted me to talk to her about Hebco.
I spoke with her and was very honest.
I told her that I felt that Hebco's relationship with the students was inappropriate. I said that I felt that we teachers were not being given a chance because Hebco insisted on holding on to that bond she had with the 8th grade.
I said that she had made a comment to the 8th graders that she was offered my co's job but my co got it because she didn't want it. I told the principal that whether it was true or not, I didn't' think the kids had to be told that.
The principal was quite shocked and said that she had never offered the job to Hebco. I told her that I didn't care and neither did my co, but that we felt it was inappropriate for the kids.
I also told her how Hebco had told me that I only got my job because she had pulled for me.
The principal was laughing so hard at how not true it all was.
I told her that I was used to it as I knew Hebco as a kid and that she hadn't changed.
I insisted that she not speak to her about this at all, because it didn't matter to me what fantasy world Hebco lived in. I just wanted to make sure she was kept away from my students.
The principal said that she had had the same feelings for a long time and wanted to hear from us how we felt.
I repeated myself and told her that I didn't want anything mentioned to Hebco; that we teachers were ok with the way things were as long as she didnt infringe on our territory.
Later, my co came to tell me that the principal came over to her and apologized for the misconception she might have had about Hebco being offered the job.
My co laughed it off, but she told me she was as relieved as I was to hear that the principal was on "our" side.
I had told the principal that I felt bad as the Hebrew principal was so insistent that I take Hebco as my sub.
She said, "Well yes, but I am the one who makes the final decision, and I don't want to put Hebco there."
I felt so good!
Seventh grade had their test today and the class average was an 87. It wasn't bad, but I had 4 kids taking a special test!
E.M.B. didn't study and almost failed. She wants to take it over, but I dunno if I can let her. She knew about this test a week ago.
C.S.S. went and memorized the letters of the Multiple choice (I gave her the test in advance) but I expected that, so I gave her a shorter version of the test with the questions mixed up.
She flunked beautifully :).
S.G. also got an easy test and she had a hard time anyway.
I don't know what to do with my kids anymore.
Anyway, the biggest thing that happened today was that B.B. was absent for a week.
Hebco had mentioned it to the principal who called B.B.'s aunt who told us that she took B.B. out of school and switched her to a special school.
I am relieved and I think it's the best thing for her, but it is unexpected. I'm surprised that the aunt didn't tell us anything, and waited for us to call her.
Interesting people out there...

Monday, November 27, 2006

How Embarrassing!

I had this wedding tonight and the chosson turned out to be C.F.C.'s uncle.
She was all excited to see me there, and followed me around.
During the meal, my oncologist (who was there as a family friend of the kallah) came into the women's side with my husband and gave me a BIG HUG, right in front of C.F.C.
He then made me turn sideways and frontways and all different ways so he could see how big my belly was getting and C.F.C. was watching this the entire time.
I was slightly mortified.
Muy doctor asked how teaching was going, so I pointed C.F.C. out and said that she was one of my students.
My doctor went over to her and took her aside to ask her if I was a good teacher...
C.F.C. then came over to me to ask my if my husband was my husband.
I told her that that was him in all his glory. She told him that she was so excited to meet him and that the class had heard so much about him.
My DH took off his hat and bowed and said, "This is me!"
I'm waiting for C.F.C. to go back to school and give this over to the class. LOL

Funny Day

Day was not bad; just long.
The 8th grade worked all day on their letters to self. They are taking forever to get done. I want them handed in by the end of the week.
C.F.C. and T.B.N. handed in their tests that I let them take at home. C.F.C. got a 50, which, added to her other test, gave her a score of 87. She was thrilled.
T.B.N.'s test scored a 35. Added to her other score, she got a 64 in total. Poor kid.
I announced seat changes in the 8th grade, and they pretty much seem to be happy.
Other than that, nothing really happened today, and I got to sit all day which made me happy.
During recess, the principal came over to me and began asking me what I decided about a sub. I told her that I really wasn't comfortable using Hebco.
She told me that I had nothing to fear because the 8th graders liked me so much that Hebco would not overshadow me at all.
I told her that really there were other issues there as well.
She looked interested and said. "Thats funny. I would love to hear your reservations as I have some reservations of my own."
I was so relieved and told her that my co had the same problems with Hebco too.
The principal said that she wanted to meet with me as soon as possible to discuss this.
I know that I have to be careful with what I say to her about Hebco, especially if she has her own concerns about her. I don't want to get her in trouble, I just want to keep her away from my students.
I have to think this through before talking to the principal.
The 7th grade loved watching Johnny Tremain, and it was very cool to see how history came alive to them.
I have a bad feeling that they're all going to fail their tests tomorrow because a lot of girls asked really stupid questions and had no idea who certain key people were.
C.S.S. even thought the test was Wednesday instead of tomorrow. I don't care what happens, she will take that test tomorrow.
B.B. was absent which means that I could not get a copy of the test home with her, so she has nothing to study from.
I'm in for such a day tomorrow!
S.G. wrote me a note that she felt that my tests were way harder than what she was used to from public school. I know that she hasn't been doing too well lately, and I arranged to give her an easy test tomorrow to see if it would help.
S.E. was so funny today. During the movie she noticed that I was standing. She bent over and whispered to me, "Mrs. ______, why are you standing? You really should be sitting..."
I love the kid!
R.A. got on everyone's nerves today by bragging about how she knew the story of Johnny Tremain because she had read the book in third grade. She also felt it was very important to give a running commentary of the video to the class.
I had to shut her up by telling her that I was the teacher here.
I got a call from E.L.'s mom about her sitting so close to R.A. during Hebrew. She was upset that R.A. kept pushing herself onto E.L.
Someone needs to teach the kid social skills, and I'm way too busy to be that somebody!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kids With Issues

I had gotten a message to call C.S.S.'s father, so I called him last night. All he wanted to know was how his daughter was doing.
I told him only the positive things because I had been told by the principal that C.S.S.'s parents didn't treat her the way they should be treating her, so I didn't want to get her into any trouble. I figured that I better tell the principal about C.S.S.
I did go to the principal today in school and she seemed a little concerned that C.S.S. had taken the seating chart, and she definitely seemed surprised that C.S.S. admitted it.
8th grade had a test today, and of course C.F.C. wasn't feeling well, so I told her to take the test home and give it to me Monday.
I'm upset because she does this to me all the time. She's afraid of taking tests and she always manages to get sick when I give one.
I must call her parents.
The 8th graders had a wonderful time talking to me after their test. R.S. wanted to know if she was allowed to write about what kind of boy she wanted to marry in her letter to self.
I laughed and told her that she could plan all she wanted but that it wasn't going to help her. I told the class about how I always said I would never marry a man with the name _____, and that's what I married anyway. They asked me why I went out with him if I didn't like his name, so I told them that I knew him before and that's why it happened by mistake that we went out.
I refused to tell them anymore LOL.
R.S. and D.Z. wanted to know of my husband's name was _____ (his name). I asked them how they knew, and it turns out that my little stinkers went onto to check me up.
They are nuts.
T.B.N. also took the test home to finish; I told her to do it with her notes open. It won't make a difference to her anyway. She's not capable of doing well on the test no matter how much help she gets.
Seventh grade was slightly annoying today. I finished the chapter with them and scheduled a test for Tuesday which means that Monday I will get to show them Johnny Tremain.
I began doing their writing with them and I was more than a little frustrated. The girls are really lazy to think. When I was in school we were given a topic and you had to write about it no matter what. Here, these girls expect to get a new topic, or at least a lot of help, when they can't figure out what to write.
S.S. and S.G. drove me nuts asking for ideas and help writing.
I don't know how I'm going to get through to this class with their writings.
S.S. was passing notes all day to R.B. of all people and C.S.S. passed to S.N.K.
The new seating chart is not working out because the girls are way to heimish in this class. F.E. and S.G. were chatting all day, and I just realized that C.S.S. was sitting in the wrong seat. That may be why the seating chart didn't work out.
I have to talk to that kid.
I heard she told the resource room teacher that she couldn't do something because she had "issues".
No kidding.
I am so looking forward to vacation tomorrow!
I'm off till Monday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I wanted to talk to Hebco today about asking her friend to sub for me. I told her I wanted to speak with her and she smiled and said, "Don't worry, I already spoke to the Hebrew principal. I'll sub for you for sure!"
I was pretty upset because I had specifically told the principal to give me time to think about it, but she went ahead and offered the job to Hebco anyway. The stupid thing is that Hebco would only do the 8th grade which still leaves me to find a sub for the 7th.
So if I still have to find a sub, I didn't accomplish anything.
I mentioned this to the Hebrew principal and she was insistentf that Hebco take the 8th grade anyway.
My co is so upset. She does not want Hebco taking over the 8th grade. She had her turn with them last year. Now we need them to give us a chance.
We really want to talk to the English principal about it, but we need to find an opportunity to do so.
In the meantime I think I found a sub for both 7th and 8th. It would make things so much easier if she did the whole afternoon and I only had to deal with one sub.
I dunno. I have to get this settled with the English principal.
Anyways, the 8th grade today was NUTZ and the Hebrew teacher was ever so glad when I took them over for the day.
We barely managed to finish the aim of history today which is not that good because their test is tomorrow and I really wanted to review with them a little.
I taught about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and I got really gory and read them a live account with a lot of details and pictures.
They were really disgusted. :)
I was a little nervous because of the observers, but then I relaxed and had a good time.
During recess I found out that I was having observers in 7th grade too.
I had been told that I would not have them in 7th, but turns out the seminary sent them anyway.
I ran to the 7th grade to get my book and prepare, and I bumped into my co who told me that the girls had refused to switch seats and that the seating chart was missing.
She had yelled at the class, but the seating chart had not turned up. She was furious.
After recess, C.S.S. came over to me to tell me that she was the one who hid the seating chart and she felt bad but now it was lost and she couldn't find it.
I asked her if she thought that was the right thing to do, and she looked sorry, but I will have to call her parents and talk to the principal. Whoopie.
I was kind of nervous because I hadn't prepared very well, but I ended up having a great time because I taught the Boston Tea Party and that's always a fun lesson.
The observers seemed to be enjoying themselves too, and S.E. kept them busy by schmoozing with them through my lesson.
D.A. drew a graphic image of a half naked Indian during the class and was proudly passing it around during dismissal.
I told her that if she cleaned up the image I would put it on the test.
Hope it gets her to do something constructive.
And that was my day! :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

And It's Not My Fault?

The principal came over to me today to tell me that the 7th grade's persuasive essays were atrocious.
I got a little defensive as I had spent a long time teaching them to write and I was afraid the principal was going to bash my technique.
I asked her if she thought it was my fault.
She looked at me and said, "Absolutely not! I knew what I was doing when I hired you. You are a great teacher and this is just your class acting lazy. I know they can do better than this! I'm going to go it and talk to them about it!"
I was so excited. I almost called my husband right then to tell him how much I loved this place.
I went into the 8th grade and we were too busy talking to get too much done is history. I'm not too excited about that because their test is Wednesday.
During class, the light fixture fell onto R.S.'s desk and the entire class had a "mouse reaction." They all jumped up and shrieked.
We finally got Jerry the janitor to come in and fix the problem. He seems to be in my class a lot lately. This place is falling apart.
I told the class that we'll be having seminary girls observe us tomorrow and that they better make me look good.
The girls were very spunky today and they totally agreed to behave tomorrow.
I had brought in a chassidishe CD that was produced by the Pittsburgh chassidim because I had taught the girls about the steel mills in Pittsburgh and wanted to tie in a little bit of Judaism.
They were hooked on this chassidishe CD and asked me to play it during their writing class.
I didn't mind and I thought it was insanely did my husband.
During recess I spoke to my co about a sub for me.
The Hebrew principal had suggested asking Hebco to sub for me when I need to leave, and I was really not happy with the idea.
I told the Hebrew principal that I was intimidated by Hebco because the class liked her so much that they probably wouldn't want me back after her subbing them for 6 weeks.
My co had another take on the matter. She said that if Hebco subbed for me, they would need to find a sub for her too. She refuses to teach as a co to Hebco.
We decided we had to go talk to the principal about her because we found some 8th graders talking to her about their shabbaton. They were asking for her help with ideas. It makes me nauseous to see them kissing up to her like that.
We went over some history today in 7th and then the principal came in and spoke to the girls about their essays.
She promised that if they did a good job and if they persuaded her to cancel school uniforms or give them more trips, she'd give it to them.
The 7th grade was so excited and they even felt a little bad when the principal told them that I was too good of a teacher for them to hand in such sloppy work. I felt great.
After we learned some history, I spoke to the girls about their writings and then gave them back and read more of their read aloud.
I also hung up a seating chart which the girls went a little crazy over. I hope it works out well.
Tomorrow I'm teaching the triangle shirtwaist fire and the Boston teach party. I'm so excited!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Regards From Last Year

I was coming home from the grocery at about 11pm Thursday night with my husband. We were both carrying about a zillion bags and I was waddling into the building all wet from the rain when who should I see in the lobby but S.G.L. from my last year's class?
She was looking for a family who lived in the building so that she could deliver some stuff for them and I showed her where to go.
We stood in the elevator together and I asked her how school was going.
She said that she liked school so much more this year because 8th grade was just going easier for her. I'm happy for her.
She looks so mature now and she also looks so happy.
I also met T.J. and S.J. on Shabbos and though they're still short and petite, they are also looking more mature.
Maybe there's hope for my last years' students!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Another English Friday

I think I like English Fridays.
They're so casual and fun. I don't expect to really teach much, I just go for the social life of it. :)
My sister did yearbook in 8th, she gave out deadlines for all the groups so that they should being pacing themselves and start getting a move on.
I helped out by driving the office staff crazy to make copies for me. I sat with the features kids and helped them expand on their ideas for a stunning layout for their baby pictures page.
They planned on doing the game Guess Who by Milton Bradley for their spread, so I photocopied the box for them and helped them paste their pictures in instead of the actual game pictures.
It's hard to explain, but it came out adorable. Now I just have to call Milton Bradley to get their permission to use their game.
The seventh grade was a load of fun because we did some current events and I told them about the gulf war and how I remembered it as a kindergarten tot.
I told them that I really believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding under the floor in my room. I had been told that he was underground and I really believed it!
Of course, C.S.S. piped up and said, "One second! I thought when they said he was underground they really meant it! I mean he was found in a hole, wasn't he?"
The class was on the floor. If nothing else, at least she adds comic relief to the 7th grade.
I got their literature groups started and I met with the two top groups to discuss how to go about reading and filling in their papers for our next meeting.
I explained to the class as a whole that the reading groups had nothing to do with how smart they were, it was about how their brain processed the info that they read.
I told them that they were so
I still had to meet with the other two groups, but we were out of time, so I just spent the last 10 minutes of the day reading out read aloud.
I wore sneakers and a slinky skirt today and no one said a word. What a great place. Now the only thing that could make it better is an elevator.
I'm getting kind of tired schlepping my big self up four flights every day...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Great News!

First I'll tell you about my day; that'll keep you reading to the great news part...
I had a crazy morning, trying to get to school on time from Manhattan. I made it just in time to walk into class.
I come into the 8th grade just to find that there is a huge gaping hole in the ceiling and the desks are all crowded to the front of the room around where I usually stand.
I asked them what was going on and they told me that the roof was leaking and the ceiling had collapsed under all the weight of the water.
So now I teach in a classroom with a shattered window and a holy ceiling.
Somewhere in the middle of my lesson we heard a scratching from right above us.
The girls all looked up and I nonchalantly said, "don't worry girls, it's probably just a mouse of something."
That was the worst possible thing to say because in about 30 seconds I had the entire class running under my desk and shrieking.
I finally convinced them to move their desks to the the side of the room and continue learning.
So now we had all the desks squished into the front right corner of the room.
I finally began teaching my lesson and I had to move quickly because I still had half a chapter to teach before their test on Wednesday.
I started teaching about inventions in the late 1800's and C.F.C. needed to know why she had to learn all this.
I tried explaining to her that our lives would be so different without the lightbulb and the telephone etc...and when she heard that we were learning about the telephone, she was quiet. It seems that was an important enough invention to learn about.
In the seventh grade, we continued learning about the taxes in the colonies and during review, R.A. began giving me a whole rundown on stuff I had never taught.
I stopped her in the middle of a sentence and said, "Thank you R.A., that's all I wanted to hear. Please save some questions for the other girls."
The class snickered and I felt mean, but she so deserved it.
I began telling the girls about their literature groups and they were so excited. I'm starting to get excited too. Maybe they can be fun.
After school I met up with my old co in the street.
She looks amazing! She is so married and looks like the sweetest young wife. :) I hope her husband is enjoying her company as much as I did last year!
We began talking about how things are going etc, and she told me the best piece of news I had heard all year...
The girl who took over my job is QUITTING!!
Hee hee hee.
That's my good news.
I'm a little stinker. :)
By the way, if any of my readers know of a good substitute who is willing to sub for a few weeks in February, tell her to give me a call. I'm getting sort of desperate.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Taking Stock in What I Do

Eighth grade today learned all about stocks. I wasted an entire history lesson teaching them the basics of stocks and investing. It was part of the aim in history, but I spent a long time on it till they got it.
I mentioned to them that this was what my husband did for a living and they asked if he could come down to school and teach them about it.
That took up the whole period for them and even B.K. had to be quiet long enough to listen to this lesson because she herself didn't understand much of it.
When I was done teaching this, M.S. (not the one who cries during tests; the other M.S.) asked if this was what the stock market was all about.
I told her that if she understood today's lesson, she knew all about the stock market. The kids were thrilled.
Seventh grade learned about the taxes the British put on the colonies.
I learned from last year that these lessons tend to get very animated and full of discussion, and it was like that here too.
D.A. and S.E. and R.B. and C.S.S. were very busy taking sides.
Talking about C.S.S., she handed in her persuasive essay a day late and it was terrible. She had written it in class and I told her to take it home and make it better. All she had done was taken it home and added illustrations.
I was peeved. I gave it a C and plan to hand it to the principal at the top of the pile of the rest of the class' essays.
She and S.N.K. were sitting on my nerves all day. I finally yelled at S.N.K. and warned her that I would put her in 6th grade for a day if she would not behave.
I am so tempted to write on her report card; "S.N.K. was a fine, mature, intelligent student until she met C.S.S." :)
I quickly taught them more about subjects and predicates and then at the end of the day, I continued with my read aloud.
I am reading a book that I loved as a kid, called "Yesterday's Child" by Ruth Benjamin. The girls never read it and they are so enthralled by the plot so far. I'm so excited.
The principal dumped a load of books on me to read for my literature groups that I plan on starting tomorrow.
I don't know how I'm gonna read 4 books in one night, but hey, I'll manage.
I wrote report cards comments for the 7th grade earlier. I crack myself up sometimes.
R.A. got the comment; "R.A. is a gifted child who adds much to our class when using her abilities in the right way."
C.S.S.'s comment was something like, "C.S.S. is a talented student who is capable of making a consistent effort to follow school rules and apply herself in class. We are sure that with a little effort she is sure to achieve."
E.M.B.'s comment asked her to participate more and C.K.'s was similar to C.S.S.
I want to change T.G.'s in 8th's comment to something about curbing her tongue, and B.K.'s to waiting a few more years before she tries to be the teacher.
T.B.N. also needs a more specific comment about her abilities, (or lack of them) in the classroom.
N.N.'s comment mentioned her unique personality because I couldn't think of a nice way to say she gets on my nerves. :)
Anyways, I have a lot of reading to do.
I got to go, but I will leave you with this; my husband has agreed to come down and teach the girls a lesson on the market.
They'll be so excited. I love this school.
P.S. I made a new sewating chart for the 7th grade. My co has agreed to it and we hope it'll work out. Keeping our fingers crossed!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On My Nerves

Today a lot of kids got on my nerves.
B.K. managed to do it while I was cramming a lesson of history into the 8th grade. I realized that I had scheduled a test for next week but I hadn't begun teaching the material.
Anyways, B.K. managed to frustrate me by going ahead in the lesson and calling out everything I was about to say. M.S. was totally crying because she was so confused.
I finally had to tell B.K. to shut up and let me teach.
My co had the same problem with R.A. today. She had to call her over and tell her to shut up too. R.A. started crying and I told my co that R.A. could cry until tomorrow but she had to learn to let us be the teachers.
I have to figure out now how to write a comment about R.A.'s attitude and B.K.'s and N.N.'s without sounding too negative.
By the way, R.A. asked the same question on her index card as she has been asking for the last three weeks. She keeps asking me why is a dog a man's best friend. I got fed up and told her that I believed she had asked me this question befire and I had told her that I'd get back to her. I told her to trust me and not ask it again.
She irks me.
I gave aliterature quiz to 8th grade because I needed a mark for the report card and I have to say that they did well.
The seventh grade left me in a down mood because their persuasive essays were atrocious. I gave it to them over the head and then gave the essays back to them to rewrite so that I could mark them.
I marked them before and got a bunch of A's and B's. Even B.B. got a B-. She got a lot of help, but still.
Today in class B.B. asked me how to write a conclusion. I totally lost it and gave it to her. I asked her what she thought she was doing in my class as we had gone over conclusions about six times today. She got the message and then did a good job writing her own conclusion.
This kid is learning diabled and lazy. What a combo.
My co also gave it to her today because she raises her hand but then refuses to talk. I have the feeling that my co and I think alike when it comes to who gets on our nerves.
I regave the maps quiz today and I hate to say it, but I don't think they did any better today than they would have done yesterday.
I spent a few more hours on report cards tonight, and the only thing I have left to do is the 7th grade comments and one more 8th grade mark that I don't yet have.
I'm starting to get my life in balance.
I have to make a seating chart for both classes because the 8th grade has never been changed, and because Hebco totally messed up the 7th grade charts.
Last week she was all into the discussion about who should be friends with whom in 7th, but now she went and split everyone up.
I just don't get her. Does she just lie and shale her head to look good to the principals and then do what she feels like, or is she for real?

Monday, November 13, 2006

How do You Kick a Kid out of School?

The seventh grade teachers had to meet today with B.B.'s aunt to discuss her future in the school.
Her aunt was very defensive and refused to hear of anything that would mean B.B. had to leave school.
We did discuss a million different options, but there is no money to send her to special schools. We are going to look into the Ichud program for her even though they have no seventh grade; we are thinking of putting her into the 6th.
My co and I kept glancing at each other every time Hebco opened her mouth. I was worried about getting my point across without seeming like I was miss-know-it-all. It didn't seem like Hebco worried about that at all. She spoke to B.B.'s aunt as if she were a baby and she just dumped the info on her stone cold.
I was slightly taken aback as Hebco described her as being like a wall in the classroom.
I needed to help B.B. a lot in class today with her persuasive essay and all I kept thinking about was how to get her into a program that would really benefit her. Seems like she'll be taking up a lot of my time this year.
S.G. and C.S.S. and S.S. and C.K. all needed my help with their essays. I'm pretty shocked that I have so many girls who need help. The rules are simple enough, but they all kept messing them up. I'm starting to feel like I have no idea how to teach writing. It's a little depressing.
I am under pressure to get these writings in because report card rating sheets are due in Thursday. I told the 8th grade to hand in the first two parts of their "Letters to Self" so that I could give them an average mark on grammar and spelling and writing for this term. I spent all night on them.
I also spent all Sunday writing up comments for each kid in 8th and averaging out their marks. This year I put everything on an excel spreadsheet so that in case the principal needed things averaged over (like last year), it wouldn't be a big deal. The entire averaging took about 4 seconds this year.
I'm so pressured to get the marks in, but I have no real writing rubrics for marking and I think a lot of the marks on the report cards are baloney. How am I supposed to mark a kid on "Oral Communication" or "Accuracy in Class Discussions?"
I gave a maps quiz in both classes today because I needed a Geography mark on the report card. 8th grade all passed with flying colors. In 7th, I didn't even collect their answer sheets. I collected their question sheets instead and told them to study like hell for tomorrow. I don't know why, but I'm giving them another chance.
Tomorrow is going to be a day devoted to report cards. I am giving that quiz in maps again, plus a quiz on literature in 8th, and I have to cram in one last chapter and test in the 8th grade before report cards are due. Help!
By the way, I got some index cards today that I could only get in this school: Two girls asked me when my birthday was. One girl asked me what color my hair was under my wig. N.N. told me girls are bullying her. And B.B. told me that F.E. and S.G. are teasing her.
B.B. so needs to get out of here.
Another by the way, this post is the 201th post on this blog. Last post was number 200!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hats Off to Me!

I wore a hat to school today.
I was waiting for this since last year, and now that this school lets the teachers wear hats; I wore a cute little cap all day.
The first that happened, was that the principal came over to tell me how cute I looked in a hat. I had to call my husband and tell him that. He had such nachas. He loves this school too.
The 8th graders were very quick to tell me that I looked good and they all wanted to take pictures of me.
The five sweatshirts that were damaged were finally sent back to me today, and the seniors were so excited to get them. And to top it all off, the company felt so bad about the damaged stuff; they gave me $25 off my next order!
8th grade voted on a maroon print leather cover for their yearbook today, and I printed out ad blanks for them to get on Monday.
They took a history test and all got in the 90's. I'm so proud.
The seventh grade manages to get me off track no matter how hard I try to keep to what I have to do, and today it took us an hour to get through history.
After that I read them some funny headlines I had collected for them, and promised to bring in because it connected to what we had done in current events last week.
I also brought in an imitation Kipling bag to show them what a knockoff looks like. They were all very impressed. LOL
I began teaching them about persuasive essays, and S.E. put on a good show trying to persuade me (who was playing her mother) to give her her own room.
Talking about S.E., my co told me that during lunch, she was outside in the lobby reading a book. She refused to come in to lunch saying that Hebco had let her sit there. My co told her that once Hebrew is over, she was the authority, and S.E. had to listen to her. S.E. refused.
I went upstairs and asked Hebco why S.E. was allowed to sit in the lobby. She told me, "Oh, because she was in a bad mood, so I let her go chill out."
I asked her if she was aware that it was against the rules and that it was causing S.E. to be chutzpadik to my co.
Hebco just shrugged like she didn't care.
Argh. She is annoying me to pieces.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The blogger website has been down the past couple of days and that's why you haven't heard from me in a while.
It wasn't such a bad thing, as I didn't have that much to say anyway.
Monday was a relatively quiet day, and Tuesday was curriculum day for teachers so there was no school anyway.
Today though, I'm angry and need a place to vent.
If last year I had issues with my principal; this year I have issues with the Hebrew co of 7th grade.
The 7th grade teachers had a meeting today with the principals to talk about 7th grade extra curricular activities and the class in general. We spent a lot of time discussing different girls in the class, and the Hebrew co pretty much dominated the conversation; which was weird, since I didn't really think she had all that great of a grasp of the girls' social scene in the classroom.
We started with C.S.S. and how her attitude was really affecting the class. She has C.K. and E.M.M. under her spell and D.A. and A.S. and a bunch of other girls are subconsciously following along.
We discussed different ways to break up the group and get them to make friends with others in the class.
Then of course, we had to discuss B.B. and what to do with her. Her aunt is coming down to school Monday so that she can sit with us and talk about the best possible thing for B.B. I'm dreading it a little. How are you supposed to tell someone you don't want their niece/daughter in your classroom anymore?
We talked about R.A. and N.N.'s social problems, and I was so relieved to hear the principal say that R.A. is annoying. If I'd have said something like that in my old school, the principal would've said it was all my fault, and that I was not tolerant enough.
The Hebrew co seemed to think that all was ok with S.G. and her status in the class. Funny thing was that later, when my co spoke to S.G. later, S.G. told her that she didn't think anyone in the class liked her. She said that she felt no one was nice to her anymore. I wonder how she could say that when the Hebrew co insisted that she was sooo happy.
I wonder what else the girls are lying to us about? According to the Hebco (I like that new word) the class is wonderful and great.
Well my co and I had gone in planning to work as a team to make sure the girls don't get to have a grade Shabbos. We pushed and pushed for a melave malka instead; and in the beginning the principals agreed with us. Problem was; this Hebco had them eating out of her hand, kiss up that she is, and by the end of the meeting, they were all pushing for a Shabbos. My co and I wasted an afternoon there.
We already both said that we wouldn't be there if the 7th grade had a Shabbos, but I also hate to think that by doing that we are basically giving the 7th grade over to the Hebco and letting her do what she wants with them. I'm not comfortable just yet to wash my hands of the 7th grade just because Hebco is hard to deal with.
I need to discuss this with my co a little more.
Anyway, while we were at the meeting, the 8th grade managed to shatter the window in their classroom; which I think is quite funny and cool, but don't tell them I said so, because I yelled at them for it.
I had to rush through history to cover the material on tomorrow's test, and I went through recess to finish it all.
It was fine because my co walked in late, so they had their recess. They also had more than enough recess while I was at the meeting. Any class that has to break a window out of boredom, definitely has had too much recess.
Seventh grade was fun today. I don't even know why.
In history I got really into it, and was joking around with them a lot about the topics we were covering.
I then closed the door and told them a huge secret of mine- how much I hate grammar. I told them that the grammar we would learn would only be fun, and that as soon as it wasn't fun anymore we would stop.
They seemed to be ok with the idea, and were very good about starting to learn sentence structure.
At the end of the day I gave out their project marks and they all seemed to be fine with their marks.
I saw some girls comparing marks, and I wasn't so thrilled, but what I did like was that not a single girl came over to me to contest her mark.
To quote Phoebie from the Magic School Bus Series, "This would never happen in my old school!"

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Free Day For Me

I discovered how to get rid of my English Fridays; at least in the 8th grade. I had my sister come in this week and take over the period to do yearbook.
It was so much fun. I sat at my desk doing other work and my sister ran the class. They need a lot of time and have a ton of work to do, so I'll probably have to bring my sister in to take over more of my classes. Yay!
I went to school dressed in a long slinky skirt and my senior sweater and no one said a word! (Besides mu husband, of course.) The kids didn't look twice and the teachers just laughed. This school is so great.
The seventh grade outdid themselves on their projects.
I was right in my other post about M.B. having done all the work. She presented her group's project while everyone else pantimimed behind her. I must find a way to give her a good mark for this project even though her group is so failing.
The New England colonies group was adorable. S.E. and D.A. both dressed up as Indians, while the rest of the group dressed up as colonists and they all read a part of their sumary out loud. Their 3D model was very impressive also.
The last group was a flop. R.A. didn't come to school and N.N. was quick to tell me that it was because she hated the group. I honestly thought R.A. would be more mature about these things. A.S., who had had a problem with the group to begin with, really pulled herslef together and did very nicely. The group did not dress up like the other two did, and they literally read straight from their summaries which, by the way, I had to rewrite for them, because the principal refused to copy it in N.N.'s terrible handwriting. I had to spend the entire morning rewriting it.
After the groups, we all discussed them as a class, and I told them that I was very impressed with them. They were thrilled.
Now I just have to sit down and mark them...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chinglish, Yinglish, and Engrew

Before I start with today, I have to write about how funny C.F.C. was yesterday.
I had been telling the class a story about myself when I was in high school and I mentioned my maiden name sometime in the middle of it.
C.F.C. piped up, all confused, and said, “One second…this story is about you or Miss ________? (My sister)”
I told her that that was my maiden name.
She lit up and asked me if I was related to their yearbook teacher.
The class was laughing at this point because they had all figured it out a long time ago.
“C.F.C.” I said, laughing, “Miss _______ is my sister.”
She nearly fell off her chair. “But you talk soooooo much more than she does!!”
I had to plotz.
“On second thought, you’re both sooooooooo skinny, so I guess it does make sense.”
I plotzed again.
Anyways, that was yesterday.
Today, the 8th grade got to watch a video because it was Rochel Imainu’s yahrtzeit. (My anniversary.) It was the biggest waste of a lunchtime I had ever sat through.
Once I started class, history was a ton of fun. I had made them all go home and find out who Colin Powell was because this class had never heard of him before. So we started the class talking about him.
Then we went on to discuss all the pointless wars the Americans and the Indians had. The girls wanted to know why the Indians weren’t as successful as the blacks in getting their way, so I taught them about how the Indians gave up their culture as soon as they saw they were getting killed for it.
I turned it into a nice hashkafa lesson on how special the Jews are because we never gave up our mesorah even though our people were killed for it many times. I told them that is the only reason we are still around today; because we have a mesorah we believe in. Lehavdil, the Blacks believed in freedom, and freedom in its own way, is a type of mesorah too. But when the Indians were prepared to give up their culture so quickly, what would guarantee for them to live on as strong as they once were?
The girls really appreciated the lesson, and I am patting myself on the back for getting myself so put together today. J
We spent the rest of the day on current events, but the lesson was funnier in 7th, so I’ll tell you about theirs.
In 7th grade, I had to give them a speech about being prepared for class before I could start anything, because I walked in 5 minutes late, and they were dancing to music with the desks all pushed to the side of the classroom.
After that was settled, I taught them about Chinglish in current events. Basically, we shared a bunch of funny stories of when people tried to literally translate different languages to English.
For example, to say “be seated” in Yiddish, you would say “zetz dich.” But the literal translation of “be seated” is “ver tzezetzed”, which would mean, “Go bang your head.”
The girls had a grand time.
They began getting off topic and discussing different languages and alphabets, and so I showed them the Russian alphabet on the board and then showed them how to spell their names in Russian.
I think I just became their hero.
Speaking about heroes, T.B.N. had asked me to go out during the video to the bathroom. I let her go, but it was taking forever and other girls were waiting for her to come back so that they could have a turn.
I walked out to the office to get a drink and bumped into the 7th grade Hebrew teacher and T.B.N. having a DMC (deep meaningful conversation) in the hallway.
I told T.B.N that she belonged in class, and sharply told her that other girls were waiting and that she was showing me that she was irresponsible with the time I gave her outside of class.
The other teacher said, “Oh I had no idea you were in the middle of class!”
No Duh.
She gave T.B.N. a huge hug and tried to make me look like the mean witch, but I don’t care.
If T.B.N. thinks her last year’s teacher is a hero; let her.
I still have about 8 months to figure out how to get my way….and I think I’m doing a good job so far.

700 Visitors Since May 2

I'm so excited! People actually read this thing!
I have to run out to school now, but I will post later...or at least try to...
Thanks to all for pushing my count up!