Thursday, December 28, 2006

Amazing What a Letter Can Do

My friend the girls had been davening for sent them a letter.
I used it to bribe them into being good today.
The 8th grade were total angels as they continued with their biographies and they behaved all through maps.
The seventh grade was a slightly different story.
F.E. came over to me recess time to tell me that she didn't do her homework again last night.
I don't get what goes through the minds of these kids.
I was so pissed, I just told her that I was not going to talk to her about this, and I went right back into the office.
The child still called me out another time to ask me what she should do.
I looked at her and told her it was quite the opposite as I was at a loss with what to do with her. She got the message and left me alone.
I was so overwhelmed with this. I know I should speak to the principal, but I'm not sure if involving her is the right thing for me to do.
I feel like going to her will show her I can't handle the class, or that it's disloyal to my students to run to her when I have a problem.
I walked into the class, still at a loss for what to teach.
I was planning on doing literature groups, but after that run in with F.E. I had no koach for it.
I spoke to the class right in the beginning.
I told them I was not mad at them, but that I was at a loss for what to do, and that something had to be done, but I didn't know what.
I told them that until I could figure it out, I'd stop doing literature, but that I wanted all their homework on my desk from now on.
All literature assignments, whether the groups met that day or not, were to be handed in.
The girls groaned, but didn't complain. I think they all understood me.
Then I asked for the journals of 4 girls, and out of all of them, only N.N. had hers in school. The rest of the class by the way, had forgotten to do the assignments for the last two weeks.
I played it cool and said that for next Thursday they had to be all up to date, but I think this warrants a visit to the principal, as much as I don't want one.
After that was all sorted out, I read the girls a sample of what a photo essay should be like. They were laughing at the scene I read of my cousin and I getting sick on a roller coaster.
Half of them decided to change around what they had already written so that it could be as funny as mine.
After they had all done their beginnings, we worked on the "during" part of the essay.
They worked like dolls because they knew I had my friend's letter waiting for them.
Sure enough, as soon as they got their work all done, I read them the letter.
They were thrilled, and they had a load of questions LOL.
They were perfect till the end of the day.
I should have my friend write every day!
Anyway, I'm so glad the weekend is here. I so need this break.
Sorry my writing is kinda stinky today. I'm way too tired and cranky to make much sense.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Questions and Attitudes

C.F.C. started off my day today by coming to tell me that she couldn't hand in her yearbook writing on time because she was very stressed and had a lot of things to do.
I was so annoyed with her for even coming over.
I had given the class 6 weeks to do this writing in, and I had cancelled 6 weeks of journal entries so that they'd have time for it. If she came over to me to tell me that she wasn't going to get it done, that was total chutzpa on her part. I told her it was inexcusable, and that at most I could give her another 2 days.
I walked into 8th grade and started teaching history. We managed to get an aim done, but I'm not handling class these days. The girls are chatty and talkative and I don't have the strength to keep them quiet long enough for me to get a word in.
They don't mean to misbehave, but I can't take it.
I taught today about muckrakers and progressives, and I got the aim done, but I bored myself to tears doing it.
I planned on doing maps with them after that, but since Gerald Ford died today, the principal asked me to teach them a little about him, so I did.
The girls were taking out their siddurim to daven, when T.G. and B.G. piped up and asked me how a friend of mine was doing. They had been saying tehillim for her for the past week, and they were curious to know how she was.
They bombed me with a load of questions, and I only managed to get them to shut up and daven after they had wasted half their recess.
7th grade was even worse when it came to questions.
But I'm not up to that yet.
First I walked into a class where 4 girls were out for Shabbaton. I was so mad. Hebco made it seem to them that it was ok to miss my class to finish stuff for the Shabbaton. I was steaming when the girls sent a message to me that they needed to be out for another 10 minutes.
I thought it was so rude to send a message when they should have asked me permission in person.
I sent a message back that they belonged in my class PRONTO.
F.E. and A.S. nonchalantly walked in 5 minutes later. I should've punished them, but I was being nice and let them sit down.
We did some history, and when I tried to review no one knew a thing. I went up and down the rows asking each girl if they had studied.
S.S. told me she didn't' study. I was pissed. Of all the girls, she needs to study the most. I had made it clear to the class the this was the one chapter they HAD to study every night or else they'd fail the test.
I don't even feel that S.S. deserves to take the easy test this time if she isn't even making the effort to keep up.
I took 2 minutes to give it to the class and threaten to quiz them every day of the year if they didn't shape up.
R.A. drove me BATTY today by trying to teach the class. I need to talk to her and put her in her place....maybe one day when I'm not so stressed.
Towards the end of history, my phone began to ring, and looking at the ID, I saw that it was my friend who the girls had been davening for.
They were so upset at me for not picking up because they wanted to ask her how she was feeling. Instead, I picked up her message, and then let the kids listen to it.
That sparked a load of questions about her. They wanted to know everything there was to know. I couldn't answer all their questions, and I tried to get back to history, but they kept begging me to bring her in one day and they told me how much they wanted to meet her.
R.B. and S.E. were sooo into it. It was cute.
After history, I tried to get the girls into their reading groups. I ran into a problem there. 13/16 girls told me they had not done their reading homework.
I was ready to die.
I went and marked down every girl that did not have her sheets.
A.S. tried to tell me that she couldn't do it over Chanukah vacation, and I smiled sweetly and told her that the papers were due the day before their vacation. I then proceeded to mark her down as well.
I was at a loss.
I just stood at the front of the class and spoke. I told them that I just didn't know what to do anymore. Some girls felt really bad. I just kept on talking. I told them how hurt I was that after two weeks they had to complete the papers, none of them thought to have them done.
I asked them why I had to feel that their Shabbaton was more important than derech eretz to their teachers. A.S. and F.E. looked ashamed.
R.A. totally ignored my speech. She had picked up a book and started reading. I put her in her place.
I would very much like to have put them all in their places, but I doubt I did.
After about 5 minutes, I told them to just pack up and then I'd read to them. I should've just given them an assignment, but I was so exhausted and I didn't want them to leave thinking I was irrational and angry. I wanted to show them that while I was upset at them, I was also fair.
I'm going to talk to the principal tomorrow about something I could to to teach this class a lesson. I just didn't want to do it when I was so upset.
As she packed up, C.S.S. spoke loudly to her friends about how unfair I was to blame the class and how she had such good excuses for not doing her work. I must talk to the principal about suspending her.
After class, I asked them questions about their Shabbaton, and they girls were excited that I was taking an interest.
I'm so not interested, but I have to put on a good face. It's unfortunately a part of my job I'm getting good at.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Who ME?

I was called into the principal's office today.
She wanted to know if I was upset about the Shabbaton in the 7th grade, because I seemed to not want to be involved.
I was a little shocked and told her that I had no idea what she was talking about, and that even though I was against the idea of the Shabbaton to begin with, I was not going to let the girls see that.
She asked me why I wasn't getting involved.
I told her that I had a bar mitzvah that Shabbos and couldn't make it and besides, I was never told about the thing.
Hebco had known that she would not get our approval, so she did it without asking or telling me or my co anything.
I had to find out about it all from the girls. It's not a very good feeling.
I told that to the principal.
She told me that she had heard it from Hebco and the secretary in the office that I was deliberately not coming because I was against it.
I told here that I was appalled that that was the impression she had, and I asked if there was anything I could do to fix that.
I can't make it to the Shabbaton, but I would like to try and make it up to the girls. I have to get thinking on that.
In 8th grade I got an entire aim of history done, but not much else, as they wasted so much of my time talking.
I told them that because they wasted time, they'd have to finish writing their summary drafts at home for Thursday. They were upset, but they took it nicely.
I read them a poem I wrote that fit in nicely into what they had just learned in history, and they enjoyed that. As I read, I passed around some pi cures they had begged me to bring in. They were pictures taken during a surgery I went through, and they were excited to look at all the gory details. :)
R.S. told me that C.K. in my class last year had told her ALL about my life story, and I was so chilled about it. I told her that I was glad she found it interesting. She was flattered that I so did not care.
7th grade was hard today as I started teaching about the constitution. It's a complicated chapter and I tried to make it as simple and as uncomplicated as possible.
It took all day, but at the end of it, the girls could not believe how quick it seemed. It felt good to know that the lesson had gone well.
It had gone well for me too because R.A. was absent! LOL
The principal came over to me to tell me how much she loved the holocaust book I had started. I showed her what I done so far, and she was thrilled.
If she's happy, so am I.
I'm just mad at Hebco....I try so hard to do a good job; why is she out to make me and my co look bad?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Back to School

I'm dead tired. Back to school for one afternoon and I need another vacation.
I worked all morning on this holocaust book that I'm putting together for the 8th grade, and I finally finished part one. My aim is to finish part two by the end of this week, and then I hope I'll get the rest done in time.
At school, I started the 8th grade on writing their summaries, and as it always happens during writing, they started talking a little amongst themselves and though they know I don't like it, they keep forgetting, and talk anyway.
I noticed that R.S. was very busy debating with her friends if she should ask me something. I laughed and said out loud that I doubt there was anything she could ask me that would offend me.
I was so wrong.
Not that I was offended, but it was kind of an inappropriate question. She wanted to know when I was due.
I laughed and told them that they would know when it happened and not a moment sooner. I had to stop them after a bit, but I told them that while it wasn't the most appropriate question, I understood them. I explained that I was also a student once who was dying for her teacher to just pop and have it already LOL.
After class R.S. wanted to know if I knew the baby's gender. I told her that even if I knew I wouldn't tell her.
I hope this conversation is finished in this class.
This sort of thing could only happen in this school...
7th grade wasted my entire day just getting started on their photo essays. They write captions and titles and began writing the "before" part of their pictures. Of course, F.E. and S.G. forgot to bring pictures today....Why am I not surprised....Same girls also forgot to sign their tests.
I planned on starting some history today, but they girls were getting dismissed early because they were all carpooling today. There was no bus because of Xmas, so the mothers were coming and that meant less class time for me.
Instead, I allowed them to pack up and as soon as they were done, I read them the read aloud.
C.S.S., C.K., and D.A. are all in one row and becoming way too chummy in my class. I used to like that row, but I think I have to do something about it now.
I can't believe it'll still be a month before mid winter vacation....I need it now!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

We Hit 1,000!!!

Gut Vuch all!
I know some of you are still waiting for my Tuesday's post; last day before vacation. But as I am on vacation now, I'm not blogging.
I checked in here on a whim, and I got to see the site meter at 1,000.
Even my ever sarcastic husband is impressed :).
I'll update more when we're back to school.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Must be the Hormones...

I had a lot of moods over the course of my day. I wish I could blame it all on my hormones, but today it was all the students' fault.
Chanukah vacation is in two days and I planned on doing something special on Tuesday and that would mean that I'd only be teaching today out of the entire week.
Today I planned to start the 8th grade on writing their summaries for their biographies. When I came into class today, I learned that a nice percentage of the girls had not bothered to finish or even begin reading their books.
I was furious.
I was so angry that I went to talk to the principal to ask her how to handle this. She was amazing. She told me to ask them to write an essay describing how they thought it must feel for me as the teacher to walk into a class where no one had prepared.
I liked that idea very much.
I walked into class and had each girl take out a piece of paper and write on it whether she had finished reading her biography and if not, why.
I then let them watch me quietly as I read each one slowly, and looked at each of the girls who had answered "no".
I then gave the girls a speech about how it feels to be on this side of the desk, and how we teachers work hard to come prepared every day, and what it's like to come to class where the students don't care.
I told them that I was at a loss; that I had nothing to teach them today, and what did they suggest I do?
The girls were very embarrassed. At that point I didn't feel they needed to write that essay, so instead, I improvised, and had them do another part of the biography, for which they only had to read the first half of the books. The only girl who hadn't read even half of her book was R.Y. and I sent her to the principal to get another book. It worked out so great, because the principal had wanted to talk to her anyway, and was looking for an opportunity to get her in the office.
The girls did a good job writing today, even T.B.N. did fine on her own (mostly).
The last 20 minutes of the day I did maps with the girls and anyone who volunteered to sing the entire map for me got a raffle ticket for tomorrow's auction.
The girls were all anxious to volunteer, and R.S. was a panic. She kept getting stuck, and so I kept going to someone else and then coming back to her.
At her 5th try, she was still getting stuck on the same state and then I just had to laugh. I started to laugh one of those real hysterical split your sides laughs. The entire class laughed along. R.S. cracks me up.
T.B.N. has to be commended for trying to sing the entire map, and I gave her a ticket for trying.
So there were two of my moods so far.
During recess I had to chill out, as I suspected that the 7th grade hadn't brought in their photos for their picture essays, and I was getting mad again.
N.N. was a total pest; waiting at the door to the office, but not telling anyone who she was waiting for. She just kept watching the teachers schmooz. I was busy talking about the layout of my new master toilet and she was listening interestedly. LOL
As I was going into the 7th grade; she stopped me and told me that she still hadn't taken the history test, so she wanted to take it now. That's what she wasted her entire recess on LOL. What a kid.
S.E. and M.B. came late to my class because they were chosen as the editors for the school paper and they were working on it. I couldn't bear to make them stop working; they seemed so excited LOL.
I walked into 7th grade, and I found that no one had remembered to put index cards on my desk, and hardly anyone had remembered to sign their tests.
I couldn't even get mad. I just told them that I was walking out and giving them 2 minutes to have everything on my desk.
I met the Hebrew principal in the hall during those two minutes and asked her if it was just me, or were all the girls losing it today? She laughed.
In the 7th grade, I checked their tests and then I asked them who had forgotten to bring in their pictures. I told them I had made a bet with myself that at least half the class would forget to bring it in.
I won my bet. I should've gotten mad, but since it was Chanukah, I just laughed at them and did literature groups instead.
I met with the highest group, and let R.A. get on my nerves while S.E. and R.B. kept me entertained. M.B. also joined in. I couldn't do her group because N.N. was out taking her test. I cannot wait to join both groups together for the next book. It'll make life so much easier.
The group ended up discussing the Harry Potter books, and then S.E. asked me if I'd ever read Eragon. I told her no, (though I do own the soundtrack to the movie ;) ) and she went ballistic. She told me I HAD to read it and that she was going to get hold of a copy for me to read over vacation.
She makes me laugh this child.
At the end of the day, as a special treat, I read them my read aloud for 15 minutes instead of the usual 5. They were thrilled.
I came home dead tired. All those moods have a huge effect on me!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Average of My Day

I'm way too sick to type too much today, but I wanted to write that both classes did amazingly well on their tests today.
The 8th graders kept coming over to ask me if the test was hard, and I told them that it was, and then refused to answer anything else, as I was too ill to focus much.
The 8th grade literature test was very hard, and I was sure that they were all going to go home crying today.
I didn't mean to be a hard teacher, but I wanted to challenge them into thinking about what they had learned; I didn't just want them to spit the story back to me.
I gave them quotes from the stories and had them tell me what literary techniques were used.
They did surprisingly well, and I had a couple of hundreds.
M.S. was crying because she couldn't remember how to draw a plot diagram, but she got a 99 anyway. I could've slapped her for having driven me so nuts all day. :)
In 7th grade, I gave what will probably be their hardest test this year. They also did phenonminally well. The class average was a 92.
I spoke to the principal about talking to C.S.S. again, and she gave me the number of her social worker to call. I can only call her after 10, and even though its only 10:30 now, I dont have the energy to call her right now. I will call her Sunday though, or even after Shabbos.
I'm looking forward to getting tomorrow over and done with, and then I'm going to Tylenol PM myself through the weekend. I still haven't found a sub, and I'm just hoping that by the time I wake up on Sunday, it'll all be taken care of.
*Fingers crossed*

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Summarizing My Day

C.F.C. is getting slightly on my nerves lately.
She is always waiting for me when I come into school, and she's always trying to talk to me about something. I think she has a little crush on me LOL.
Today she was upset because she had a fight with D.F. and D.F. gave her back her ad for the yearbook and told her to type it herself.
She didn't know what to do, and came to tell me that she wanted to talk to the principal. I told her that I'd take care of the ad, and that I didn't think the principal could do much for her. She wanted to go anyway, and I didn't stop her.
I walked into class and decided that they were very immature about sitting up front in the room. Every day when I walk in, I have the teacher's desk in the front of the room, and the girls are all pushed back against the back wall.
Today I told all the girls in the back to form another 5th row. Now I have 4 rows of 3 girls and 1 row of 4. I like it this way.
D.S.W. made a scene about moving her desk up to the front, but I know that secretly she wanted it. Her mother had asked me to change her seat to the front by PTA.
Today in class I taught the girls how to summarize by sending R.S., C.F.C., and M.S. out and telling a long detailed story to the class.
Then, D.S.W. retold the story to R.S. who retold it to M.S. who then retold it to C.F.C. who told it to the class.
By the time she was done, the story was unrecognizable.
I told them this was because they had been focusing too much on the small details.
I taught them that summarizing is all about getting the gist of the story.
So then I told them another story, and this time they took notes on the important details. After I was done, they condensed their notes even more, and then they had to read it back to me. They managed to do a good job; most girls got the story down in less than 5 sentences.
In 7th grade, we did a huge review for the test tomorrow, and I kept getting annoyed with N.N. for answering detailed answers when we were trying to have a quick review.
By the time she finished giving me the answers I wanted, I had forgotten the question I had asked. ARGH!
We read the story of the Jewish soldier in Valley Forge, and the kids loved it.
I hope it helps them on their test tomorrow.
After that we did maps, and any girl who volunteered to say the entire map so far to me with all the capitals got a raffle ticket for the Chinese auction they'll be having next Tuesday for Chanukah.
Each teacher is raffling off privileges that the kids are dying to win. I gave some good ones out...I hope I don't regret them.
I promised a +3 on any test, and a lunch period to study with me for a test, and 2 free journal entries, and something else pretty good that I can't remember right now.
The kids are dying to get the lunch period...I hope it doesn't go to N.N. or C.F.C.!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Funny Conversation

Last night I had this conversation with an English guy over some forum. It turned out pretty funny.
For this blog, I'll call him Joe, and myself JAP.

Don’t' worry Joe, I'm all for the queen. My students are going crazy, they're so confused. I'm teaching them the American Revolution now, and they can’t figure out whose side I'm on. The book is American, but I teach pro England. I have a feeling they're all going to fail their tests this week.

JAP- that must be the most boring subject you could possibly teach. When I was in school as soon as the History teacher began talking about any period before the second world war - I fell asleep. What difference will it make to your students life what happened to the British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. And anyway the Brits always lose anyway. That’s happened forever and will keep happening - its not even history its current affairs too. Sorry

JAP I’m sure you make it sound really interesting though, my history teacher was the most boring person you could ever meet. In fact the only thing I remember from a whole year of lessons was once when a spider started crawling up his trousers at the beginning of the lesson. It was fascinating watching the spiders’ progress.

Sadly the spider got so bored it feel asleep too along with the rest of the class.

JOE! U post something about English sports again, and I will delete this thread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My DH is starting to get into sports and I come here for a breather...not to hear about sports in ENGLAND!!! AAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

There is nothing more exciting than English sports. A bunch of overpaid people doing what they’re best at - losing.

You’re right JAP, all sports thread should be deleted and I wont do that again. So sorry.

JAP, you can always counter attack by posting something thrilling like the exact wording of The Treaty of Paris

Joe, don’t make me laugh. It hurts.

Do you mind if I cut and post this onto my school blog? I'm laughing away.

Actually, my students find my classes fascinating....we have no spiders, just mice. I love history and I never teach the boring parts. We watch movies about the wars and read great stories about the time. My tests are fun too.

....We did the battle of Yorktown today (creamed you guys LOL) and to make it interesting, I did the entire thing in my English accent. So history can be interesting....

How about the Declaration of Independence? ....that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable right that among these are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the eradication of sports....

JAP I’m fast asleep...dreaming about my bald fat stupid history teacher

History is not boring!!! its all about stupid people making the same mistakes over and over again and blood and guts 'n wars.

JAP, We actually learned about the Battle of Yorktown when I was in Junior school. I don’t remember anything except that we lost and haven’t won a thing since. The only time the Brits have ever won a war was way back in the 1600s and the only reason why they won that was because they were fighting against themselves.

The truth is it really depends on the teacher. Its irrelevant what subject and what age - if the teacher is good the subject is good. We used to learn political studies in school ( how the government works etc) the teacher was excellent and even though it’s basically a boring subject I still remember the stuff we learnt. My kids too, some have excellent teachers and know their stuff perfectly, but my little girl has such a bad teacher at the moment and comes home everyday in such a bad mood. It’s the teacher that makes the difference not the subject.

LOL I hated all my teachers and I'm out to prove that I can do a better job than any of them

This was the thread last night. I found it funny, thought you might too.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Makes Me Ill

I was sick as a dong today, and seriously considered not coming to school.
Of course I went to school anyway, and barely made it through the day.
The 8th grade took a walk to the library so that they could take out biographies fro their writing project. It took forever, and it was such a pain till all the girls got a book. A lot of the books were inappropriate, and I hope that no one went home with a book that I'll get yelled at for.
When we got back to school, I took full advantage of my recess by eating a complete chocolate bar (not the best idea after being deathly ill the night before,) and by talking to my co about how the shabbaton went.
A 6th grade kid who is a sister of a friend of mine, brought me a gift, and it was so cute, that I was smiling when I walked into 7th grade.
I think this day will go down in history because this was the first time I haven't been preceded into class by a bunch of 7th grade kids screaming "she's coming!"
We started off well enough, and I foolishly thought we'd get to do something more than history today, but due to C.S.S.'s constant disruptions and S.E.'s questions, and D.A.'s and C.K.'s shenanigans, I didn't manage to do more than half an aim. Oh well.
After school I had a nice long talk with my co.
My 6 week sub cancelled on me, so all the teachers are desperately looking fro someone to t
ask me over. No one wants Hebco to be my sub.
My co was furious because the 7th grade shabbaton was broken out and Hebco didn't bother to tell us about it at all.
She went and lied to the 7th grade and told them that the 8th grade was not supposed to have a shabbaton and that they took their idea for a theme from the 7th grade.
We are so upset. If anything, the 7th grade was the one who was not supposed to have the shabbaton, and the 8th graders worked nice and hard on their theme.
This teacher makes me ill.
Talking about ill, I gotta go take care of myself.
Post more tomorrow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Erev Shabbaton

The 8th grade was crazy today.
They had taken their class and committee pictures during lunch, and when I came into class to grab my books, they begged me not to learn today. I told them to keep dreaming and to clean up the pigsty in the classroom before I walked in.
The room was in total chaos, with their luggage for Shabbos was on one side of the room, their posters on another, and their garbage everywhere in between.
I walked in a few minutes later, and it was still a huge mess. I told them off and gave them two more minutes to clean up. In the meantime, I went to the office to finish my chocolate bar. :)
In class, it took us the entire period to learn a 15 minute lesson in history. I was quite annoyed, but at least I got the chapter done, and next week I just won't do history for a few days while we focus on other things.
I can't believe this, but I offered to do that crazy biography project that I did with my last year's class with the 8th grade. The principal loved the idea, and it'll keep me going for at least 6 weeks.
I'm even taking the girls to the library Monday to choose books.
T.B.N. keeps getting on my nerves lately with all the stupid questions she asks in class. So does T.G. because she's always disrupting.
I have to have a schmooz with both of them.
During recess, I had to print out some sort of mythbuster for B.G. who really believed all those stupid things she got through email were true. I checked out a couple of those stories and proved to her that all those emails were just there to drive her nuts.
Talking about B.G., she and some of the girls had been telling me earlier that they loved the outfit I was wearing. They said I looked so cute and that they loved the way I dressed. I am more than flattered.
If they think I dress well now, wait till they see my wardrobe once I'm skinny again...Only a few more weeks!
Talking about that, my sub just cancelled. I think I'm in trouble. The day is getting closer, and I need to find a sub...else, I'll have to let Hebco take over my class....:(
Because I'm not going along for their Shabbaton, (blame the DH for that one) I felt guilty, so I offered to make some food and nosh.
They put me in charge of cooking their eggs. I had to make 3 dozen eggs last night. I felt like I was cooking for a yeshiva. I have never had to handle so many eggs! (I won't begin to tell you how many ended up splattered all over my kitchen!)
I also made 4 recipes of peanut chews last night. My husband was not allowed to have any because it was his fault we were not going to the Shabbaton. He's never gonna forgive me.
7th grade today was a little out of control.
I had to yell at S.G. (and I felt so bad that I spoke to her after class to make sure she was fine) and C.S.S. totally went past her two warnings for today.
It took us all day to finish the aim I wanted to, but now that means I have only one more aim until their test on Thursday. I feel better about that; I'll catch up on the reading groups next week.
Speaking of reading groups, my two top ones are pretty much done their books. I had to speak with the principal about getting them new novels, and she was so impressed at how fast I was moving.
My DH, ever the optimist, told me that my girls were probably failing because I was going too quick. I opened my records and showed him their averages. I think even he was impressed!
At the end of the day I taught the girls how to make paper airplanes. For some weird reason it had come up yesterday in class, and D.A. begged me to teach them to make them. I told them I'd do it if we got everything done today. I kept my word!
I made my DH drive me to my parent's office before so that we could pick up their 15 passenger van that the 8th grade wanted to use to get to their Shabbaton. What I don't do for my kids...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

900 Visitors!!!

The title says it all!

Retainers and Recommendations

Eighth grade today drove me nuts about their pictures. They are taking their group photos Thursday but they have to wait for their individual photos because the photographer doing the group photos does not give a proof package of pictures for the graduation photos.
The girls asked me theses questions already, but they ask them again every day when I come into class. It's so annoying.
I finally blew up today at T.B.N. when she asked me some dumb question. I looked at her and said pretty harshly, "Did I just say that I cannot answer any questions on this topic? Should I interpret your question as chutzpah or just plain stupidity?"
I felt bad, but I was really annoyed. I promised the class that I wasn't hiding anything from them and that as soon as I had answers I would give it to them.
R.S. asked me why I was lisping a little and I blushed and said that I was wearing a retainer. That got the girls talking about braces and reatiners.
After a while they begged me to take mine out and show it to them. It was kind of gross and unprofessional, but I did anyway. I'm the biggest baby to ever teach!
We didn't do history today, just spent a lot of time on literature. We began discussing the Open Window by Saki, and we got into a big discussion about what was creepy in the story and in life in general. The girls got really into it and it was kind of funny hearing what creeped them out.
Then we discussed a nervous character in the story names Mr. Nuttel. We talked about how that was a play on words, and then we went through some names and how it turned out funny that certain people were what their names were.
I gave them my maiden name which in translation meant something like "to talk." They laughed at that because I do talk a lot. Then we spoke about short people who are named Klein and other things like that.
We also discussed people who give waaaay too much info right away. Like the people who feel the need to talk about their ingrown toenails on the first night of camp. The girls got real busy with this one!
Then we spoke about a character who seemed to have lost her mind after the trauma of losing her husband. We spoke about the different ways people's minds reacted to stress. That was a nice discussion too.
You can imagine that we didn't get much done.
During recess my co, the principal, C.S.S., and I met.
We had to talk to C.S.S. about her behavior and what to do about it.
C.S.S. was cooperative and spoke to us and admitted to us what she knew she was doing wrong, and then we told her some more things we noticed in class.
She spoke to us about some girls who didn't like her and I was amazed at how nicely the principal dealt with her. This principal must have nerves of steel. She looked like she really cared about the kid, and C.S.S. felt it too because she spoke to her and seemed to be responsive to what we were saying.
We devised a system where she would get two warnings before getting a consequence. I asked her to come up with a consequence we could give her when she misbehaved, and we still have to finish that up. Right now I think we left off in a good place, because she was well behaved in my class.
During one part of the day the class got a little rowdy, and I had to shush them. R.A. shushed right with me and kept going for long after I stopped.
I glared at her and said coldly, "R.A., I am more than capable of shushing the class myself. When I need your help I will ask for it." I am ready to slap the kid sometimes.
I started making the girls memorize the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, and while they were a little scared off at first, I think they're getting more into it now. It might just end up being fun. :)
I split them into reading groups after all that, and worked with the two highest groups to finish up where we left off last time.
I almost have to begin looking for a new novel for them. They're moving quickly!
The other groups are a little slower, but I'll try and meet with them tomorrow. I hope I can fit that in with all the history I want to finish.
S.N.K. began participating more today, I think her father must've come down on her to raise her hand so that I would give her better marks. Arggghhhh.
These parents are such idiots. I had nothing against their daughter until I met them. Now, every time I look at her, the image of her mother yelling at me comes to mind. They totally ruined her chances in my class....
I came home today and had to deal with a phone call from D.F.'s mother. She was hysterical about the way she was treated at some of the high school interviews she had been to with her daughter.
Her daughter has mild focus issues that come through in her reading and writing. I had been warned of this at the beginning of the year, but to tell the truth, I never would have known anything was wrong with her had I not been told.
D.F. participates well in class and has a great attitude about everything. I offered her oral testing, but she insisted on getting a lower mark and doing her own reading rather than having someone help her and get a higher mark.
I am more than impressed with the kid, and I was shocked to hear that high schools (my alma mater included!) didn't want to take her because of her disability...which is barely even an issue!!
The mother begged me to write a letter of recommendation for her daughter, describing how motivated she was and what an asset to the class I found her to be.
I gladly obliged, as I feel for this girl and see no reason any school should reject her.
Now I just have to sit down and write this....

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Little Discouraged

As soon as I finished blogging last night, I got a phone call from S.N.K.'s mother.
I had been expecting them to call, but I was quite shocked that I got a call so soon after the PTA.
Mrs. K. began attacking me about her daughter's C in literature. I insisted that the mark was what her daughter earned. I even opened up my roll book to compare her marks to the class' and I informed her that her daughter had gotten the lowest score in the class on out literature quizzes.
The mother had the nerve to ask me why it wasn't raised. I told her honestly that had her daughter participated more in class she would have gotten a better mark, but because I never heard anything from her, I had to settle for the mark I had in my roll book.
She insisted I change the mark, as she was afraid of her daughter not getting accepted into high school.
I told her that we don't change our marks for that, and that if her daughter was really concerned about high school, she should begin showing more responsibility in class.
She had S.N.K. standing behind her the entire time listening to the conversation, and S.N.K. kept insisting that she didn't even remember taking literature quizzes.
I felt it was unfair to put me on the spot in front of a student, but the mother didn't seem to care. I opened my blog, and told her the exact date of the quiz. S.N.K. had nothing more to say.
I told the mother that I would talk to the principal to see what I could do about the mark, and the mother told me that the principal did not like her and that she would not be accommodating. I can totally understand why the principal would not like her!
Then the father came onto the phone to ask me what exercises his daughter should be doing to prepare for the entrance exams next year for high school.
If I wasn't so pissed, I would've laughed. I told him that he had nothing to worry about as the tests were way too easy to think about.
He insisted though, and I told him that I was planning to prepare the class anyway on how to sit through and interview etc.
He sounded relieved.
Today I met with the principal to talk about S.N.K.'s parents, and she told me not to worry, as these parents had been urged to go and to send their daughter to therapy for years, but hadn't listened. She said that Mr. K. was coming down to school to talk to her about the exercises he wanted his daughter to do for high school.
I laughed and told her what he had been telling me the night before and she said, "Oh! I was wondering what he meant!" She was just as confused by them as I was.
I spoke to her about R.A.'s mother and about T.B.N.'s mother and about 7th grade in general. She sighed and told me that all the mothers I'd had a problem with were the ones who were told to go to therapy years ago but never did. She reassured me that this was in no way my fault, and that the mothers and some of the daughters in the class were really kind of strange.
She told me not to change S.N.K.'s mark and that she'd discuss it with her father when he came. It's such a relief to work in a school where the principal takes your side!
In class today we pretty much just did regular history and some geography, and then I went to 7th grade where we got busy.
I came in late because the principal wanted to talk with me about the next writing assignment for seventh grade, but as soon as I came in, I started the girls off rewriting their persuasive essays.
I gave them about half an hour to do it in, and I was so upset when certain girls kept raising their hands to tell me they had nothing to write. I mean, I gave them two weeks already to finish their drafts...what were they thinking?
After that, I began some history, and that went really well. I hope to be finished this chapter before Chanukah, that way we can focus on more interesting things then. I also have this great story about George Washington and a Jewish soldier in his army, and I want to get to read that with them next week too.
As soon as I got home I began marking the essays they had handed in. If possible, they were worse than the ones they had handed in before.
I did not curve their marks this time, and I gave them all what they deserved. I'm kind of discouraged, but I know that it's not about me. I know that it has to do with the element of the class, not with how I taught it. The smarter girls did well, but the slower ones did the same or worse.
I'm almost embarrassed to show them to the principal. I hope she doesn't blame it all on me!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I Talk Too Much (part two)

Many eighth grade mothers didn’t come today, and more of them were in a rush because the B.Y.A. high school interview was today, and they all had to be there.
C.F.C.’s mother was very nice, and we spoke about how C.F.C. was trying hard to do well. I asked her about her bin sick the last two times we had tests, and she swore up and down that it wasn’t because of the tests. She was happy that I had made her take her last test at home, and that I wasn’t letting her get away with not taking the test because she was sick. It was nice talking to her; I can definitely see where C.F.C. gets her good nature.
D.F.’s mother was very cute and sweet, and we talked about hoe hard D.F. works and how independent she was even with her reading disability. Her mother seemed very hurt that her daughter was always categorized now, trying to get into high school, but I told her not to worry, because her daughter was so amazing, she would leave a great impression on anyone she met.
T.G.’s father was so interesting. He was wearing a light blue sweater and blue jeans and work boots. I asked him how to talk to T.G. about her calling out all the time. He told me she’d be responsive to a private chat; as she loved attention. …I sort of knew that already! I made sure to tell him to send her to a school with a great extra curricular program. She needs it!
B.G.’s mother didn’t come, but I think that was because of her interview in BYA.
B.K.’s mother was a little caught off guard by the way all the teachers kept telling her how her daughter kept calling out and teaching the class for us. She promised to speak to her about it.
I knew R.L.’s mother wouldn’t be at PTA because she had written me this loooong letter explaining about the BYA interview. I must write her a letter about how well she’s doing in class, because I know that her mother would really appreciate it.
T.B.N.’s parents attacked me as they came in. They wanted to understand why I wasn’t trying harder to help their daughter and they wanted to me to explain every single mark on the report card. I told them clearly that I was trying my hardest with their daughter, and that any advice they could give me to help her out more would be appreciated. They told me that they had no advice and that they were at a loss too. So I asked them if they were at a loss, what did they expect me to do?
C.S.P. must’ve had an interview today to, as her mother didn’t show up either. Maybe I’ll just call her mother to tell her how well she’s doing.
There was no mistaking R.S.’s mother. She looked just like her. She was so sweet and our conversation was pretty much all nachas. I told her that R.S. was always ready to make the class laugh, and that it was so much fun teaching her.
I very much wanted to meet M.S.’s mother because M.S. is such a bright and mature girl that I just had to see who her mother was. She didn’t come today though, and I’m adding it to the list of BYA interviews.
The other M.S.’s mother did come, and despite the rough time I had talking to her in the beginning of the year; she was very sweet today. She said that her daughter loved my class, and that she looked forward to every time we spoke about something chassidish. She was happy to hear that her daughter was participating more and doing better in class. Truthfully, I’m happy for her too!
I felt awkward with T.T.’s mother as there were only good things to say about her, so I felt like I was repeating myself over and over and over again. She didn’t seem to mind, and walked out happy.
D.S.W.’s mother was the first one I met all day, and it was all pretty much nachas. She did tell me though that her daughter didn’t like the back seat, and asked if I could change it. I said that I would definitely look into it.
R.Y’s mother didn’t come, and she’s one I really wanted to meet. Oh well.
D.Z.’s mother was another nachas visit, and again, it was awkward. Also, by that time, it was an hour after PTA was officially over, and I was drained. All I wanted to do was get out of there.
S.Z.’s mother didn’t show either, and I’m hoping that for all those moms who didn’t show, BYA will have a bunch of new students next year! J
I came home from school at about 1:30, and I started blogging this almost right away. It’s about a quarter to 6 now, and I still have a load of work to do for tomorrow; and I also have all those Letters to Self I have to begin marking….I’m set for the night!
By the way, I would never suggest going to PTA. Its all a bunch of made up stuff the teachers say on the spot to please the parents... :)

I Talk Too Much (part one)

Today was P.T.A.
The parents waited until 1pm to get into me. I was the last teacher to get out of the place. Boy, am I zonked!
So anyway, it was so revealing to meet the parents. I think I learned a lot about the girls based on what I saw today.
R.A.'s mother was a copy of R.A. herself. She was all defensive about R.A.'s attitude in class, and told me over and over that she liked that R.A. was so advanced. She didn't seem to care that it was affecting the kid socially; she kept saying that it wasn't her fault the class was so immature. I told her that I wanted to talk to her daughter anyway, about how she had to learn to keep her mouth shut sometimes. She didn't seem to think it was necessary and got all defensive about R.A. I told her it was ok to get defensive; that was her job. I see though where R.A. gets all her weirdness from...
D.A.'s mother and father were one of the last ones I saw today. They were soo cute! Her father kept offering to get me a drink, because he felt bad that I was sitting and talking for so long. LOL I can see where D.A. gets all her spunkiness from. They were a little concerned over the B+ that she had gotten in writing, but I explained to them that that was the mark she had gotten on her essay. Her father laughed and said, "Oh! Well we never saw that essay, and our daughter didn't seem to know where that mark was coming from...!" What a stinker that kid is!
H.B.'s mother is a redhead!!! I was so surprised because H.B, is so S'fardi looking! Her mother was so cute and sweet and it was fun talking to her. I told her how great H.B. was, and what a good heart she had. I said that I couldn't wait to meet Mrs. B. because I had to see who this kid's mother was. She was so excited!
M.B.'s mother was cute too. She was just worried about the element of the girls in the class and how her daughter had a hard time fitting in. I told her that her daughter was extremely talented and that I could never have imagined that she was the youngest in the class. She was a bit worried about the low ,ark she had gotten on geography, and hoped it would not affect her chances of getting into high school. I assured her that it was not a big deal.
E.M.B.'s mother didn't show up, and that was disappointing because I had what to tell her.
R.B's mother was just adorable! She was concerned about the girls in the class because R.B. wasn't finding anyone to "click" with in this crazy mix of kids. She said that R.B. looked forward to my classes every day because I was sooo normal. I had to laugh. I told her that I felt bad because I had to put a sub in the class soon, and I didn't know how she was going to manage. I joked that I was even thinking of not taking a full six weeks off, but rather being out just three or four weeks instead. She was livid. "Don't you dare take off any less than the full six weeks you're allotted! And get good rest and good gear, otherwise you'll just crash and have to be out again!" This mother was just too cute for me.
Both of F.E.’s parents came to meet me, and they seemed to be very surprised at all the nice things I had to say about her. I told them that I wanted her to participate more, but that she was doing very well anyway.
I was a little disappointed that S.E.’s mother didn’t come. I was so looking forward to meeting the mother of that kid!
S.G.’s mother was so special. She didn’t cover her hair, but knowing she was a ba’alas teshuva, I wasn’t shocked. I spoke to her about how well S.G. was doing, and how much I liked her and admired her. Mrs. G. began to cry, and get all emotional. She explained that she was a single mom, and hearing this meant so much to her. We agreed that I would send home my notes with her so that her mother could study with her better. I was more than impressed with this mother. I told her that I knew she had to be a special lady, because she was raising a very special daughter. That set her crying again…
Both S.N.K.’s father and mother came to PTA. Her father seemed more into the situation, as he tool notes while the mother rushed him to get out of there because there were others waiting to come in. He kept trying to ask me a million things, but I gave him my number and told him to call with any questions. I’m more than sure I’ll be getting a call one of these days…
C.K.’s mother was a little interesting. She wore a snood to the PTA, and I heard from the principal that she wasn’t always so involved in her daughter’s life. I could see that, but she did seem concerned about the friendship she had with C.S.S. I made sure to tell her that her daughter did very well when she was not together with C.S.S. and I hope that’ll help with the cooling off of this friendship. We have got to break up this C.S.S. power circle.
E.L.’s mother was so sweet, and all she kept telling me was how much E.L. loved my classes. She spoke to me about R.A. and how she was annoying E.L. I told her that I would try and do something about it, but as you read, my talk with R.A.s mother didn’t go too well. I told her that she had a lot to be proud of, as E.L. was a really fine girl, and I could tell she was pleased.
N.N.’s father was the last parent I met today, and he didn’t seem to be too concerned about her lack of friends in the class. I didn’t feel like pushing it today, but I told him that she was a unique individual who was doing very well academically.
A.S.’s mother didn’t show up, and that’s ok, she’s a good kid. I’ll probably call her anyway sometime this week for a nachas call.
I was chocked at how sick C.S.S.’s father looked. I knew he was on dialysis, but it was still a shock to see him in person. We spoke about her attitude for a while, and then her father totally threw me by asking if we had ever considered suspending his daughter to teach her a lesson. I was honest with him, and told him that it was a consideration, but that I wanted to talk to her and warn her first. He seemed ok with that, but was pretty much begging me to suspend her.
S.S.’s mother was very nice, and pretty much we discussed her schoolwork, and how I could help her more.
That was the seventh grade mothers, now for the eighth grade…

Friday, December 01, 2006

End of Another Week

Yearbook was a lot of fun today. My sister always gets nervous before going, but it always turns out fine.
I ran around all mornign making copies and helping out while my sister told them all what to do and answered a million questions.
I had brought in my laptop and so had my sister, so the girls began typing and doing things on it.
After they were all done, they asked to see somepof our pictures, and they laughed to see pictures of us doing normal stuff, like normal people, not teachers. :)
They were obsessed with pictures of my husband in his streimel, and of me and my sister at my wedding. This class is funny.
In the seventh grade, we did maps for a long time, and it was nice to see how much they all enjoyed it. S.E. almost jumped out of her chair when I said "take out your maps."
We sang the song a zillion times, and I really must finish this up soon and move on to another map.
After all that, I met with the 3rd and 4th reading groups. C.S.S. had to go out with her speech therapist and S.S. was absent. I was slightly annoyed as these were the girls who needed to be there the most. I know I'll have to reateach everything to them.
I read the read aloud to the girls for the last ten minutes of the day, and then I let them all pack up.
I asked M.B. to deliver a package for me to the people she was staying by for Shabbos, and she felt like a million bucks.
I then had to rush home to prepare for my own Shabbos!