Thursday, September 30, 2010

Following Up...

This is a spin off of my rant from Tuesday... read on if you dare (this is not directed at YOU particularly).

So maybe you're thinking to yourself, "Well, I wish my mom/dad HAD stood up for me more," and that's how you justify your crazy-parent behavior.  Let's go with that- do you really wish that your mom or dad had run into the school every time you got a bad grade?  Really?  What about if you got a bad grade because you didn't study?  Do you wish your mom had taken a flying leap across that great big teacher desk to DEMAND that your grade be higher, just because she knew you were smarter than that?  How is that okay?

Here's another secret- I teach A LOT of smart kids.  These are kids who demonstrate their abilities on a daily basis, both in and out of the classroom.  They work hard, they study, they do their homework without whining.  I also teach smart kids who do the complete opposite... because their parents enable this lazy and entitled behavior.  I can honestly admit that I never would have done any work if I had known that my mom or dad would've been at the school fussing at some poor teacher for every bad grade I made, just because they knew I was 'better than that.'  Well, if I'm better than that (or your kid is better than that), show it.  Do your work.  Hold them accountable.  If they get a bad grade, it's not because the teacher made that happen.  It's because your kid did.

I just gave a test and took up journals this week.  A whole bunch of the kids got 105's (I gave an extra credit question) on their tests and 16+/20 on their journals.  But I will tell you again- those kids who didn't do well, it makes me as upset as you.  I question if I taught the lessons effectively (which clearly I did if the majority of the kids did well).  But the truth is, I'm afraid of that first parent email demanding to know why their kid didn't do well.  Because it will happen.  And it shouldn't.

Ask your kid first.  If they say anything other than "I didn't study" or "I just didn't do my work", they're probably lying.  Sorry.  It's true.

(Kelli steps down off her soap box)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear Parents-

Dear Parent of a school-aged child-

As a teacher I have to tell you something that you may or may not choose to believe.  I'm going to tell you anyway.  Read carefully:  I AM NOT OUT TO GET YOUR CHILD.  I do not wake up in the morning and randomly select a student to torture for the day or week.  Or month.  Or year.  I give homework because I think it's important to the learning process in my classroom, not just for funsies.  I give grades based on the effort and work that your child put into the assignment.  I DO NOT lie about what I've done or why I've done it.  It's not just your child who has to do the work.  I do not give some students help and not others.  I DO make students think for themselves at times, which is considerably more challenging for them than if I tell them the answer or do the work for them, but it is not discriminating against said child.  It is called learning.

When we, the people who are now the parents (or at least the age of parents) were in school, we did not get 100 chances to turn in something late.  If I didn't do the work, I suffered the consequences, both at school and at home.  I imagine you did, too.  My mommy didn't run to school every time I got a bad grade to argue about why I shouldn't have that bad grade even though I didn't study/turn in the assignment/turned it in two weeks late.  My mom grounded me and told me that if I didn't get myself on track, life would only get worse.  In fact, in all of my middle and high school career, I can only remember twice when my mom said something to a teacher.  Once was when I almost died in PE (nope, not being dramatic) and once was when the science teacher made me cry.  Of course, after my mom talked to the science teacher, he just made fun of me more and I didn't tattle again.  But that was it.  She never stepped in because I made a lower grade on some inferior work, because obviously I was a genius and the teacher hated me (that science teacher did).  She let me know that if I wasn't doing my best, I would pay for it.  So I did my best.

All I'm saying is- your child probably isn't a genius.  He or she is going to get a bad grade, or isn't going to turn in homework, or might actually be a total slacker.  And, as a teacher, I have to ask- believe me first.  I want your child to learn.  I want them to succeed as much as you do.  I'm just as disappointed when I have to give a "0" or fail them on some test or assignment that I reminded them a zillion times to do.

Mostly though, I hate to give the bad grade because I know you're going to yell at me.

Almost Every Teacher

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh well...

I had something brilliant to tell you, but I forgot what it was.  And it was good.  Maybe you could just imagine that I wrote something fantastic, instead of this meaningless dribble, and comment on that.  That'd be fun.  What do you think I was going to write about today?

I will share with you my shock and amazement at this wee little fact: I can NOT get four kids interested in doing an after-school play.  Nope, not even four.  Last year, I did "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."  There were about 30 kids who showed up to the auditions.  By the time the performance rolled around, I think I still had ten.  This was after a staged mutiny, crying, eloquently worded letters and lots and lots of threats by me and the children.  It turned out to be a good show.  But a bit ambitious thought I, looking back.  So I decided to go with a smaller, less musical show, that only required the dedication of four individuals.  I held auditions last year.  Three kids came.  I tried again this year.  Five kids came.  I cast them all.  Two dropped out after the read-thru.  Now, I have one boy and two girls left and I only need one more boy... An invitation was presented to the whole of the middle school- come to rehearsals today if you're interested and I would cast that last boy part.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I don't think anyone will be coming. 

I know I shouldn't take it personally.  The kids here are strangely over-extended, and most of that seems to happen outside of school. It's hard to get them involved in anything at school.  Also, middle school is a precarious time and it's been hard for some of the "Charlie Brown" kids because they're still being called by their character names.  Charlie Brown, in particular, finds this very upsetting.  I feel for him, I do.  But I just don't understand how there are not four kids out of 375 who want to be on the stage!  I would be in the show myself if it was a girl part open. 

You think I'm kidding...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not complaining but...

I love to say that, or hear it even- I'm not complaining, but... Because you are complaining.  Or I'm complaining.  Whatever.  Some of you know that Dave and I struggled to get pregnant.  We were trying for quite a while before it happened and because of that, part of me feels like I should appreciate or accept everything that comes with being knocked up.  But the more I think about it, the more I have to disagree with myself.  There are things that suck about being pregnant and I don't have to 'like' them just because it was a bit of a journey to get here.

Thing #1 that sucks: I have a sinus infection today.  My doctor, who might be the funniest OB/GYN in the world, is also, uh... not as thorough as a doctor would be in the States.  I'm fairly certain that some things he does would land him in jail, or at least court, if he lived in the US... or anywhere else really.  I really do appreciate his laid-back approach to pregnancy.  He laughs off things that probably should be laughed off and will just prescribe things for me based on symptoms I describe.  The only real negative to this is that I feel a little silly asking him a lot of questions.  I told him I was having breathing issues a few weeks ago and he blamed it on anxiety.  I didn't feel anxious- I felt like I couldn't breathe.  But he listened to my lungs, said I was fine, and told me to calm down.  At my last appointment, I had a cough and my white blood cell count (is that right?) said I had an infection.  He listened, said I was fine, and prescribed some cough medicine that hasn't helped.  Now, two weeks later, I'm still coughing AND I have a sinus infection and I don't really want to bother him.  SO- where is all this going?  Well, the internet is great, huh?  You ask it a question, it gives you a million answers.  I have some Tylenol Cold and Sinus.  I ask the internet if I can take it and the internet says YES and NO!  Equally.  "Yes, my doctor told any Tylenol product was fine!"  "NO!  Only regular Tylenol is okay!"  So I took some regular Tylenol.  And my head doesn't hurt as bad as before, but it hurts more than if I could take sinus medicine. 

Thing #2 that sucks: The bloat.  I know, attractive to think about, right?  Well, it happens and it sucks.  Right now, I couldn't suck in if I wanted to.  And none of my clothes are comfortable.  And I don't look cute and pregnant- I just look fat.  And feel fat.

Thing #3 that sucks:  The exhaustion.  My friends were right- there is nothing like the exhaustion that comes with being pregnant.  I've always loved my sleep and will often choose going to bed over other, more fun activities.  But this is ridiculous!  Trying to keep my eyes open past 9:00pm... forget about it!  It won't happen!  And if I do too much during the day, i.e. more than just school, I'm done for.  Done.For.

Do not get me wrong.  I am over-the-moon excited to be pregnant.  But that does not meant that I have to love every aspect of it.  And I don't. 

So there.