Monday, April 26, 2010

The dreaded STAR has begun.

So STAR testing has begun. We try to make it fun and exciting but to be quite honest it is an incredibly boring time of year and the kids all know how awful it is. I am sorry there is just not a way to make 56 math problems fun, I don't care what you try and tell kids.
This morning, as my kids were sitting in my HISTORY class, one of my students ask me. What test are we going to take in here. Uh, the history test since this is HISTORY class. I really hope his brain woke up soon after that and began working before the test actually began.
Later that day another student asked me do we take a STAR test today in this class too. Uh No this is yearbook. I just hope to god my students used all their brain energy on the test and had none left later in the day because if not we are never even going to get close to that magical number, yeah you know the one.

Day one of stupidity done only 9.5 left.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

And now for a quote break

"Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about."
-Richard Dreyfuss as Glenn Holland in Mr. Holland's Opus

Dear STAR test

For those of you that do not know what the STAR/CST test just know this it rules the life of every school, teacher, administrator, district, and level of education in our state. It is also referred to as the dreaded test. You know the one where you have to regurgitate in two hours every damn thing you have learned all year. The one where you as a teacher have been cramming as much multiple choice knowledge into their heads as possible and then falling to sleep praying to the STAR test gods it stay their until the beginning of May. The one where you as an administrator pray, hope, willing sell your soul for a score of over 800. Yup, that's the one. Well the STAR test is upon us so I decided to write the STAR test a little letter telling it what I really believe.

Dear STAR test,
I am impressed with how much power you wield around theses days. It seems that everywhere I go I hear something about how this all important event needs even more time and attention paid to it. There are catchy slogans made, hell kids even make up songs to sing to help themselves when they face you and all your multiple choice bubble in glory. I do not know how you so slyly and cunningly snuck in and made us all bow down before you. I am impressed that you have convinced entire schools, districts, hell possibly even the state that teaching to the test is not only acceptable but applauded. But STAR test you tell us nothing valuble. I am sure we could bet the odds of my students STAR test score in November and I'd be pretty spot on. The What you do tell me STAR test is the following
1. We will have future generations unable to think outside the box
2. We will have employees that cannot solve problems unless the answer is listed for them in multiple choice format.
3. We will have schools shut down because of their unsatisfactory performance but full of teachers that are amazing, vibrant, and exceptional.
4. We will have an ever increasing divide between the "good" and the "bad" schools.
5. We will continue to degrade the idea that learning is cool and information is fun because that cool fun information won't be asked on the test
6. We will continue to strip our schools of electives and replace them with additional remedial type English and Math classes.
7. We will one day wake up and realize non of this works.
8. We will realized that the No Child Left Behind left pretty much left ALL children behind.
9.We will have geneartions of students that are excellent in filling in multiple choice tests, a skill they rarely if ever use in the real world.
10. We will continue to push blame around and foist it onto some other group etc. when really education is EVERYONE'S problem to solve.
So STAR test you are a waste of my time and I would really like to get back to the regularly scheduled education and stop having to deal with your interruptions.
Because if you don't you just might kill me.

Why the legal field SUCKS

The whole legal profession is terrible. I don't mean the people at all. In fact I can saw that I have the privilege of knowing some very amazing, caring, intelligent, hard working, and driven lawyers, para-legals, judges, and other people who work in the legal profession.

The terrible problem with their profession is that it is inherently flawed-yes flawed. They say that they can fix legal problems but really they cannot fix anything. They can mitigate damages or ensure that punishment is adequately distributed. They can help to right wrongs and even give us rights previously withheld from us but fixing, no they are not in the business of fixing problems.

See doctors fix problem. When I was 6 I broke my arm. The doctor casted it and it healed. You-hell even I now a days- don't even really know it ever happened because my arm got fixed. There is no lasting effects either mental or physical from my arm.
See the legal system can't fix problems because to fix a problem you have to be able to effectively erase that the problem was ever their, and I don't just mean from your physical body I mean from your conscious. I never ever think of my arm that broke not even when I see a slide, what I fell off to break it in the first place. I don't think about because I am fixed there is no lasting scar either physical or mental.

When I worked in the DA's office though I could never fix the victims. See the law even though it served justice never took away that scared feeling every time a robbery victim had walking down that street, or going to the ATM, or pulling into a dimly lit parking lot thinking is this going to be like the time I got robbed.
Like when I worked for a civil defense firm I could never give those people their houses back. Even though they could get lots of money to compensate for all the stuff they lost due to mold I could not give them their favorite stuffed animal back, or their couch. Every time they sat on the new couch they remembered this is not the couch we really wanted that one was destroyed.
When contracts break and you get money or even what was promised to you back it will always be somewhat bitter sweet because along with it comes the memories of how you got it.
No matter what the legal profession says they cannot put humpty dumpty back together again, all they can do is sue for negligence or wrongful placement of the wall.

I think people need to remember that when they are both wronging someone and when they are getting wronged. By no stretch of the imagination am I saying don't use the judicial system. If we did not then our society would run wild but also do not expect to be fixed. Lawyers cannot take away the problem they can just get your compensated. You can win all the money in the world but I think 9 times out of 10 people would just like to be treated better in the first place.

Like a phoenix rising from the Ash

So 7 months to the day and I return. I wish there was some better reason for my once a decade update but nope just the same old reason teaching. How sad that I created a blog to write down all the ideas that come into my life about teaching but teaching sucks up all that time and ideas and viola none left for writing about it. This yer has been like some sort of whirling dirvish. I can't even remember what happened but I know I did about 8 million things. Most of them had to do with Student Council which hasn't been so bad except for the trips all over the planet looking for one million different random items, NONE of which can be sold at a store with any other item. I think I will become wiser next year and just order everything on line. Yes you have to pay for shipping but I think it is well worth it and there are none of the 5 mile Costco lines to stand in.
Well that's about it. Just wanted to let people know I am here and hopefully will blog more. My friend started on and writes daily, don't know how she does it but I feel that is she can than I really have no excuses so I will try... that means little on this blog.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

makes me think crooked

I am quite possibly the world's worst blogger. Why would you ask. just look at my posts the last one was APRIL. good thing I am not making money off this or I'd be broke. I really do like to blog and funny things happen all the damn time when you spend your life cooped up with the adolescent type but you are so busy trying to teach said adolescents to
1. Not be disgusting
2. learn NO one wants to hear about their bathroom humor
4. Not start rumors and then watch as people pummel each other because of your LIES
5. generally KNOCK it off
it really leaves little time for blogging
I know that you love it Nicole and maybe I should just conduct all communication to you vie the blog since you are the LONE person to read it but.... I digress.
There was an actual point to this entry besides excuses and whining but now I forget because I semi taught (student Council retreat) one day and am so exhausted I can't even think straight. By the way can you really think crooked, see it has been one HELL of a long day.
So person or who knows maybe I am selling myself short and there are 2 of you. I promise to blog here about things that are so funny, amazing, or infuriating that i CANNOT keep them to myself, that is if I can remember them long enough to write them down, and them find the note in order ot blog about it.
Oh yeah that and I knwo I am gonna go to hell for this because she was murdered and all adn truly i feel bad for her but doesn't this chick look like A mdam Tuseau wax model of Alien Barbie

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What the Hell

Now that it is Spring Break I can get back to my alter life of being a very famous and intensely read blogger. Since I can fill my days that were consumed with teaching with more educational endeavors this week such as reading Life and Style I really have been learning alot. I, being the good Samaritan I am decided that I would share the best tidbit of the magazine with you my loyal reader.
No, I am not going to talk about octo-mom and how she is "just a misunderstood mother- a woman who wants to create opportunities of love."
Nor am I going to talk about Sex and the City 2 and how according to an insider the plot line is Big cheats on Carrie. Also the subheading of the movie will be called "And the horse is beaten to death yet again."
No! I will be sharing with you the most amazing fashion design of 2009, possibly of the 21st century. It boggles the mind that this was not created before. I now present to you the greates invention I have never seen.

I have yet to find out where to purchase them, they are made in Japan so I fear they have not made their U.S. debut yet but I will continue to research and keep you updated. I hope that you have enjoyed this amazing fashion find as much as I have. I guess that Life and Style really does have educational value.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

One of Those Days

Yesterday was one of those days; one of those really poignant days. A day where you hope those hearing are listening and will take that message and begin doing. A day where if the ideas turn into actions it could be one of those days you talk about for the rest of your life. Am I being cryptic enough, let em explain.
Yesterday a good friend my mine who is involved in politics can and spoke to my class. He talked about his life, how to run for office, how he lost and even how he is totally okay with that. (he was a 3rd party candidate I believe him) Whole that was good and all the focus of his talk was to have my students see concerns in their school, town, community etc. and to do something about them. They had a very easy time pointing out all the things they hated. "Uniforms are lame!" "Binders are stupid." and my personal favorite "The cafeteria food like like my dog barfed on a plate and then peed on it." Jr. High students can be very descriptive when the mood strikes. But, when asked by my guest speaker how to take their concerns and turn them into arguments they were lost. He did though teach them alot about how to do just that. How whining and strikes don't always work but goor arguments with thoughtful composition and intelligent rationale will get you somewhere.
When student asked him about sit in and all the protests Martin Luther King Jr. did he had a very astute observation. He said," Yes, he did do that and all those things brought awareness to the problem but was that the solution. No! Martin Luther King is best remembered for his I have a Deam speach, an opportunity to clearly tell his arguement and what he wanted to see done differently." Now this sparked some interest in kids and I think they saw the light bulb go off. Activism without words does nothing.
So why then an I rambling about some speaker. How does this connect with one of those days. See that is my goal in teahign history. That in just one of my students they see they to are a Thomas Jefferson or Susan B. Anthony or Martin Luther King Jr. and they stopp bitching and whining and decide to do something. Maybe this guest speaker will help to light that spark under my stuents and they will decide to start do someting. I know a hard feat, especially when apathy is the top emotion in the life of a teenager but it has been done before and I hope with this new found understanding my students will do it again.
Here's to hoping that yesterday was not just another day but one of those days...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

SO it was one LONG damn hiatus

This idea of weekly blog writing is really great and I blame not updating mine more on my friend Charlie. See we made a pact of writing once a week and he hasn't held up his end of the bargain so neither have I. Wow, my students' logic is rubbing off on me more than I thought. Yes, another school year has started and once again I have stretched myself in way too many places and at times have felt a bit thin to be quite honest. (if only that thinness was reflect in my pants size instead of just my spirit) I have so truly great kids this year. Of course I also have some lazy bums but I have decided to put my focus and energy on those who work hard, are nice, support each other and remind me why I choose to leave a promising legal career to be here. I have decided that every time I write and if Charley steps it up it will be every week I am going to focus on the positive and tell you something good/funny that is happening and leave the assholes where they should be; in the corners not taking my precious time.
There is this one young man that I am so impressed with. School is hard for him. He can hardly read anything let alone an 8th grade textbook or understand the politics section of the newspaper I require them to read each and every Tuesday. He cant' spell most words, barley knows his math facts. Really people I could go on and on here but guess what unless most of his peers he wants to learn and somehow someway and fir has been lit inside him. He knows he has a hard time so he comes to me twice a week to get help. As soon as the bell rings for school to end there he is at my door ready to learn. He stays until he gets it and is always patient and never gives up. He has such a desire to be successful and will do anything I ask in order to pass my class and learn those MUCH needed basic skills. I asked him what he does after school the other three days and he says he works with his mom at her cleaning business so they can make some extra money. What a truly remarkable young man.
To top it all off last year he got shot in the face. It was a freak drive-by wrong place wrong time knind of situation. He needs more surgeries to finish up the work and get him new teeth (the bullet blew through a bunch of them) but can't until they make enough money to pay for it. I am just constantly amazed by this young man. Where others in my class are giving up with much less adversity here he is working that much harder. When I asked him why he has choosen to work hard be said it's to make him mom proud. She never went to school because she had to work in the fields in Mexico as a child and he doesn't want to disappoint her and make her hard work not mean something. Now that is one awesomem kid. I just hope he learns to read, write, and do math because if he can get those skills he will be so successful. It makes me mad because all those cocky smart kids where things come so easy to them will get the scholarships to college, the good jobs, the big houses and here is this kid who has all those amazing skills you can never teach someone. Skills like hard work, patience, kindness, never giving up, respecting others.
So to all five of you who read this if you get a chance give the person who may not have the perfect resume, credentials, etc a chance because in the end they may be so much better because they want it that much more and will work that much harder to keep it.
And as to my student (even though he won't/can't read this) you will get those skills as long as you never give up and I will support you every step of the way to get you to your final goal.

Monday, August 25, 2008

And We're Back

Now that the Olympics have been put to bed for another four years I can resume my life and once again return to the things I have to go do; i.e. teach, work, clean the house, shop, the regular stuff. Before I close the Olympiad book for good I would like to say a few things good and bad about the 8 greatest days Beijing has ever seen, aside from Mao you know.
Michael Phelps was beyond good, beyond great, it was like God made him for one purpose and one purpose only; to kick every one's ASS!!!!! like it had never been kicked before. Gymnastics was pretty damn awesome as well. Sure the Chinese have small preschool aged children competing but I think that only makes it more amazing. I could barley so a somersault at the age of 5 and these girls WOW! that's talent. Diving. I still don't know how they can jump from 3o feet in the air twist like that and not just eat shit when they enter the water Those athletes are remarkable and the sport VERY scary.
The US 4x100 relay team. Sure watching from your couch really makes you the backseat sprinter but come on people. Passing the baton, wasn't that a skill covered in 4th grade gym class. If they fuck up something I can do they are NOT Olympic caliber athletes; I might even call their entire athleticism into question. Additionally, I know that watching Michael Phelps win gold medal number 3,000,000 live is much better that tape delay but when that live coverage is at 2:15 am I start to seriously question how much better it can be. I really do think the IOC owes me about 27 hours of lost sleep during the month of August.
So over all great. I just love the Olympics. The wins by 1/1 gazillionth of a second. Those touching special interest pieces where you cry for that kid who had to sell his kidney just to keep training with the Karolyi gymnastic elite. Even the insane amount of food Michael Phelps eats a day was rather interesting, sick and gross but interesting none the less. My hat is off to you Beijing and 29th Olympiad. With 1.5 billion though you know China was gonna outshine every other Olympics ever, was there even an option. It was there one opportunity to show that having more people in one country than you think humanly possible can actually be an asset; that and if they ever decide to try for world domination.

School starts in a mere 10 hours so off to be I am and will re cap day 1 of a new year tomorrow.
Same bat time same bat channel