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.