Tag Archives: teachers

Farewell Peyton


Let me start off by saying that I am not a sports fanatic by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy watching them from time to time, ALWAYS rooting for the home teams (Colts and Pacers). So I was a little bothered to see that Jim Irsay chose not to keep Peyton Manning. Yeah, I understand that it is “business”, but after 14 years it should be more than that. It is not as if he took the year off to pursue hedonistic activities.

I guess it bothers me how dispensable people are and reminds me of my job. Every secondary teacher in our state’s largest school system will receive pink slips by April 1st. We are being evaluated, heavily scutinized and critiqued. It’s getting petty and ugly. Teachers are being written up for being a few seconds late (literally) to midday meetings or if they are “caught” sitting in the classroom.

And no, I don’t make a fraction of what Peyton makes. But I can relate to being the subject of scutiny and disposed for something better. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with the “team.” I think I can safely speak for the majority of our city when I say that he will be missed.

Image via Google


A Busy Bee


I’ve been so busy as of lately with the end of the school year drawing near. Not to mention I have to pack and prepare for my move to the new school I will be working at in the fall.

I am looking forward to summer break.  For once I have chosen not to teach summer school so that I may enjoy the time off.  I could use the money, however, my sanity is far more important.

June 1st can’t come fast enough!

School of Fashion


My students think it is a part of their role to critique my clothing and assessory choices.  Everyday I am surveyed from head to toe.  Then I have to listen their comments about what I have on that day.  I think the focus is more heightened because they wear uniforms.   And there are only so many things one can say about khaki pants and polo shirts.

Yesterday they did not like my lace socks paired with ballet flats.  I know because I heard all about it!

And they always complain about the green marbled sweater coat that I put on when I get chilly (which is all the time).  They call it the “ugly old bathrobe.”  They really get bent out of shape when it doesn’t match what I am wearing!

The one Friday that I wore a pair of Coach sneakers, I was the talk of the school!  No one thought I even owned a pair of tennis shoes, I was informed.

Once when I was not wearing my wedding ring, a male student asked if I was “mad” at my husband! 

Today it was my shoes.  I happen to like them and think they are quite cute and quaint.  Many kids agreed with me.  But several wondered why I had on “old lady” shoes at my age?  One of my students called them girl “leprechaun” shoes and asked if I was looking for “me gold”!  Another student inquired “Where you think you going in those shoes?!”   But they liked the pair of diamond barretts in my hair, so they gave me “points” for those.

A front view

A front view


A side angle

A side angle

Of course they have opinions about EVERYTHING!  Their junior fashion critiques add a little humor to my day.  Not to mention, it is a good springboard for teaching fact versus opionion!

These received the stamp of approval

These received the stamp of approval

Silver Linings Sunday


After seven years of teaching, I must say that this is the worst year thus far.  Don’t get me wrong, the school in which I teach has always had serious educational issues, but now it’s just utterly ridiculous!  I am teaching 6 periods out of 7.  I don’t take lunch at work because I just don’t have the time to do so during my allotted period.   I often feel like a hamster in a wheel.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t win my rage against the machine.  Sometimes I think Pink Floyd  had the right idea.

Just two weeks ago I received a whole new schedule, kids included.  We (the faculty) never know what is going on.  Everyday it is something new.  Usually we find out about things as they are occurring. The kids actually know things before we do! 

At best my job is chaotic, very poorly organized, wildly inconsistent, and really a mockery of education if you ask me.  My husband calls it Eastside High, alluding to the school in the movie Lean on Me  if that will help you visualize what I deal with on a daily.  Most days I am simply overwhelmed at how awful things are.  It is extradinarily disheartening.

One day I gripped to a coworker about the inequitable practices and everything else that didn’t sit well with me. I confided in him that I thought it was time for me to find another position elsewhere.  I was ready to pack up and cut my losses.

He preached about how much the kids need me.  He also said something that has stuck with me.  He reminded me that when God was ready for me to go elsewhere, he would create an out for me.  He pointed out if it was my time to leave, I would have been one of the teachers placed at another school.  However, I was one of the chosen few to remain.

I keep that in mind every day and just hope that I am making a difference for somebody.

Despite the myraid of problems I face I am thankful that I have a job.  Although I am totally drained at the end of the day, I have something that many people don’t–a job.  Our economy is so unstable right now and the job market is not much better.  I am blessed (thank you Father!)

Therefore my challenge at work is turning negatives into positives.  This is difficult to do.  I try anyways because I want my kids to feel like they are valued.  I never want them to think that they shouldn’t have access to excellent teachers.  The morale in the building is already abysmally low among both students and staff.  I want them to receive a quality English education.  They are worth me putting my best foot forward.  Afterall, you only get what you put out.

School’s Out!


I am so elated–school’s out which means that I don’t have to work! I need a break because I am mentally and physically exhausted. I am also in the process of getting a new laptop, which is why I have not been around lately.

On the home front, Evan finally earned a pass and we went down to visit him. We had such fun! I really miss the little one. I will be posting about our visit with him, our vacation to the Wisconsin Dells which begins tomorrow, and other happenings here shortly. Stay tuned…

It Gets Greater Later


I often spend my Saturday mornings grocery shopping. The local shopping district that I utilize is routinely populated by students who attend the school where I teach. So it’s not unusual for me to run into students, both past and present during this time. The trip I made to the grocery store last weekend was no different. I was spotted by several former students. For the most part, I am always happy to see them. I love to see how they have grown and hear about the progress that they have made in life. Then other times I liken myself to a celebrity being chased by the paparazzi. I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes I dodge, hide, or dart down the aisles in order to avoid my current students. Because even the students who don’t like you as a teacher at school, love you when they see you in public and always want to talk to you. Of course, this makes me feel weird, but rest assured, I know that by Monday morning, they will be back to their old fickle selves. How comforting!

I was standing at the cold cuts case trying to find a suitable Lunchable for Nicholas’ lunch when I felt a slight touch to my lower back. I turned and faced Nina, a former student. Nina was a student from the beginning of my teaching career. She had a great personality, but was not really into school. I think she was there largely for the social aspect and eventually quit school altogether.  Over the years I saw her a couple of times at Skyline Chili where she worked.

We were both pleasantly surprised to see each other considering three years had passed since she had served Cincinnati’s famous chili. Nina shyly told me that she was working on getting her GED and that she had hopes of attending college. I told her about the new changes within our school system, like how all the teachers at our school had to re-interview for our jobs. I was among the first to be interviewed and had already received my position back. Nina gave me a quick smile before saying “I knew that they wouldn’t let you go because you are the best English teacher at AHS.” Having finally learned the art of replying to compliments with grace, I simply said thank you. However, I was somewhat surprised by her commendation. As I mentioned, she was not particularly studious and rarely did the assignments I gave. I had no idea that she held this view of me. But it did make me feel good.

After a little more small talk, we parted ways and continued our shopping. A little later in the day it dawned on me—being a stepparent is a lot like being a teacher. Oftentimes you don’t know the impact that you are having on your students until years later. Just when you think you have bombed and didn’t make a dent of difference in their lives, the exact opposite is true. I receive many letters, emails, and visits from former students who express their gratitude over lessons learned. I love this. This fuels my passion to perform better each year since I rarely get to see the immediate fruits of my Herculean effort that I put forth. I have no problem accepting this fact of life as a teacher. This is a hard concept for me to master as a stepmom. But listening to Nina gave me hope. And it’s not that I expect something in return from my stepsons for being a positive influence in their lives, however, just hearing that you somehow made a difference does feel mighty good.

What Was She Thinking?


            Last night my husband and I happened to turn to the news channel as they were featuring a story about a teacher who allegedly had sex with a student. Can you imagine the shock I felt when they displayed the mug shot of Evan’s teacher?  Evan’s teacher! Mrs. Vasquez, age 37, had been charged with 4 felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor!  Here is an excerpt from the news paper article:


Investigators say she allegedly drove a 15-year-old male student to her home in the Castleton area May 1 and had sexual intercourse with him, said Sgt. Matthew Mount of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Vasquez, 37, faces preliminary charges of sexual misconduct with a minor, Mount said.


According to a police report, the student told authorities Vasquez first had engaged in flirtatious behavior with him.
The two eventually concocted a plan; the student told police, for Vasquez to arrange to take the student on a special lunch outing that would be described to administrators as a reward for recent improvements in the boy’s classroom performance. The two intended instead to go to the teacher’s home for sex, the boy told police.



            At the beginning of the year I filed a complaint against the school for not following Evan’s IEP.  One of my many issues was with the teacher, Mrs. Vasquez and her educational practices.  She had a variety of grade levels in one class, and therefore gave ALL of the kids the same assignments.  So while Evan was in 3rd grade and should have been doing 3rd grade work, he was doing 2nd work because she had more 2nd graders than any other grade.  This was confirmed when she had mixed up papers from other students in Evan’s folder. Grades 1-5 were all doing the same worksheets.  When I asked her about this, she acknowledged that she had trouble finding lessons for each grade level.  Her class only consisted of 6 students and she even had the help of an assistant and a therapist; it wasn’t like she was going at it alone.  But the number of students fluctuated often due to students moving, being transferred back to their home schools, being expelled, or like Evan, eventually placed in residential treatment. 

  Nor did she have any classroom management.  She got flustered very easily and was always a nervous wreck.  She used a point system to reward and punish behavior.  However, this was a random practice.  Some days she would use the system and other days she would not.  I asked her to email me his point sheet because Evan was very good at “losing” his.  She emailed me this information maybe once per week when it should have been a daily form of communication.   They did more watching movies and recess than actual assignments. 

My biggest problem with her was that she gave the kids the answers to their work.  When they could not solve a problem, rather than teaching them how to come up with the solution, she would just tell them.  This was done on a regular basis—even on tests.  I figured this out when I would give Evan work to do at home because of course, they never had homework.  I suspect that she did not want to experience the wrath of the volatile children when they could not do their work.  The very same standards that he was mastering at school he could not do in any form at home.  He finally told me that they “shared” work, especially when the students got angry.  Evan even got frustrated with me once because I didn’t “help” him like Mrs. Vasquez.   Overall she was not very consistent in any area—something especially needed when you are working at an alternative school for students with behavior problems.  

            When I requested a case conference, they did not address my concerns about Mrs. Vazquez.  I suppose they did not believe them to be valid because she was one of their own, even though I came well documented regarding my claims.  However, when I filed an official complaint with the department of education, my lengthy allegations were substantiated.  After Evan left for residential treatment, they finally placed her in another class of four eighth grade students.  This is where she met her victim. 

I am left to wonder if maybe this incident could have been prevented had the school been willing to monitor her more closely?  I also wonder if she was ever inappropriate with any of the other students such as my own stepson? It saddens and angers me as both a teacher and a parent that this happened.  I hope with all the hope I can muster that the allegations are just that.