Tag Archives: Teaching

Back In The Saddle

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Hello, I hope all is well with my dear friends! I know it has been awhile but I have been extremely busy. I am back in school working on obtaining my administrator’s license along with a graduate writing certificate. On top of that, I am in the process of potty training, working fulltime, and looking for high schools for Nic who will be a freshman next year! I am also preparing for a writing conference that I was asked to speak at in October.

Work has been messy to put things nicely. Four of our schools have been taken over by the state.  As a result of this, our Super, has decided that all secondary education teachers will receive pink slips on May 31st so that the employees who lost their jobs will have an opportunity for a position.

I am trying to keep a positive attitude, count my blessings, and just know that better days are ahead.  I am going to Miami for a few days during our intercession (two-week Fall break) now that we have moved to the year-around calendar.  That will give me an opportunity for some much needed mental and physical r&r.

Thank you all for continuing to stop by.  It is much appreciated.

A Leap of Faith

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I was offered the position at my alma mater which boasts an all-school magnet program in the arts and humanties.  As a student I was in both magnets and loved my high school.  One of the classes I am slated to teach is called “Novels” and I will be allowed to design my own curriculum for this particular class!

I have mixed emotions.  It will be hard to leave the dsyfunctional place I am currently at.  It is an evil I know.  At least four of my current colleagues are going with me, so I am not completely nostalgic about leaving.  But I am a little afraid and nervous to be in a new environment with a new boss and a new set of expectations.  I hope I am not jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Wish me luck!

The Seven Year Itch

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I have been at my job for seven long years.  As much as I enjoy the actual teaching part, lately I’ve been having a hard time thriving in my abysmal workplace.

As a student I never realized how political teaching is.  There is so much red tape involved in every minute decision.  Nothing is done in the best interest of the children.  No child is left behind because they were never “there” to begin with.  Most schools are not designed with the learner in mind.  The administration seems to have no idea what it takes to be a classroom teacher.  Of course, everything is our fault from student truancy to them failing to comply with the dress code.

I am tired.  It is  an exhausting mind-grinding job.  At the end of most days I have nothing left.  The life has been virtually squeezed out of me.  The students are the opposite.  They are energized and peppy, pumped up on making things hard for the staff.  They have been enabled every step along the way and are highly resentful to anyone who tries to change the status quo.

And I am what many consider a “good” teacher.  I have even been described as “excellent.”  I have  earned my fair share of accolades early in my career and continue to garner positive attention.  I am often “dumped” on because I manage my classes well.  I can only imagine how struggling teachers feel.

But with this being said, the students essentially are not the problem.  You can train a child how to behave, teach and model good work and study habits, and provide a comfortable environment conducive to learning.  Now the adults I work with are another story.  It’s too late to train them.

The thought of empowering students is a foreign concept to many of them.  They allow the students to get away with murder to avoid really dealing with them.  They don’t care that they can’t read or write; they only want them pushed out of the school system in order to avoid public scutiny.  They can’t possibly begin to fathom how this laissez-faire mentality helps perpuate the cycle of dsyfunction, low expectations, and poverty.

I have created a wonderful world in my classroom.  But I hate being confined to one such place.  I’m sure the students feel the claustrophobia as well.  I want to be able to utilize the entire school and all of its resources–both people and things. 

I am at a croosroads in my life.  Do I stay or do I go?  I interviewd at my alma mater (my husband’s, too) last Wednesday.  Maybe a change will do me good.  My husband urged me year after year to leave my building.  He often referred to it as a mockery of education.  I agree.  But what about the kids that I am leaving behind?  Perhaps I need a whole new career.

What’s Your Style?

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When it comes to parenting, I have my own unique style that I like to call “democratic-assertive.”  I am not authoritarian because I believe that this approach eventually  backfires in the end. 

I like to think that I am fair, flexible (to a degree),  and firm.  However, I do like to maintain control.   Kids are kids for a reason.  I am not at all wishy-washy (permissive) and I believe that consistency is a key component to well behaved children. 

Sometimes I think I am too strict and overprotective.  However, my husband is a nice counterpartner and helps round me out with his more liberal views.

I noticed that I approach teaching in the same manner that I do parenting.  Often students are quick to remind us teachers that we are not their parents.  I say a silent prayer of thanks before quickly pointing out that actually I am, in locos parentis.  As a public school teacher I am legally entitled to act accordingly.

Oddly, they embrace this concept once they get over the fact that I don’t look very”motherly.”  Despite my appearance I am quite conservative.  My very austere grandmother had a lot to do with this.  Even though I teach 12th grade, I still set my classroom up as a family.  I am the parental figure and I liken my students to my “kids”. 

Furthermore, I feel obligated to get to know my students like I do with my own child.  I spend so much time with them that I couldn’t imagine doing otherwise.  When you know their strengths and weakness, whims and wishes–it makes the monumental task of teaching far more bearable. 

This approach works for me and it creates an atmosphere of trust, stability, and warmth.  Many of the students that I work with come from broken homes and appreciate this type of environment.  I don’t meddle in their personal affairs or anything of that nature.   And I only give advice when requested. 

We all have to discover what works best for our individual families because one size does not fit all. Here is a quiz I found on ivillage to help get you thinking about the type of parent you are or the kind that you desire to be.