Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday of Last Week

Wednesday of last week...

My administration hasn't gotten our state tests to us in time again. I don't know if I'll have time to grade them before I have to go out for surgery - which means I won't know if my PBL have been effective with the students' learning or not. So it goes...

Apparently, despite my saying I'm going out for surgery, putting it on the calendar, and putting in the class powerpoints, I still have students saying "wait, why won't you be here??" I find that funny at this point. I think I've evolved to a higher plane of existence, where you're so far passed stressed that things just become funny.

It seems sad to me that my two years of teaching has to end this way. I know I'll probably be back here teaching next year due to medical issues with finding another job, but still. I wanted to make a difference when I came to my district but I don't know if I really have. I hope I have but my students still don't study and I don't know if they have really retained any of the material I've tried to teach them. I hope I get better.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday of Last Week

Tuesday of Last Week...

The students are supposed to have a test from the District today. On this test, the students should have questions over the material that we were supposed to have taught during the past 4 to 5 weeks. I'm really excited by this last test because I want to know how my students are doing with the new type of lessons I've been doing. Everyone in Education is excited about PBL (Project Based Learning) and I want to see if the hype is worth it. I like it because it keeps the kids busy and engaged, but I have my doubts as to if there's any improvement on their test scores of their retention.

I guess I don't really know how to get them to learn en masse. If I work with individual students, I'm better.

At any rate, we've been told that our District Benchmark tests should be printed up by tomorrow, so I quickly gave the students an activity for their projects that they're finishing. I should have set the presentations up like I did last year - things went so smoothly and I really felt like the kids were doing better with public speaking. Last year, I made a "practice run" where they informally presented to me and I provided feedback. That really helped the students do better. This year, I didn't for last term and they were catastrophic. I think havingt a deadline where the students need to have everything together before they go up and present makes them have it done and catches a few of the stragglers that always do things the "night before." I'll have to plan this better for next time.

One of my students said something hilarious today and I'm trying to remember it. The kids say so many funny things that it's hard to keep track.

Oh, here - for your viewing pleasure, my students asking me questions:
Student 1: We shouldn't have a test today, in honor of *the Day*.
Me: Why is that?
Student 1: It's 4:20.
Me: Nice try. School goes on and you learn stuff.
Student 2: Do you celebrate 4:20.
Me: Of course not. I need all my brain cells to keep up with all of you.
Student 1: Do your parents celebrate 4:20.
Me: (Pause) Possibly when they were younger.
Student 1: I want to come over to their house today!
Me: Sit down and learn something!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday of my Last Week

Monday of Last Week:

The treatment for my disease is wearing off. I can feel my body getting sicker more often now than when I was on the shots that were supposed to suppress my disease until surgery. For this reason, I'm glad that I'm going into surgery next week.

I was starting to wonder if I really needed the surgery since I hadn't felt sick in so long. I was wondering if it was all in my mind. I know that there were days last semester where I couldn't physically walk around the room and my students told me I "walked like an old woman." I recall that but it's so long ago that I felt like it must have been a bad dream. Now, I remember a bit. It's going to get painful. Even on good days, it feels like all of my various tissue and organs inside my abdomen are connected in ways that they shouldn't be and are pulling on each other in vaguely uncomfortable ways.

Tuesday of next week at 3pm is the surgery. I'll be in the hospital for a few days, and then home to recupperate.

I hope that nothing goes wrong with me getting my FMLA leave. I hope and hope and hope. I have my fingers crossed that the "Powers that Be" downtown won't misplace my paperwork or run into any other kinks.

On top of writing my masters thesis, writing my defense, finishing my coursework for my last masters class (including all assignments and final projects), getting married, organizing FMLA leave, doctors visits, lesson planning, and parent teacher conferences - I think I have gone passes stressed into a rare world called "apathy." I don't know if I can feel nervous anymore. I just want all of this to be over with.

And on top of everything, I'm still scrambling to get my students time in the computer lab so they can have some time to finish their projects.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Parent Teacher Conference Insanity

Parent Teacher Conference from InsanityLand

Parent: I don't want my student to learn about evolution.
Me: Um...
Parent: It's against our religion, unless you're learning about how it's false.
Me: Well, sir, I respect your right to religious values. I always try to teach the children to respect everybody and their right to their own beliefs.
Parent: So, can he do a project disproving evolution.
Me: No, the state says I have to teach them about evolution. However, I don't teach them that it's the only way but rather a theory. They can make up their minds on their own.
Parent: I don't know. Can he do a project disproving evolution and do one on creationism instead?
Me: No, they already did a paper explaining their beliefs on the subject of how the world was created and if they believe in evolution, creationism, or something in between last week. Now it's time that they learn about Darwin and what he actually said, since most people don't really know what his theory is about.
Parent: I'm just uncomfortable with him learning about evolution. He shouldn't hear about it.
Me: Well, in my mind, him learning about it will make his beliefs stronger. If he knows exactly what Darwin said and what proof he had for his theory, then he will be more educated about his own beliefs. He will be able to say, "I don't believe in evolution because Darwin said this and I think that's wrong because ____." People will listen to him more because he will be educated.
Parent: Well, I suppose that's alright, if it helps him disprove evolution.
Me: That's up to him. However, I do need to teach it. If he doesn't do the project, then he can't get credit for it because the state says I need to teach them about the history of biology, which starts with Darwin and his theories.
Parent: Ok, as long as it helps him to disprove evolution.
Me: (pause) Ok.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
Repeat after self: I will do my best to always respect each person's beliefs and culture. I will take this into consideration when I deal with other people. I will always model respect and professionalism.
I will not let my own opinions bias me in the function of my duties as an educator.