Category Archives: Education

Inconsistent

Each day from today until next Thursday the students have early dismissals. It occurred to me today that if the public were to ask, “Why?” the response would be to provide the teachers time to break down the classrooms.

Five partial days to pack up the classroom plus a day (next Friday) to put away the stuff.

Yet, we are provided no time to set up the classroom in September.

Some might point to the half day that we have in the classroom that we do not have to attend meetings as time to set up the classroom. The problem with that time, however, is that it is also Open House time. That means that parents and students come into the classroom to meet the teacher, see where the desk is, etc. While I am meeting with parents and students, I am not setting up the classroom.

If it takes five partial days plus one full day to break down a classroom, it seems reasonable to think some time is needed to set up the classroom.

Precipice of Adulthood

Beetle had a meltdown this morning. She is stressing about college. She sees money issues regarding college. I think it is good that she is aware of the cost. I had no clue when I attended college as to how much it actually was. I knew the dollar figure, but I didn’t know just how much of a commitment that was.

I recall interviewing for my second masters program. The dean highlighted my undergraduate GPA and the GPA for my first masters. She asked why I thought there was a discrepancy in the two numbers. “Oh, that’s easy. My parents paid for my undergraduate degree; I paid for my masters.”

Beetle has heard me speak of avoiding debt. Because she did not heed my guidance to go for a college she could afford, she is stretching her budget. She didn’t understand that the way the school presented the budget to her to get to a number she thought she could afford included a $5,000 annual loan.

Now she’s stressed about having loan payments after college.

Her first plan (have me pick up the tab) did not go so well. I said, “No.”

Her second plan was to have her parents split the $5,000. I said, “No.”

I had had thoughts of coming through with the money. But then the other side of my daughter presented itself. It was a reminder to me that she has never had to be responsible. Because of that, she has quit everything she has ever been involved in. Yeah, I am not tossing any more money into the pot at this point.

There is enough money for Beetle to go to college. She has done what she has always done: pushed the limits. She’s going to end up with debt, I suppose. Despite that, I think it will be good for her. Having firsthand experience with this I hope will provide the lesson early that carrying debt is a burden.

Given the way our country is being run, it is likely the government will excuse Beetle from the debt obligation. I am also open to helping out more in the future, but I want to see results first. Go to college. Earn good grades. Want to return for your sophomore year. Then we’ll talk. I already have lots of money invested in her education. Use that before I put more in.

And if I understand what Beetle is being told, it’s quite possible her mother will pick up the difference. But that is where the meltdown ensued.

She knows she has to rely on her mother and Beetle is not comfortable with that. “She doesn’t follow through” was one of the many things Beetle whined about. Yeah, I know.

Beetle absolutely pegged Gert. Beetle sees what I spent two decades experiencing. I am basically free of that these days, but Beetle (and Fritz) are in the throes of it at this point. It’s frustrating for them and it’s frustrating for me to witness.

I counseled Beetle, as she is on the precipice of adulthood, that she is responsible for herself. If you are reliant on another, then you are at the mercy of their flaws. I reminded Beetle that with a driver’s license Beetle would have more freedom than what she perceives to have. With a college degree, she can do as she pleases.

In all this, I received a most welcomed compliment. Beetle asked about getting an apartment and how it works. She said it must have cost a lot of money. Then she whined about the stuff at the house. She said she wants things to match and look nice like my apartment. 🙂 Yeah, I did that!

I then walked Beetle through how almost everything she sees at my place was purchased since the divorce. I took little from the house. Most of what I took has been replaced. I control what my living situation looks like. I make it clean, organized, and matching. I am beholden to no one. Likewise, her mother does the same. And when Beetle pays for her own roof, she will be able to determine what her living space looks like.

Welcome to adulthood, little one. You’re learning isn’t over . . . it’s just beginning.

Educational & Political Cluelessness

Dear reader, do not believe what the gasbags say.

Last week tragedy struck Uvalde, Texas as 19 students and two teachers were gunned down. Since then, everyone and their mother has offered their opinion. Another call for gun control has captured the nation’s attention. Just today, actor Matthew McConaughey spoke at the White House regarding “responsible” gun reform.

But they all are merely posers.

If there was indeed concern and a desire to prevent school shootings, then what happened today in my town (and I suspect in many) would not have occurred.

Since Uvalde, we have been instructed not to prop open doors. We have been instructed regarding that for years, but another push was made a few days ago.

Then today, upon entering our school, we saw that doors were unlocked, voting machines prominently displayed in the lobby, and the public just waltzing in as it pleased to vote in the taxpayer-mandated primary elections for private organizations.

If we are concerned about the children, this would not have happened.

Lip service is all any of this is. Public education is riddled with disregard for what is publicly proclaimed. Student safety is no more the focus than academics are.

Electing candidates for an election trumped student safety today. Don’t let those same politicians tell you they care about the children.

Earthquakes

22-06-06 Earthquakes

We have been studying earthquakes. Students were then challenged to create a two-story structure that could withstand an earthquake. The structures were made out of marshmallows and toothpicks. The ground was several boxes of Jello.

Fun activity.

Field Day

This annual event always amuses me. Some teachers take off every year . . . others complain. It’s too hot. Too long. Not enough of this. Not enough of that.

I’m known as the strict teacher. No nonsense. But every year my students have a fabulous time on field day. Love it!

I made certain each was drenched with the hose. 🙂

The event ran beautifully. My students were well-behaved. Everyone laughed, smiled, played, and had a great time!

Am I pooped? Yup. So are my students. Lovely day!

Priority

Mother of student phoned the school to inform school that the child would be absent today due to a dentist appointment. Parent was informed that that should not take all day and the child could return for half a day. Nope!

As I walked down the hallway to clock out, I heard music from the cafeteria. I realized the play was being rehearsed. I sat down to listen for a few minutes.

Guess who attended play rehearsal?

The priority is not academics.

Dot . . . Dot . . . Dot . . .

Spring is here! The birds are chirping loudly early this March morning. It puts a smile on my face . . . I’ve worn black eyeglasses for the last two years. I picked up my new silver glasses the other day. My children have not noticed . . . 379 work e-mails since I last checked (I am on leave due to knee surgery). Only two did I need to do anything with. It is apparent some parents are unaware their child has had a different teacher the last three months . . . I am up to August 2011 in the rebuild of this blog. Tagging of photographs became markedly better at this point. The children are tagged properly now, which is making dealing with the photographs easier to deal with. There are still too many of them . . . Love that my son texted me tonight and asked if I wanted to see Doctor Strange 2. Had a grand time . . . Need to adjust my attitude. Work issues are completely out of my control. There’s no way for me to even influence things let alone enact change. Because of that, chill. At this point it is what it is. Go with the flow for the next three years . . . I lead a very quiet life . . . I could write an entire book about the parking antics at my apartment complex . . . It took moe than two months from start to finish for this post . . .

Reading Change

For years I have taught my students that the writer’s job is to elicit emotion from the reader. The reader’s job is to embrace that emotion.

I have been so committed to this mantra that I created a poster that hangs in my classroom for students to refer to.

Education has fundamentally changed. It had been progressing toward this, but without hesitation COVID jumpstarted it. Students are different than ever before. I know I sound like the old veteran teacher bemoaning the good ol’ days.

There has been a change. The disconnection between students and school is palpable. Shared culture is gone. Longing for learning is nonexistant for most.

This year I communicate that what reading is communicating that you understood what the author was writing to you.

That is a far cry from embracing the author’s emotion. Richness of words are no longer sought. This very much appears to be a lost generation.

Beyond My Comprehension

During my career, there have been many sad situations I have had to deal with. Students who are abused, the murder of a student’s father, homelessness, substance abuse, etc. have all sat in my classroom. It all is sad.

This year there is a student who has been homeless. Homeless means different things. It’s not always sleeping on the street. Most of the time it’s not having a permanent address. When an agency supplies the home, the family is still considered homeless.

Yet, this family is homeless. Not on the street. Nope. The family is living in a tent in the woods. They wash their clothes in lake. It is beyond the pale. There’s a lot more to this, obviously.

It’s easy to dismiss as are all homelessness save the fact that I see the child most days. Not all days. Some days the child doesn’t attend. The child is bright, but the lack of regular attendance has taken its toll.

Not much shakes me, but this has. I am paralyzed with what to do. The reality is that there is nothing much I can do . . . nor anyone else.