Saturday, December 10, 2011

political gobbleygook...

In light of all the things that are going on in Iowa today with the GOP and the press descending into my neighborhood coffee shop and the fact that I spent an hour listening to the governor this morning, I decided I needed to blog...something more thought provoking than the past two blogs which was pretty much a complaining session.

So this morning I went down to listen to the governor and Deputy governor at a townhall meeting to discuss the governor's new Blueprint to "fix" education in the state of Iowa. The first 15 minutes was spent listening to introductions, some words from both the governor and our deputy and then came the "feel good" video. Branstad spoke about the Educational Summit this summer, his job in his first term, his job as president of DMU, and how his daughter was a teacher and how he knew exactly where teachers were coming from...then questions were asked from the public.

All the while I listened to this, I wanted to hear something that would make me feel alright...something that would make me think, "maybe this isn't so bad". I found one....the blueprint will do one thing that is a really great idea. It will give education majors more hands-on time in classrooms. It will give them time with a master teacher to really see what it's like to teach and the type of students they will be teaching. I love this idea. I'm totally on board. I think this will truly weed out those people that maybe just shouldn't go into the profession. I'm hoping that it won't discourage those that are...but I believe it will make these people better teachers.

The rest of the it....ugh. Other countries were spoken about and how they are doing much better than we are...I wonder if people understand that students in many of these countries are tracked. Students take a test as they get older to figure out if they should even go into university or not. We don't do that here...I mean formally. We don't walk up and crush the idea of college to anyone - but educators do understand that everyone isn't headed to higher education.

When questioned about what the blueprint will do for URBAN families...his response was that there were programs...United Way, in fact, that were in place. Yeah, United Way is fact I give part of my check to continue these services...but it's there for people that actually use them. Many families don't....again, what do we do about these families? Most of what he's proposing sounds really good....but not for urban families.

I was not surprised to hear that he had planned several of these townhall meetings....but NOT in Des Moines. He had to be almost petitioned to have one in our state capitol with those teachers who understand that this blueprint doesn't fully help the neediest of our state's students. In fact today when families were brought up...his response was that they were meeting with parents....IN WAUKEE. What does that for our low income families...? They're NOT in Waukee!!!

Another thought, is in reference to what I wanted to do...which was to invite our governor and deputy and anyone else to come into my room...especially was offered by someone in the crowd. The response...we've been in classrooms... For me...I mean go into an urban classroom and not one in the suburbs. Go to schools that are struggling...with behavior, test scores, and have populations that we're talking about. Go to talk with urban families and find out what low economics means for them...because I'll bet you it means something COMPLETELY different to them than a rural or suburban community.

Finally - it was requested that teachers need to start being respected. Real respect. If we're talking about other countries, if you say that you're a teacher, you garner respect. The teacher asked for this blueprint, in public, by the governor, by the Legislators....just in general. I agree. I'm not sure when educators became the dumping ground for the problems of education, but I'm done with that. Education should be everyone's responsibility, not just those that are associated with the field.

As 2012 rolls around and we are inundated with the political junk, I'll be interested how they refer to those in education field and education in general. I hope, in the end, I'll have someone to put my vote towards because I'm not very hopeful right now....

Friday, December 9, 2011

more complaining...

Ok...I can't help it. This has been a really crappy week. It's like the planets were just at the right alignment for things to be bad.

Most of this year I have been arguing with kids about everything. Directions, the rules, homework, their behavior....etc. I have never felt so worn out when it comes to the end of the day or sometimes week. Today was just another day of arguing with middle school kids that they come back into the building once they leave. I haven't been sworn at more than this year or been so disrespected. I've been called names and had the f-bomb used in reference to me. I have been working with my adminstrator to fix the behavior, but we can only do so much. You can only write so many referrals, talk to them individually, talk to them with other adults, etc. before you are mentally and physically done.

Again, I don't say anything on here that I haven't spoken to my adminstrator about. We've had conversations....many! We've agreed to disagree, but it's not getting better. It's still the same thing. This is again, the opportunity where I want to invite our legislatures and our governor into our middle school buildings....I want them to answer questions like, "how do we maintain high test scores when we have to deal with behavior instead of teaching"?

This weekend we have a "townhall meeting" on Saturday. Our governor will be there....I may issue a challenge to him. I want him to turn it down because he's too busy. I want him to dare to do that.

This brings me to my second complaining thing.....TESTING! Today we completed a post assessment to see if the students got anything we did the last 7 weeks. I'm so frustrated. Honestly, I'm starting to wonder if I should be in this profession. Whatever I did the last 7 weeks....our scores don't reflect any of it. Our team worked on certain skills...did mid-testing to check skills...did rotations with all 4 of us teaching a different skill....did exit slips....did spot checking............and I still feel like they didn't get it! What are we doing wrong?! I'm starting to despair that we will never get our students to understand what we're asking them...that they will never understand what we trying to put into their brains....

I'm just so tired this year. I don't know what more I can do. I felt like we were so on...the kids seemed to like how we were delivering the material...we were all on the same page and positively working with each other and the kids.......and now I feel so defeated. What more can I do?


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Alright...I've tried to make this blog as positive as talk about things that make me more sad and not mad about my job. Today is not one of those was a day that was made for complaining.

First of all - I don't like interruptions. I don't mean the occassional phone call or teacher that has an important question - but the things that I think we could totally do some other time. Today it was Vision Screening. We took the whole of the 7th grade class into a room and did their vision testing. It would've been ok had we not already decided to adjust our schedule by doing "pull outs" for a skills check. It took 2 full blocks to get this all done.

Secondly - I'm flexible, but not that flexible....and yes, I do mean that. Today it was like a bunch of things collided to make the day unfortunate. Unfortunately, my collab teacher was sick. We really missed her today. She's great! Unfortunately, our behavior interventionist was gone....which was bad because he had no sub! Next, we had Vision Screening and plus we were already planning on pulling was just one thing after another.

Finally - and I will write more on this....I really HATE the disrespect in the hallways. Middle School kids who use profanity towards me and towards others. I believe we have let this generation get away with this FAR too much...especially in our building. Don't get me wrong. I have voiced this opinion of mine to my adminstrators so I don't feel bad about putting this out there. In fact, I've had MANY discussions with them this year.

Today was a day....and definitely not a great one. I will now be going home to enjoy some alone time with a beverage of my choice....