The English Teacher

Things I wish I can say-a new series
January 10, 2008, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Daily Life

Stop fucking micromanaging your kid!  That’s probably the reason why she keeps skipping class and lying about it!

National Board Certification
November 17, 2007, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Future

Ever since I became a teacher, I’ve been thinking about what I could do in order to advance my career.  I know this makes me sound like I care more about my job than the students, but I think ambition is an admirable trait, as long as it is within reason.  Sometimes I think about getting an adminstrative certificate, but I’m not sure if I want to leave the classroom, as stressful as that can be.  However, I am pretty certain that I want to try and become National Board Certified.  In a way, this decision is rather selfish.  Once I get the certification, I will receive a significant pay raise.  However, I also want to push myself as an educator and see if I am good enough to pass the rigorous and selective process. 

Quarter 1
November 13, 2007, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Daily Life

Do you know how you can tell the grading period is about to end?  Look at your calendar and tally up all the parent meetings you have.  It increases exponentially towards the end.  I’ve had a couple of meetings last week and a couple more this week.  Plus, I’ve received several emails requesting meetings, but those will have to wait until the beginning of the next quarter because I’m already booked this week.  I understand that parents are concerned about their children’s welfare, but these are just grades.  It doesn’t matter if the child is getting a C the first quarter.  If he still continues to get C’s every quarter after that, then I’d be more concerned.  But considering that I have freshmen who are still trying to get used to high school, I don’t think a C is something to be overly concerned about.  On the other side, I was a pretty neurotic student who always sought the A’s so I really have no right to say anything like that.  I guess I’m just getting tired of dealing with micromanaging parents.

The end of the rope
October 12, 2007, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Daily Life, Reflection

I often wondered what that phrase meant.  Even though I’m still not clear about the etymology of the phrase, I’m inclined to believe that at the end of the rope, is a noose. 

It’s only October, but I’m already tired.  I don’t mean physically tired, though staying up late to grade papers hasn’t really helped, but I’ve been feeling emotionally and spiritually tired lately. 

This year has definitely been pretty disappointing.  I thought that things would get better since I was moving from a school in a lower SES area to a school in a higher SES area.  It’s not an understatement to say that that was a stupid assumption. 

Last year was not easy for me.  It had its share of trials, but I think I had some freedoms, as well.  This year, I feel so trapped.  I have classes of entitled kids who obviously have never heard the word, “No,” and who feel the need to argue about everything.  I’m seriously inclined to let them fail their classes.  The unfortunate consequence that I would have to face is the onslaught of phone calls and emails from parents demanding to know how it is possible their precious children could fail.  In my ideal world, I would be able to tell them that their kids are stupid assholes who should be put out to work because there’s no chance in hell they would get into college.   I would also tell the parents to grow up and start acting like parents.  They need to stop letting their kids get away with stupid shit.  They need to teach their kids to respect authority, not fight it.

If it was only the kids, then that would be an infinitesimally understandable issue.  However, I’ve been having difficulties with an adult classroom aide and now, I’m having some issues with a co-teacher.  I think my problems with the former actually stems from the fact that he was an ignorant jackass–I’m actually being kind.  My issues with my co-teacher, though, arises from the fact that I feel as if I’m doing all of the work for the class.  Even though I’m the lead teacher, it was my understanding that the duties were suppposed to be shared between the two of us.  And yet, I am the one who is doing all of the lesson planning, teaching, grading, and creating of quizzes and tests.  When I ask her to help me out, she almost looks affronted.  I understand that she is very busy with her students and with her family, but do your damn job already. 

I need a break; otherwise, I’m going to be the one to break up.

Just breathe
October 4, 2007, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Daily Life

Before the beginning of geat brilliance, there must be chaos.

I Ching

September 24, 2007, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Daily Life, Damn it!, Future

I got an email today informing me that an aide in one of my classes requested to be removed because he felt “uncomfortable” working with me.  That was indeed a surprise to me; however, I shouldn’t have been so shocked since it was pretty inevitable.  I have been having trouble with this aide since he showed up to class.  Basically, he didn’t really do anything and when he did, he either gave students the wrong answers or got them in trouble.  Even worse, he would lie about what he did and try to cover it up by saying that it was all a part of his “method.”

Frankly, I thought we were working better since the meeting we had last week.  We actually met with an adminstrator as an objective mediator and I believed that we had worked out our problems.  Apparently, I was mistaken.  I believe that the aide became offended when I asked him to stop giving answers to the students.  For some reason, he became incredibly offended by that and stormed off.  It’s all very ridiculous, really.  However, I stand by my request.  I normally don’t give my students the answers to problems.  Instead, I teach them how they can get to the answers on their own.  It’s like the story about the man and the fish:  You give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  You teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.  What really annoyed me about the aide is that there are two distinct instances when he gave students the wrong answers.  One time I tried to cover up for him because I didn’t want him to look foolish in front of the students.  The second time, he felt the need to tell a student that she had chosen the wrong answer on a QUIZ.  As a student with specific accomodations, this is a student who isn’t particularly confident in her abilities so she, understandably, became flustered.  She changed her answers and ended up getting two wrong (the second one was connected to the first one so if the first one was wrong, then the second one was, as well).  When she got the quiz back, she was a bit upset because she had been right the first time but she changed it because of what he had said.  I looked over her quiz and it was apparent that she was telling the truth.  First of all, I don’t understand why he was walking around and telling the students what was wrong and what was right on a QUIZ.  Secondly, it was a simple vocabulary quiz.  An aide in an English class ought to have some basic knowledge of vocabulary.  If you don’t, you don’t go around telling students to change their answers.

The good thing about all of this is that I’m getting a new aide in the classroom and I’ve heard that the new one is quite good.  I do feel bad for whoever gets stuck with my old one.  However, I am worried about how this is going to reflect on me.  I know this is purely selfish, but I feel as if I’m gaining a pretty bad reputation as someone who has trouble with her students and colleagues.  While I do feel perfectly justified in this matter, what matters is how my supervisors perceive it.  I don’t want to be called in at the end of the year and told to look for another position for the following year.

September 15, 2007, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Daily Life, Reflection

I had a pretty demoralizing debriefing after being observed by my supervisor.  In short, I was asked if I enjoyed being a teacher or if I liked my students.  When I heard those questions, I was taken aback.  I didn’t think I hated the kids, but something in my demeanor must have made it seem like it.  Quite frankly, I was a bit upset.  When my supervisor observed me, I thought I was doing a pretty good job and that the lesson was rather entertaining.  However, I was told that I jumped from a really high-level of thought, to a very low-level activity.  Upon reflection, I can see that she is correct.  This doesn’t mean that I feel better about myself.  I’m not particularly upset about the fact that my lesson was criticized.  After all, I’m pretty new at teaching.  I am, however, rather agitated at the thought that I look as if I don’t want to be in my classroom with my students.  I won’t lie.  Even if I dislike the students, I can’t show it.  Despite everything, I need to be encouraging and kind.  But, and you knew there was a but, it’s SO HARD.  Even when I come in with good expectations, these students destroy them with their behavior.  I remember being told to always be positive or think optimistically, “This day, this class will do well,” but I’m not an optimist by nature.  It’s only September.  There’s no way I can survive the rest of the school year if I can’t think of some way to get around these kids.  Unfortunately, this is a team-taught class so there’s another teacher in the class with me.  While this is usually a pretty good thing, the other teacher (OT) has taken a strict disciplinarian (authoritarian, rather than authoritative) route with the kids.  Because of the kids’ horrible behavior at the very beginning of school, I initally didn’t mind, but now, I wonder if the OT isn’t being too persnickety about some of the things that are being punished.  Because we’re both teachers, I know the students can’t help but group us together as one unit, but I’m a bit worried that this is actually hindering us from building relationships with one another.  By relationships, I don’t mean friendships, but some sort of a connection which causes the students to want to succeed, if only for my sake and goodwill.  I must admit, this whole situation is very worrisome.