the weight of term papers on my shoulders...

Right now I'm blogging instead of grading, and I don't feel guilty...because, for once, all my grading is finished...done...gone...finito. And I feel like the weight of the world is lifted of my little anonymous shoulders because I'm not one of those teachers who can "aim at the next class period to give back exams and two weeks for feedback on papers" (Dr. Kirk). Let me take that back, I can aim all I want, but it's virtually pointless and simply makes me feel guilty when I don't.

Recently on Are We Doing Anything Today? there was a post about being inundated with grading. Now, I said earlier that I'm able to type guilt-free because I don't have any grading; however, that's only because I spent four hours yesterday finishing essays I'd had for nearly a month.

I really do try to get it back in a "timely fashion," but then I get caught up in planning and life...and grading falls to the wayside, despite the fact that I think feedback is one of the most important parts of the writing process, but teachers are people, not grading machines as some people seem to think.

Next semester will begin, I'll be on top of my grading for about a month....then all of a sudden, I'll look back, and my collection trays (what my students call the trays where I keep their homework) will be spilling over with essays...and I'll walk into class every day to a chorus of, "You don't have them graded yet?! Are we ever going to get them back?"

Creative Juices Flowing

I gave my freshmen a writing assignment to test how well they'd picked up on the elements that made up an epic. I knew they could recite the characteristics of an epic to me, but I wanted them to show me that they'd learned what makes an epic by writing one of their own. While I'd hoped they'd do well on this assignment, they've demonstrated their lack of writing abilities before, so I was nervous.

But what I got back was excellent.

The kids not only followed the guidelines of the assignment, demonstrating they understand the concept of what makes an epic, but they were also so creative. I'm in Panera right now grading, and I'm enjoying reading their assignments. They are riddled with grammatical errors, but they're so creative and entertaining, I've adjusted my rubric to make grammar less important.

Yay, freshmen!! Way to make my grading time fun!

Punish in public?

In one of my first education classes I took, my teacher shared this idea with us: "Praise in public, punish in private". I've always thought this is the way it should be, and as a teacher, I've really tried to follow that rule. I can't say I'm always successful, as it's difficult to not lose it occasionally; however, the other day, I actually broke this rule intentionally...and the more I think about it, the more I realize it may not have been the best choice.

Last week we had women from China who are studying to be teachers visit out school, and I had a group in one of my classes. During the lesson, one woman raised her hand and held out a sheet of paper. I walked over, and she showed me the paper and asked if it was a student's essay. I skimmed it over and realized it was a note.

I told her that, but she didn't quite understand and asked me if it was in French. This made me laugh because she was pointing at words like "ur" and "bc," then she points to "bitch." I just say that yes, it's a French essay and take it from her. I read a little further and notice that I'm the one who's a bitch because I won't let a student paint her nails in class or talk to her friend during speeches.

The note made me slightly annoyed, and I wanted to let the girls know that first off, the note was unacceptable, and second off, whispering in class is unacceptable. So, during lunch I told the story to the rest of my department and asked for their advice. One of the older teachers told me to call the girls out on it in class...do it in a somewhat joking way, but embarrass them so they won't do it again. I left lunch thinking this was a good idea.

So, the next day during the last two minutes of class, I sit down on one of the desks and tell my kids, "Guys, I have a really funny story for you..." Then I tell them about the Chinese teachers and the note, the entire time looking at the two young girls who wrote it. I end the story by saying, "First off, I don't know that it's bitchy to ask you to show some respect to your peers and not paint your nails or talk during speeches, and second off, if you're going to think that, don't make the dumb move of writing it down and leaving it on the floor for me to find."

By this time, the rest of the class was up in arms or laughing at the two girls. One of the girls was bright red, and the other looked as if she was about to cry. These girls don't fit the social norm, and I think I may've made it worse for them...so, now I've got a case of the guilty conscience, and I'm wondering if I did the right thing.

Thursday Thirteen #3

Thirteen Things I Hope to Do Before I Turn 30:

1. Summit Longs Peak.

2. Get my M.A.

3. Complete a triathalon.

4. Finish my foreign language certification.

5. Backpack across Europe.

6. Crochet a whole hat.

7. Watch the whole entire 24 hours of a 24 hour Christmas Story marathon. (I've almost made this one.)

8. Learn to manage my money better.

9. Move to Colorado.

10. Learn to bake my gram's chocolate chip cookies.

11. Buy a new car (hope to do this in the next several months).

12. Read Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina.

13. Build a dark room to develop my own photos.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



a very hateful, very cowardly comment.

The other day I received a comment that actually made me cry. I opened my email, read it, re-read it to make sure I'd read it correctly the first time, then I cried. Boyfriend head couldn't figure out what made me so upset. All I could do was point at the screen and cry when he asked me.

This is what had upset me so much: *Link to original post*

Concerned - said...

I'M AMAZED -- BUT MORE ASHAMED OF YOU TEACHERS. YOU SHOULD ALL QUIT TEACHING -- BECAUSE IT'S YOUR LOUSY BITCHING ATTITUDES THAT COME SHINING THROUGH TO OUR CHILDREN. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE PARENTS... IT'S THE TEACHERS -- MOST OF THEM DON'T HAVE THE PATIENCE OR KINDNESS NEEDED FOR CHILDREN... AND SHOULD PICK ANOTHER INDUSTRY. **EVERY TIME** A TEACHER BITCHES ABOUT STUDENTS AND PARENTS... SHOWS JUST WHAT KIND OF PERSON THEY REALLY ARE... GROW UP -- YOUR WORSE THAN THE CHILDREN AND THE PARENTS YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT.

I couldn't believe anyone could write something that hateful. Once I got over the initial shock, I was angry. I wanted to know who could be mean-spirited enough to say something like that. I went straight to my sitemeter. Obviously it couldn't tell me who this person was, but I do know that s/he found my blog by searching "bad teacher blog" on Google. But because of the anonimity of the internet, this is all I know.

I think if someone feels this strongly about something, the s/he would at least sign a name...leave an email address? Something to allow me to respond to his/her allegations. So, I'm doing it in the only way I can...Right here:

Dear Hateful, Cowardly Commentor,
  • I think just about everyone at some point or another complains about his/her job. Teachers are human, too. We have our bad days the same as anyone else, and I think we deserve to complain occasionally. Teenagers and their parents aren't the easiest to deal with sometimes. I apologize if this offends you, but my advice then is don't read my blog...or any others that may offend you.
  • I love my job. Yes, it is at times overwhelming, and the parent/teacher conferences I had were a nightmare...but I wouldn't give up my job for anything. I love working with my kids. My students tell me how much they appreciate my positive attitude and my smiles, so I'm pretty sure my "lousy bitching attitude" isn't shining through to anyone except for possibly the rude parents I was referring to in my blog post...and to be honest, with some of them, I hope it did...because their rude, disrespectful, condescending attitude came shining through to me.
  • If you think you have enough "patience and kindness" to be an effective teacher, then go ahead. We need more teachers who possess those qualities, and despite what you may think, those are two things we have in abundance in my classroom.
  • If you were referring to the other teachers who'd commented on that particular post, then shame on you for using my blog as a place to insult my visitors.
  • If you were attempting to make a point, it was lost on me. What I gathered from what you wrote is that you're a hateful person who has entirely too much time on your hands. If you'd like me to take your opinion seriously, then I suggest you be less insulting and actually attempt to say something...because all I see in that comment is nastiness, and why should anyone take someone so nasty seriously?
  • The next time you want to post a nasty comment on my blog, do two things for me, please: 1.) Grow some balls and leave some sort of identification (name, email, etc.)--pardon my crudeness. and 2.) When commenting on an English teacher's blog, at least attempt to show some sort of grasp of grammar and mechanics. As I tell my students, it's very difficult to take someone's opinion seriously when it's riddled with grammatical and syntactical errors.
Thanks,
AT

Thursday Thirteen #2

Thirteen random Anonymous Teacher facts...

  1. I love the color green. It is, in fact, my absolute favorite color.
  2. I love to cook...mainly because I love to eat, but with school and all that jazz, I don't have time to cook as often as I'd like.
  3. I love skirts and heels. I really feel under-dressed if I don't wear a skirt and heels to work.
  4. Riding in a car always makes me fall asleep...doesn't matter what time it is or how much sleep I've had.
  5. Spring is my favorite season, but I really like winter because I get to wear a hat, gloves and scarves. (In other words, I like cold-weather gear.)
  6. When my cat died, I cried like a member of my family had passed.
  7. I can't stand it when people read over my shoulder as I'm typing, reading, writing, etc. (And I include that one because boyfriend head is looking over my shoulder as I write this.)
  8. I enjoy crocheting, but I always start projects and never finish them.
  9. Panera for breakfast is my guilty pleasure (bacon and egg souffle and icy mocha)...Jesus Pete it has a boatload of calories, but I can't help myself.
  10. I can listen to Christmas music year round.
  11. My feet are ridiculously ticklish.
  12. I can't lie to save my life...my face turns all red, and I stutter.
  13. This is so gross and immature, but I'll share anyways...when I really want to annoy boyfriend head, I chew up food and show it to him.
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



SNOW DAY!!!!

When I was a child, I never would've thought that the teachers were watching the news and hoping for a snow day just like the students. The thought simply never crossed my mind. But there I was last night, ice pelting my window, wind blowing and howling, little old me cuddled in a blanket on my couch scanning the news for "Anonymous Teacher School" to scroll across the bottom while I was watching Grey's Anatomy (yes, my new addiction).
It didn't happen last night. In fact, I woke up at 4:45 this morning when my power went off. My apartment was cold and dark, so I figured I'd go workout (even though I'd planned on taking the morning off). I started to get my work out clothes together, then I decided to take a peek out my window...and my poor little car was no longer a car but a mound of snow with green spots.
At this point, it was around 5:00, it was colder...and still dark, and I hadn't heard anything about school...so, I did what any adult woman would do: I called my mommy.
I had obviously woken her up, but she wasn't too annoyed with me. She turned on the tv and waited patiently for a.) the phone number for the power company and b.) to see if my school was closed. Got the power company's number and found out about school closing from morning news, then the mother told me to call Boyfriend Head and see if he had power.
Boyfriend Head is not a morning person by any means. In fact, if he's coherent enough to mumble an answer to a question, I'm impressed...so, I wasn't even expecting him to answer his phone. The first time I got voicemail, but the second time, he called while I was leaving him a message. Apparently Puppybutt was barking at the phone and woke him up.
My hero not only had power, but also agreed to come pick me up at my apartment so I didn't have to dig my car out of its pile of snow. The roads were messy...not horrible. We saw several stupid people, driving like morons, as some people will do when it snows. But we made it home safely.
Played in the snow for a bit with puppybutt. He was hesitant at first, but he loves the stuff...even if it is cold. He really likes eating it when we track it in on our shoes.
I had hoped for the snow day so that I could get some extra work finished....but I can't say I've done a lot of anything. Right now I'm obviously playing in blogworld instead of doing the grading I should be working on. Oh, well. The work will get finished. It always does.

If only my students know that I was wishing for the snow day as much as they were...

p.s. My evaluation went very well!! The vice-principal even told me, "Your at-risk students are very fortunate to have a teacher with your enthusiasm and compassion." I like to think I'm a good teacher, but it's nice to hear someone else notice it once in a while.