Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Things you definately need / new kid / snow!

While discussing wants and needs with my 5 and 6 year olds, one of my boys said, "We need movies, like the ones that have naked people in them..." Nice...

I also have another student coming tomorrow who has yet to be in school this year! It is the middle of November folks...what have you been doing all fall?

I have a little boy who moved here from Mexico last April and has yet to see snow. This morning it was snowing (not enough to stick, but never the less...snow) and he was so excited he threw up all over the classroom. Easy there buddy :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

From the Local Newspaper

After the school administration interviewed her, the eager teaching prospect said: "Let me see if I have this right…"You want me to go into that room with all those kids and fill them with a love for learning. I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their T-shirt messages and dress habits. You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check backpacks for weapons of mass destruction and raise their self-esteem."You want me to teach them patriotism, citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play and how to register to vote, balance checkbooks and apply for jobs. I'm to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, make sure all students, even those who don't attend school regularly or complete any assignments, pass mandatory exams. Plus, I'm to make sure that all students with handicaps get equal educations regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicaps."And I'm to communicate regularly with parents by letter, newsletter and report cards. All of this I'm to do with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a big smile and on a starting salary that's not as large as the public sector for the education I have. You want me to do all this and yet you expect me not to pray?"

16 kids...

So, as of Friday, I have 16 kids. One of my students, “Amanda” is CD and EBD, she has a one on one aid and is doing really well in my classroom. Her family moved across town a few weeks ago and we have been trying to figure out if she has to transfer or if she can just stay here. Well she knows that there is a chance that she will move, and she doesn’t like it. She is not behaving like I know she can (because her world is upside down) and so now after weeks of back and forth, we find out that Friday is her last day. I don’t like that but there is nothing I can do. On another note, Social Servies and the police we at my school yesterday talking to on of my former students “Sam”. Apparently, his is being abused by someone in his family. The word is mom. When I talked to him today, he told me that he was sad because he wasn’t allowed to see his dad anymore. This is the second of my children from last year who are being abused. The other one “Jack” was apparently beign molested by his father! AHHHHH! How much of this can one person take. I also talked to the school social worker today about “Joe” and apparently, since he is such a wonderful child, and his home life isn’t affecting his school work etc, social services won’t do anything. So I guess we are just waiting for a perfectly good child to fall apart before we can deal with his “spoon burning” mom!

By the way...

I want to make it clear that I love my job, and I love my students. I wouldn’t trade it, or them for anything. But, how much can one person take before you start to question if what you are doing can make a difference? NCLB scores, tests, demeaning labels, and parents/grandparents who haven’t the faintest clue about how much you really do care for their child. My students are full of hugs, new ideas and excitement, but their homes are also filled with things that would make the average person cringe. One of my students, “Tabitha” obviously does not sleep, eat or bathe at home. She sleeps all day, is always the first one done with snack and lunch and is always asking for seconds, and she generally comes rolling into school looking like shes been run over by a truck. She is a sweet girl, but she has needs higher than the alphabet and counting. I just finished writing comments on her report card. Our district grades A (Advanced), P (Proficient), B (Basic) and M (Minimal). Her behavioral and social skills are all Bs and her academics are Ms. My comments should have said something like “please practice counting and letter/sound recognition” but instead they say, “Tabitha is tired a lot in school, often sleeping for hours at a time….” It is so hard in a society that is so worried about achievement and NCLB to teach in a school like this. I am more concerned about whether my students have a safe place to sleep and food in their bellies than how their scores are. And if your school isn’t up to par, it gets some horrible title like “School in Need of Improvement”. Have they ever thought that MAYBE, we spend each and every day working to improve the LIVES of our students, and that sometimes academics may take a backburner to basic needs? I have another students “Joe”, who is just a wonderful child, smart, kind, the whole 9 yards. But, if you knew what this child was going through at home, you would be amazed he could even put a smile on his face. Joe’s mother dropped he and his 2 little brother’s off with grandma 3 days before school started. She wanted to “get on with her life,” and apparently her kids were getting in the way. As Septmember roles on, mom comes back, pregnant again and is now living with grandma. Through numerous casual conversations with grandma, I find out that Joe has some warts on his rear end that have caused an investigation by Social Services. YIKES! And grandma is worried that Joe’s mom is going to take he and his brothers away because grandma told mom to clean up the “dog s*$@” in the kids bedroom and stop “burning things on spoons.” How this little boy is so positive, sweet and happy is beyond me. Joe, however, hasn’t been in school in 2 days. Well tomorrow is Monday. I love my job, I am just so afraid for my kids.


I am now 2 months into my second year of teaching in an urban school. My school has a very high poverty rate (90%) and a very high minority rate (90%). More than half of my students speak Spanish and a few have only lived in the US for a few months. The trials this year have been harder than last year…and everyone told me that it couldn’t get any worse. I have a class of 17 currently. That is great since I can go up to 25. I have lost a child because his parents thought he had “behavior problems” (which he didn’t) and another child because his grandmother thought I was racist. Is it my fault that her grandson threatened to cut someone with his scissors one day and slapped a girl in the face the next? I think not. I had another child leave a month and a half into school because he wanted to kill me and burn down the school. And that comment was placed among days of throwing chairs, yelling and kicking, hitting, biting and pinching me. He is now in a school setting that will help him learn to deal with his anger. I have a child who talks about putting “caps” in people and tells them to “get out of the way b!$*&!” Have I mentioned I teach Kindergarten?