Saturday, May 31, 2008


I love Skillet. For those of you who don't know who the heck I'm talking about I added this clip (I hope ) from You Tube. This band plain rocks and rocks hard. The difference between them and your average rock band is the fact that their message is the opposite of what you expect. They are a Christian band and their faith seeps in to their music. Their lyrics are not overtly Christian but once you pay attention you can see how deep their faith runs. So if you like your music loud and your lyrics deep...


But don't say I didn't warn you!

End of the line...

Well, the time for teaching is done. Next week it's three days of finals and then I bid the school year a fond farewell. I really enjoyed this assignment and I will miss the school, the staff and even 6th period. Friday was an eventful day for the kids because of a couple of events that happened that day.

The first thing was the 8th grade dance. Now not just any 8th grader could go, you had to be graduating and you could not have gotten into serious trouble in the last few weeks. Needless to say, there were some excited and disappointed 8th graders that 6th period when the tickets were handed out. This was followed by the second event of the day. An 8th grade assembly during 6th period. The students got to see some of their fellow 8th graders perform (they did quite well) and a video presentation was put together including lots of photos and some messages from the teachers. Yours truly was asked to give a short message and I had totally forgotten about it until the video started and I saw some of the other teachers give their speeches. I didn't think that I would get much of a reaction because I am pretty hard on my kids and don't let them goof off etc.

Imagine my shock when the gym erupted the second I appeared on the screen. I'm embarrassed to admit that I got the second loudest cheer of all the teachers who appeared in the video. Only one of the science teachers got a better reception, and boy does she deserve it. She is an awesome teacher who tutors the kids after school and just loves what she does. She was thinking about leaving the school this year but the principal talked her out of it, and the cheer she received enforced the fact that she is an incredible teacher who is right where she belongs.

Speaking of belonging, I found out this morning while shopping at Target that I got the internship at the Agassi school. I am very excited about the prospect of teaching my chosen subject for an entire year at the same school. When I decided to teach, I really wanted to teach at risk kids, and these kids really qualify for at risk. That school is in the worst part of Las Vegas. I already have a couple of projects in mind for them and I'm hoping to have my brother in law come in and talk to my students about working in Radio and what it takes to get into the business. (He's a reporter for KGO radio in San Francisco) Of course he does not know this... yet! But I'm hoping that he would be willing to come down, if for no other reason than to see his niece and nephew.

Three days and then school's out for the summer. Except for the kids who have to take summer school... heh!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Home Stretch

It's down to just a few days and then school is out for the summer. I am of two minds about this fact. On one hand I'm thrilled that I have some time away from students and their assorted challenges. On the other hand it means I have to get a real job because subs only get paid when they work. Of course it also means that I can concentrate on my American Lit I class that I'm taking right now. But it also means that barring some summer substituting gigs I won't be able to teach until the fall. On the other hand it means I'll have time to draw again.

I guess I'm a bit conflicted on the end of the school year thing.

Now playing: Let It Out - ZOEgirl
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 23, 2008

Good news for a change

No, 6th period didn't change their ways, it's too late for that, but we can always hope can't we? The good news is about a student of mine who trusted me enough to talk to me and then follow through with my advice.

JS came to me Tuesday after school with tears in her eyes and the look on her face that said "HELP ME" louder than any words could. After getting her calmed down I was able to pull (as in pulling teeth) out what was behind those tears. It turns out that on top of the usual 8th grade drama, she was failing her geography class and her teacher was on her case about it and to boot she had to do a report on a specific country that she had not started yet that was due Friday. To say she was overwhelmed was a bit of an understatement. So I asked her to give me her assignment packet so I could look at it to maybe give her a bit of direction. Once I had an idea of what the teacher was looking for I asked her if she had a computer or internet access, which she didn't. (This school is not in a good part of town so I was not too surprised)

So I went to the CIA world fact book website and printed out the information for her to use so she could finish her big project. In addition, I let her come during my prep period to work on this project on Wednesday and Thursday because they were just watching movies in her choir class. And I told the Special Education Coordinator what was going on (she has an IEP) and she allowed JS to come see her 3rd period today so she could finish her project before 6th period.

She bounced into my classroom this afternoon to tell me that not only did she get a 79% on her project, but that she would now pass her geography class.

And THAT is why I became a teacher.

Now playing: A Little More - Skillet
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Talking during a quiz

I knew it was bound to happen at some point. And I would have bet money that it would be 6th period who did it. And I would have won that bet too. Yesterday after warning my favorite period numerous times to be quiet, they walked into a quiz today and it was not an easy one either. And even though I told the class (numerous times) that if you talk you're gone, two young ladies decided that the rule did not apply to them. Imagine their surprise when I tossed them both. I was going to just toss the one I caught talking when the other one said it was her fault, so she got tossed too. Then this same lady came back two minutes later saying she got tossed from the room I sent her too, so I then sent her to the dean's office (for the second time in three days!) where she got three days of in-house suspension. The other girl got detention and a zero on her quiz for her talking. I'll be willing to bet they get at least one more quiz next week because they are incapable of staying quiet and on-task.

Now playing: Bittersweet - Plumb
via FoxyTunes


That is the form that students have their fates decided. The 8th grade students who are either not passing or in danger of not passing have to get them filled out to see what they will be doing next year.

1. They'll be in 9th grade next year with their classmates.
2. They'll be in summer school making up the classes they failed, then going on to 9th grade.
3. They'll get to enjoy middle school for a 4th or 5th year. Yes, I did say 5th year.

I would say that 1/3 of my students had this form for me to fill out and I am happy to say that the majority (80%+) passed at least one of the two quarters and assuming they pass English will be 9th graders next year. The rest will either be taking summer school or repeating 8th grade. I took no pleasure in failing students but they didn't do enough work to pass. I took plenty of pleasure with the kids who had a 45% last quarter and a 77% this quarter. Think about that, their math grade improved 32% simply because they started turning in work.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My favorite class...

Sigh, I love 6th period. Well if I tell myself that enough maybe I'll believe it. They still don't want to stay quiet, but at least I know who has the flipping laser pointer. That will be taken care of tomorrow morning. I've been trying to find out who has that since I got to the school. Today I got my confirmation about who has it and tomorrow I have the deans take care of it since they may have to search her for it and only they can search students for contraband in the district. Tomorrow is removal day since nobody wanted to stay quiet and just work. It's too bad since some of them will probably be coming back for another year at middle school but if they don't want to do the work then they deserve to get held back...

Now playing: If We Are The Body - Casting Crowns
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reaching my limit

I think I am reaching my limit with some of my students. I am starting to snap at them when they don't deserve it and even when they do I've been blowing out of proportion. I can see why teachers look forward to summer so much. You invest so much of yourself in them and in getting them ready for the next grade that it takes a total toll on you. And I'm not just talking a physical toll, it takes an emotional and spiritual toll as well, and it takes time to restore your mind body and soul for the next school year.

That being said, I did do the right thing today by removing a student from my class who decided that he needed to be the center of attention, again. You know the type if you're a teacher or around kids. He makes a production out of EVERYTHING! It takes 15 seconds to get a pencil, getting paper out of his binder is at least 90 seconds and there is a soundtrack for everything just to make sure all eyes are on him. Now I've talked to him more than once about this, in fact I reminded him of the conversation from Monday which he says we never had. Needless to say he was very shocked when I sent him next door for the last 40 minutes of the period and everyone else got the hint and we actually got to have a real class today. Tomorrow if he repeats this behavior he's off to the dean.

In addition I am prepping like crazy for the final I have not written yet, and needs to be approved by the administration. And the district decided that finals need to cover 3 days and not two days. In a way it makes sense because May 30 is locker clean out day and they are not allowed backpacks or any sort of large bag the last three days of class. Should be interesting!

Now playing: Deep Forest - Schon, Neal
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thanks for nothing

I would like to thank the democratic party for the following things...

First I'd like to thank them for gas that costs $3.67/gallon and 551/2¢ of that is taxes. I'd like to thank them for not allowing us to expand our oil production and refining capacities for the last 25 years. I'd also like to thank them for dashing my dreams of buying a Chrysler 300, because I can't afford the gas for it. Instead I'll end up buying some car that sips gas and defines gutless.

I'd like to thank them for stabbing Vietnam in the back and for consistently trying to do the same thing to the Iraqi people since 2003. I'd like to thank them for offering up such lousy candidates for president that I could vote for the GOP without even researching the candidates. I'd like to thank them for destroying everything good in their party since the 1960's.

I'd like to thank them for destroying our public schools, the nuclear family and their continual efforts to destroy the Christian faith. I'd like to thank them for their continual support of our enemies, illegal immigrants, and for taking the side of the criminals and not law enforcement.

Thanks for everything and thanks for nothing. Is it any wonder I'll be voting for McCain this year?

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Something that 8th graders have down cold. I had a student of mine who didn't like the score that he got on an assignment. Now that's great that he cared enough to look at his grade and realize that something was wrong, I like it when students care. The way he decided to handle it was totally out of line. Instead of waiting until I would have the students work on their assignments during the last part of the class, he decides that this absolutely cannot wait and he interrupts me while I am trying to explain a new concept to the class. I explained to him that now was not the right time and that I would look at his assignment later during the class and told him quite firmly to sit down, which he did but not in his assigned seat. I then restart the lecture and not 60 seconds go by when he gets up, goes all the way around the back of the room to my desk where he then starts talking to my aide about this same assignment.

You can guess my reaction. I stopped the entire class and read him the riot act, I told him how rude and disrespectful he was by demanding that his problem be taken care of now. That his actions were disrespectful both to me and to everyone else in class, and that if he ever pulled a stunt like that again, I'd send him to the dean's office so fast his head would spin. I then told him to sit in his seat and not get out of it until the bell rang.

Well he was OK for the rest of the class, and yesterday I pulled him aside and explained in detail why I was so upset with his behaivor and told him when I started grading papers his would be first in line, which it was. He was better today except for the fact he did not want to sit in his assigned seat, I had to tell him three times to sit where I placed him. If he does that today I will give him two days of detention to make my point.

We'll see, I think he'll get the point, he's a smart kid who would get all A's if he would stay quiet.

Now playing: Big Moon - Schon, Neal
via FoxyTunes

Monday, May 05, 2008

Over! Kinda...

My spring semester at Nevada State College ended today. I think I got an A, a B and a C, but I'm not sure. I'll find out on Wednesday since my adviser is also my professor. I've taken two classes with him and he's a good professor. That meeting also determines if I can do that internship I applied for. If I can take a class and do my student teaching at the same time, I'm all set. Otherwise I'm screwed. Simple as that.

It's kinda odd not having homework to do, although I am WAY behind on my grading for my math class. I was running late to my portfolio presentation and forgot to pick up some work to take home. Oh well, I'll do it tomorrow instead. It'll give me something to do instead of homework and I'll finish putting up the posters from a couple of weeks ago. I have about half of them up, but I still have a pile to do and a few really nice ones that I'll put in the hallway.

We'll see how the week goes...

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I've been tagged by the famous HappyChyck...

Here are the rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was working for a t-shirt company as the graphic designer. I would set up the designs for screen printing and embroidery. My daughter was not yet 2 at the time.

2) What are five things on your to-do list for today?
I need to get my son down for a nap
I need to change my eye appointment for tomorrow
I need to work on my final project
I need to cook dinner for my son and I (pizz-ah!)
You'll have to live with 4 things...

3) What snacks do I enjoy?
100000 bars
string cheese

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire
Buy my grandfather's camp in Upper Michigan
Finish school
Get a Chrysler 300 & a '68 VW Bus
Help out my family & church
Invest a bunch of it

5) Three Bad Habits
Too much sarcasm
I'm a slob

6) 5 places I have lived...
Just 5?
Boulder, Colorado
Saratoga, California
Chico, California
Fremont, CA
Las Vegas, NV (current)

7) 5 Jobs I have had
Just 5?
Graphic Artist
Lighting Technician
Account Associate for T-Shirt wholesaler
Account Associate for Xerox
Substitute Teacher (current)

7) Six suckers, er people I want to know more about...
Karlana, a great friend and twice the teacher I'll ever be...
Megan my niece who I still love even though she went to USC.
The Educated Shoprat, who has a great blog covering a wide range of topics.
Thomas, who runs the Thomas Chronicles, a great blog that makes you think.
The Pondering Penguin, who knew penguins were capable of such deep thought?
The CA Teacher Guy, the jewel school will be the poorer for his absence.

Friday, May 02, 2008

That was fast!

Just one more project to do and my semester at Nevada State is finished. In fact the semester ends on May 7th if you can believe that. The nice thing is that after Monday I can concentrate on teaching until at least Memorial Day when the person I am filling in for is supposed to come back. But she may not because her baby (and boy is he CUTE) is having some health issues. Either way for a few weeks I simply get to teach.

Speaking of teaching I'm trying for a paid internship at the Andre Agassi (yes him) school. Andre built this private school in the heart of North Las Vegas to give kids in the poorest part of town a shot at a good education. They got a grant to give teaching students a paid ($18000) internship which includes paying for student teaching. Now just because I dropped off my application does not mean much because there is one class (literary theory) I need to take that I can't get until the Spring of 2009, which is supposed to be the semester I student teach. The issue is that the rule at Nevada State says that you can only take student teaching, and no other classes. Now I did try to see if UNLV has the class I need but they have it at times I can't take it, (middle of day) and the head of the English Department says no independent studies will be available at all. So my Wednesday meeting with my advisor will be very interesting to say the least.

Finally, I do have one good story to tell about my week. I was Dr. Detention for the 8th graders on Wednesday and I decided that they could use some culture. So I found my daughter's soundtrack to the musical 'Cats' and brought that to school with me. When the students arrived for their time with me I popped the CD in and turned it up. I wish WISH I had a camera to record their reactions. First it was confusion because it didn't register in their minds what they were hearing. Then it was a dawning realization that I had put on show tunes. Then a combination of misery and disgust as they were forced to stare at the white board for thirty minutes and listen to the music. After thirty minutes I told them they better start doing their homework, and no I didn't turn the music off, in fact I turned it up a bit, just to get the point across. The high point was when disc 1 ended and the music stopped, the students breathed an audible sigh of relief that the torture was over... Then I popped in disc 2, yes it's a 2 disc set. Talk about crushing their spirits, it was truly a thing of feline beauty.