Monday, November 16, 2009

Is it Christmas yet?

I would have thought that a school as closely monitored as Avondale would be extremely conscious of being politically correct. However, much to my surprise, the secretary sent out an email today asking teachers to donate any lightly used Christmas decorations to the school so that we can "bring Avondale into the Christmas spirit." That's right- CHRISTMAS, none of that generic "holiday" nonsense. I'm not going to tell on them. Especially not if they let me put Christmas lights on my cart.

I was observed this morning by the lady in charge of social studies for all DeKalb high schools. She took pictures of all sides of my cart. She also told me that my cart was ridiculous (but she said it in a bless-your-heart sort of way). She took a copy of the assignment I had given to the class and told me that she thought it was great and she could tell I was working really hard. Then she gave me a high five, looked at my cart again, shook her head, and said, "all this on a cart... and they gave you two different classes." I could be wrong, but I think she feels my pain... at least a little.

So, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I got to 3rd period. Per usual, the freshmen managed to dismantle all the pleasure that comes with any small victory from 1st period. I'm trying a new tactic for discipline with a few of them that the assistant principal recommended... but NO success so far. Meanwhile, they still think that Australia is a country in South America. (true story)

Quick update on the new co-teacher in 4th period World History: The kids hate him, and I believe the feeling is mutual. Their behavior and attitudes are actually worse now that they have a stricter teacher. He is so frustrated with their inability to remain silent for even a few seconds, that he told them they were like a "straight up special ed class." The sad thing is that he isn't exaggerating.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


A student in my first period asked me if I am pregnant. Way to start my day. (the answer is NO) I much prefer the "short" comments.

Monday, November 2, 2009


First, the good news: only 3 more weeks till Thanksgiving.

Last week I was observed by a classroom management consultant that was hired by DeKalb County to "assist" in low performing schools. Of course, this lady chose to observe my Freshman class in the 20 minutes that they have after lunch before the end of class. This is probably the worst 20 minutes of every day for me, but that's what she chose to observe. In my experience, when a teacher is being observed, the students are usually on their best behavior, whether it is to make themselves look good or to help out their teacher. Well, not my little darlings. They decided to go right on talking, walking around, eating, cursing, etc. I haven't heard the observer's official comments yet, but I'm sure I'll have to have some sort of training or action plan or something that sounds good but won't work.

Today, for reasons that have still not been revealed to me, my co-teacher (special education teacher) in my wild 4th period class, was traded. I now have a younger, much more intimidating co-teacher who, in the 30 minutes he was with us today, had already kicked out 2 students. I'll miss my first co-teacher, but think I am going to enjoy watching this class be scared of their new situation. After they were so rude and hateful toward the first teacher, I think they may be beginning to regret complaining about him.

I've gotten 3 new students in the last 4 school days. This is not ideal.

My geography class is moving along quickly, whether the kids are ready or not. Since they have 9 weeks to learn about the whole world, we spend about one week on each major geographical region. I don't think much of it is sticking with them, though, especially since we have pretty much no time to review. I handed one student a map of Asia today and he asked me if it was the United States. I'm failing.