Such a great story, take a few minutes to watch this youtube video. Do not ever underestimate young people! Moreover, inspire them, encourage them, tell them they rock.
Archive | April, 2014
This is one powerful quote by Laurence Kohlberg from Rick Lavoie’s article Fairness: To each according to his needs.
As a parent and a teacher, I often hear the whiny phrase, “but that’s not fair!” But wait….and I always stop and explain and use that quote. I often validate with the example of wearing eyeglasses. It is obvious Little Francis needs them to see. If no one else wears glasses in the classroom and we were being “fair” (every one gets the same thing), should we take away her glasses? Of course not. Likewise with accommodations and services designed for students with disabilities. They may need something different to access the learning along side their peers. Key word, NEED. It is fair, Francis needs her glasses just as another student perhaps need priority seating or word predictive software. It is not a leg up or an advantage. It is a need. Students (and our children) are individuals and so are their capabilities, strengths, and needs.
I teach. Not the most flexible of schedules. Regardless, as a parent I will never complain about the schedule. I am there teaching during school hours and guess what my kids are in school too! I am unequivocally blessed that my oldest two go to school with me everyday. Actually most recently, they have taken to sleeping in an extra 30 minutes and riding the bus to school…but they are there with me and I have access. I can visit them in the clinic if they are sick (this past Monday). So I can see if they are big fakers basically. They stop by room for hugs, food, to grump at me for some odd ailment which is always my fault, or to ask me to take them and a friend somewhere after school. Not to mention, I get to see their award shows, go on field trips, know their friends, and basically watch them be middle schoolers when they don’t know I am watching. I get to see them in a different light than I normally do.
Nevertheless….occasionally life blurts right in the middle of work. Mama, I forgot my flute…can you go get it? Nope! How about, Mama I forgot my lunch. and btw I refuse to buy one, so what did you bring? Or awful guilt laden tears that they feel miserable and I am the worst mother ever for making them stay in school. Those moments….yep still a blessing.
And often funny, it blurts out unexpected. Sitting in a meeting after school, my phone starts blowing up with texts. At first its “Can I walk to Starbucks?” Or simply “I’m home.” Today, it quickly turned into A Rash and Need Lotion Emergency. One of my lovelys was having an allergic reaction to an over-the-counter drug she recently started. First, I needed to determine the specifics of the rash. The itching intensity, degree of redness, relative volume of the bumps, and general whereabouts. In short, I needed a barometer of distress. It seemed fixable from afar with allergy meds and lotion. Easy enough. Meeting continues.
But wait Mama, she needs anti-itch meds and so what are those exactly? Furthermore, we are not the most organized. So, I swear I saw it on the top shelf, linen closet, box on the right not two nights ago. Guess what? It’s not. So…..texting continues….What does it look like? Where else could it be? What else do we have? The barrage of texting seems to go on for ages. At some point, I blurted out, “sorry about my phone we are apparently having an rash emergency at home.” Awkward faces ensue. A cringe. Oh, was that not what you were expecting? Sorry, life just interrupted work. (I forget–I’m Mama, and not everyone is a mama. And the words “rash” and/or “emergency” offer multiple alarms. WOOPS). It rarely happens. On the other hand, when it does, what better place than a school.
1. I am not a morning person. So….when I say good morning, and greet you with a smile, it’s because I truly care and want you to have a great day. What I’d like to do, is quietly eat my tea and chocolate till about 10 a.m. before speaking to another human being. Yet, I say good morning to all of you. I try to smile when I say it, I try to ask how you are, and I try to be peppy and cheerful. If you had any idea how much this goes against the grain of my soul, you would know how much I care. My take on things is that many of you had a crappy night, ugly morning, and in general may not have supportive families waving good bye to you smiling, “have a great day, kiddo!” So I can be a positive bright spot or a miserable troll. Despite my lack of morning umph, despite my lack of morning conversational skills I suck it up and put on a chipper little good morning for each of you every day. If only you knew!
2. I think a two hour delay, and a four day work week is ideal too. I love a snow day. A two hour delay is my favorite. And a short week is huge! However, school is just like the real world. You are not going to graduate and enter into the real world. You are in it. I know you know this. I know you go home and see it. Dad’s in jail, mom is miserable, grandmom is sick, family is fighting, addictions prevail, there isn’t enough money, you are hungry. That’s already the real world. And in the real world we all have to work, do things we don’t love, and try our best even when we are grumpy. So I am with you. A two delay rocks!
3. I don’t like all of you equally, some I just happen to like a tiny bit more than others; but I love you all equally. Ok, so some of you have flaws that really, really bug me. Don’t we all? So I may not like you at the same level or you may be hard to like on some particular days. However, unlike that country song, “Hard to Love”…you are not. If I did not love you and want the very best for each of you, I would not be able to do this job. Cause frankly some days you really bug me!
4. I disagree with most of the things I have to teach you too. I am a person that believes in character, kindness, and positive thinking. So teaching math according to the state of Virginia’s Department of Education tends to not be how I would do things. I see broken kids, sad kids, unloved kids; and I really don’t give two hoots about whether or not they can solve, model, and graph an inequality! Unfortunately, what are my options? So I play the game. I recognize the game. I play by the rules as much as possible. Nevertheless, the goal each day is mine. My goal is that each student has a positive experience each and every day. That my students leave my class feeling better about themselves than when they arrived (Not always an easy task considering I am throwing theorems, formulas, properties, and equations at them). So you know, if we learn the math that day; awesome. Truthfully though, I don’t (EVER) go to bed at night worrying about whether you pass the SOL. I don’t worry about you acing a modeling multiplying fractions or a real number systems quiz (Thank Goodness). I go to bed worrying about you becoming whole human beings when your lives are often missing huge chunks of necessity.
5. I do this job and most days and think, “well that was a complete waste of time.” Except in my heart I have to believe it is not and so I return the next day. Some days you walk out of the room and I realize that lesson was a bust, the class was half asleep, the other kids that didn’t care destroyed it, or the material was just too darn over your skill set. And I say out loud, “well that was a complete waste of time.” Then again, later that day I will pass you on campus and be reminded that we had a bit of time together, it didn’t have to be about math and it didn’t have to go as planned, nonetheless at the end of the day maybe you will remember I gave a hoot. This goes back to number 4, and reminding myself of that fact on the days our math class appears to be a huge waste of time (because sometimes it is regarding the math and sometimes it is in spite of the math).
Getting started, here I am, the most untechy person trying to get techy. You can imagine the frustrations. The dog cowers, looking at me as if she has done something wrong. “No Molly, its just me chatting composedly with my pal technology.” I often text my girlfriend whining, willing a tech-genie to quickly appear before me. But alas, no tech-genie has yet to arrive. It is just me. So this first post is for me. To confidently (well, I will fake that part) post a first blog.
Top 4 things I will NOT ramble about coming soon….