Here’s is a typical school uniform for Genesis, DAZ 4.5.¬† There are also Mats and bookbags on the download page.¬† One of the bookbags is a prop that can be used in DAZ and Poser.
Graphics, Tutorials, and Stories
Where do you come from? Is it a secret?
It's not so much a secret, as that it doesn't exist anymore. Not in this world. Not in your time. Or your parents'. Or theirs.Today I call Baton Rouge, Louisiana, my home. But that is not where I have always lived, or where I was born. I come from a place and time born so long ago that no one remembers where it is today. Memories of my home fade into the past like the dust that floats down that ray of sunshine onto that end table. No one has spoken of my birthplace for so long that if spoken today, the name would be unrecognizable, thought of as fantasy. After Chaos, and after the Migration, we moved here, gradually rebuilding our lives. But much of our history was lost during the Migration, and more was forgotten during the ReconstructionĖ forgotten or locked away. There are many scrolls and books here in the library, each telling a part of the history of my Clan. But they are in no particular order. I have scribed them as my memories flash before my eyes. Somewhere there must be the beginning. But where? Perhaps in that book over there . . .
Here’s is a typical school uniform for Genesis, DAZ 4.5.¬† There are also Mats and bookbags on the download page.¬† One of the bookbags is a prop that can be used in DAZ and Poser.
Today I’m home.¬† EBR declared an¬† …¬† I guess you call it a possible Ice Day.¬† It wasn’t like we were expecting snow.¬† They were just expecting a hard freeze, and afraid it would ice up the roads.¬† They declared this yesterday by 3:30 pm.¬† The light rain we were getting stopped by 5 pm, and the roads dried off.¬† Yes, our temperatures got as low as about 23 degrees, and may not get up past the 30s today, even with the sunshine.¬† When I got up in the morning (my usual time, since my body is on school clock), they were announcing that all the roads were clear and open.¬† There’s not even a bit of frost on the ground!
But it¬†is too late.¬† The superintendent has already closed schools.¬† And so it looks like we will be making up a school day later on — for nothing.
Some cite that the schools may have heater problems.¬† Well, I say,¬† fix those darn things!¬† That’s what the maintenance crew is for.¬† If they know they are not working properly, then why are they just sitting on their hands?
I’m sure that this decision was made as a backlash from last year.¬† Last year we had a true Snow day.¬† It actually snowed.¬† It was snowing when I woke up to get dress for school, and had been snowing.¬† But the school board did not cancel school.¬† They did not cancel school until buses had already begun picking up students, and teachers were already at the school sites.¬† So then we teachers had to wait for all the students to be picked up and then drive back on the dangerous roads.¬† Your northerners are used to snow on the roads.¬† But these idiots are not.¬† And we do not have the equipment (plows, sand, salt) to clear the roads.¬† I ended up having to replace a windshield.¬† While my car was parked in the parking lot for 2 hours, buried under 6 – 8 inches of snow, a very tiny chip in my windshield that had been there for over 12 months in extreme heat and never traveled anywhere — it chose to “play in the snow” and spread all across my windshield.¬† And this was mild compared to what others dealt with — car accidents, sliding, etc.¬†
So the teachers did not let the school board forget how they endangered the students and the teachers last year.¬† So probably from fear of it happening again, they decided to close school — but again made that decision too soon.¬†
Don’t get me wrong.¬† I am happy to be home and not at school.¬† But in May I will not be happy to be working one extra day to make up this one.
I hope everyone is having a good day and week.¬† Keep warm!
Well it was back to school today after 2 GOOD weeks of Christmas vacation.¬† I actually feel rested this time from a holiday.¬† The students did not have to go to school today; just the teachers.¬† It was an inservice day.¬† And I was one of the lucky few that had to report to Tara High for a professional development meeting.¬† I was lucky because I had to report for 8:00 am instead of 7 am.
The professional development was ok.¬† I’ll give it a C.¬† We discussed lesson planning, by starting off with making a unit plan.¬† Well,¬† as IMT,¬† I’ve already had this professional development, so I basically wasted my few hours there.¬† I also already had a Unit plan for the Unit we were working on.¬† I require my math teachers to make one when we begin a unit.¬† So again, I was just sitting there, advising the other teachers.
Not that I did much advisement.
I believe a teacher should plan out how they are going to teach.¬† In that way, the teacher has looked ahead, and knows where the lesson plan or unit is heading, and has some idea of where trouble spots could come up.¬† If a teacher teaches from a scripted lesson, they have a tendency not to read ahead or plan ahead or be prepared.¬† I think the teacher should plan their own lessons and units because they know their own students best and so can best choose the lesson plan that will fit her class.
So I don’t really like these workshops where they tell us to come up with one parish-wide lesson plan.¬† I can understand where they want to assure that each school is covering the same content.¬† But how that content is covered should be up to the classroom teacher.¬† I feel rather uncomfortable at these meetings because my inner teacher feels stifled.¬† And so I remain quiet to not stir up a commotion.
But am I helping or hurting myself, or my teachers, by keeping quiet and not arguing about it?¬† In my school district,¬† I think I’m helping somewhat because it would only cause controversy and nothing would ever be accomplished at these meetings.¬† At least, some of these teachers learned what a Unit plan was today.¬† Some of them actually considered looking ahead at the whole unit to see how their lesson plan needs to fit in.¬† There was some growth in their teaching skill.
Tomorrow the students return to school, and now I wonder if my lesson plans that I made before the holidays need to be reworked.¬† Are they the best I can do?¬† Are they planned out in the best way for what we have available for the students?¬† After we were released from that morning PD, we returned to our respective schools, and our principal allowed us to work in the classroom.¬† I spent some time reviewing my lessons and wondering if I could improve them for this unit.¬† I did print up some guided notes to help with tomorrow’s lesson, to release the students from rote copying of notes, so they could pay attention more.
Tomorrow begins a new semester.¬† It’s almost a new beginning.¬† And I want to get off to a good start.
So what was your first day of school like?
I remember, standing out in the hallway crying.¬† My dad left, and the teacher stayed in her classroom with the door shut.¬† It was my first day of kindergarten.¬† My dad was in the Air Force, and we had just moved to Maine, so we knew nobody and here I was starting the first day of school — about a week or so later than the other students.¬† My dad took me to school and walked me to the classroom, but he had to report to duty and couldn’t stay and the teacher had no time for a new student who was reluctant to start school.¬† Needless to say, that began a tug-o-war with that kindergarten teacher.¬† Don’t get me wrong,¬† I behaved in class and did my classroom assignments.¬† However, on some things I could be “contrary”.¬† At play time, I liked to play with puzzles and stuff.¬† I got along with the other children, but I was used to playing by myself.¬†¬† The teacher did not think it appropriate that a 5-year-old play by herself and could not understand why I would not play with the other toys.¬† So she “punished” me by trying to get me to pick up the toys at the end of playtime.¬† But I would refuse, because “I did not make the mess.”¬† The other kids had, and I could not see why they did not have to pick up their own mess.¬† I mean, my mom made my younger sisters pick up their mess!¬† So that’s how the year went.¬† I “got even” with her when we had a sub one day.¬† While the teacher was gone, I played with the toys!¬† lol¬† That put a bee in her bonnet.¬† At the end of the year, that teacher wanted to hold me back in kindergarten.¬† I could do all of the tasks well above my grade level, but she felt that “I would not do well”¬† in school.¬† Hmmmm
This year I start my 21st year of teaching.¬† On the first day of school, I always reflect back to that experience.¬† Teachers often make judgments about their students from the first day– and some of those teachers limit their interaction based on those judgments.¬† I try to keep an open mind about my students and continue to remind myself throughout the year that one experience (good or bad) does not define who they are.
This year I teach three classes of geometry and spend the rest of the hours as Academic Dean for Mathematics.¬† It’s a fancy name for a department head in a new program.¬† As Academic Dean I’m acting as a Math coach for the rest of the teachers in the department.¬† I’ll be observing their teaching, helping them with their lessons to teach them best practices and become more effective in the classroom.¬† This is in addition to what I was already doing as a teacher and department head.¬† So you can see why I’ve been absent from the board the past few days.
Wednesday and Thursday were training days for the teachers.¬† The mornings were filled with meetings and professional development, and the afternoons were set aside for us to work in our classrooms.¬† I don’t have a classroom anymore.¬† The three classes that I teach will be in other teachers classrooms, who are on their planning period that hour.¬† Instead, I have a¬† math office.¬† I should say “we” have a math office, but that’s my home base.¬† I had to pack up all the math equipment from my old room and move it to the new room, and then arrange it into the cabinets.¬† The janitor “dumped” 8 teacher desks in there, and only 3 of my teachers helped me to arrange the room.¬† That’s a typical example of the teamwork in this department, and throughout the school.¬† About half the staff seems to be ego-centrical.
There was no air conditioning for the first 2 hours on Wednesday — the time span I had to use to move my things from my old room to my new room.¬† I lifted and carried boxes that I probably should not have.¬† I have bruises, and body aches to remind me to reflect on why did I become a teacher.¬† Those first two nights, I worked from about 6:30 am to 3 pm at school and came home and crashed on the sofa.¬† I’m not usually one for a nap.¬† But my energy was spent.
Between the meetings and arranging the office, I did not get much time to go through my own personal things and organize them in my new space.¬† So¬† I am still feeling my way through my things.¬† It’ll probably be a whole year progress, at the rate that my “experienced” teachers seem to have problems and need help.
My teachers started off the year with a “bang”.¬† One teacher that we were expecting back quit 2 days before, and so we would be getting a permanent sub.¬† It turns out that the permanent sub is the same sub that I told last year to go take the PrAXIS¬† and get teacher-certified.¬† He did.¬† He passed.¬† Now he’s waiting on the certification.¬† So he will be a good instructor, but needs training in the paperwork and procedural stuff.¬† That I can deal with, as he wants to do his job well, but knows that he doesn’t know it all.¬† I have another new teacher to the staff.¬† She taught at one of the middle schools that were taken over by the state because their scores were failing.¬† School district pride set aside,¬† there’s something to say about a teacher who was teaching at a failing school.¬† She could be a good teacher, but still wasn’t effective.¬† Yet she has questioned EVERY decision from the principal since she walked on campus Wednesday!¬† She’s also been late for every department meeting we’ve had.¬† 2 of my experienced teachers who should know better helped themselves to equipment out of the library without having it checked out.¬† So the department is still plagued with the usual goof-offs.¬†¬†¬† And they don’t realize that their lack of professionalism here spills over into their classroom and affects their effectiveness as a teacher.
I spent alot of time those 2 days walking from one classroom to another, and from one end of school to another, re-educating the teachers in their procedures and acting as a go-between for the other departments, soothing their rightfully “ruffled feathers” for all the infractions that my insensitive staff members cause.¬†
Don’t get me wrong.¬† The other half of my staff in my department are wonderful.¬† They are from the Phillippines.¬† So you can imagine how their culture has taught them to be helpful, polite, and team-centered.¬† They are the ones that dropped what they were doing to help arrange the desks.¬† They are the ones that CUT OUT letters to make the titles on my bulletin board in the office, even though I would have been happy with a hand-written banner.¬† And they are the ones who stayed late after school on Friday to pick up all the trash caused from putting new batteries into 300 calculators.¬† They work hard, and I don’t mind dropping what I’m doing to help them out.
Friday was the first day of school for the students.¬† It was actually a good day.¬† Many students still needed to register and get their schedules, but they were out of the gym and in classes within a couple of hours.¬† I had many returning students happy to see me.¬† Imagine that!¬† They were happy to see their mean ol’ geometry teacher who wouldn’t give them a point so they could have a B instead of a C.¬†
My classes are small.¬† Last year I had 5 classes, and 4 of them were at 30 or more.¬† My largest class had 37 at one time, and never got smaller than 34.¬† This year I have 3 classes.¬† My largest¬† class has 18.¬† I can handle those numbers.¬† Now the numbers can change.¬† Because of schools being taken over, it’s possible we’ll get more adds over the next few days.
I guess the worse part is the fact that I have to travel to other rooms¬† to teach those 3 classes.¬† I knew it meant that I would have to tote my stuff from office to class, but I didn’t realize how much we rely on having our own room.¬† During my first class on Friday,¬† I had 7 people have to share the two pens I had because they did not have something to write with.¬† Usually, I have stacks of extra pencils, but I wasn’t in my own room.¬† Yes, I know.¬† Students should be responsible for bringing their own paper and pens, but I refuse to just let them sit their just because they “forgot” to bring something.¬† I did remember to bring me a dry-erase marker so I could write on the board, but somewhere along the way I left it in one of the rooms.¬† I did not have it 7th hour.¬† I have bought one of those pull carts that you see some teachers use.¬† It’ll hold my gradebook and some daily supplies that I will need to bring with me, so I can stuff it with a supply of paper and pencils.¬† But.¬† it will not hold a crate of calculators that ways 10 pounds.¬† And there will be some days that my geometry lessons will require more than the usual daily supplies — string, drawing paper, etc.
My first day went well.¬† The students seemed eager to be back in school, and my classes were not overloaded.¬† As I said, I try not to pre-judge my students.¬† They did seem like the typical teenagers.¬† I could see where some would present challenges as a learner, but¬† I’m happy with what I have.
The worse thing to happen occurred the last hour of the day.¬† On Thursday when I was helping the new math permanent sub/teacher, we realized that he was scheduled to teach in the same classroom 7th hour that I would be teaching in 7th hour.¬† It took a while, but we got that straightened out.¬† However, when I arrived at my 7th hour class, I found my students being turned away because there was a third teacher also assigned to teach in that room!¬† So now we had a math class and a science class in the same room.¬† Eventually, the principal worked it out, and moved me to another room.¬† Of course, it had to be on the other side of the school.
So all in all a good start to a new school year.
Well, yesterday was the day of reckoning for the students and teachers at my school.¬† The long-awaited test scores came in, and ou r school fared well, much better than what we expected.¬† How much so was realized today after all our preliminary analysis was completed.
It’s a day of reckoning because these test scores are important to students and teachers, and on this day when test results arrive both teachers and students must face their strengths and their shortcomings.¬† The students must pass these tests in order to graduate.¬† They start taking the exit exam in 10th grade by taking math and English, and then the last two parts their 11th grade year.¬† And retake and retake failed parts, hoping to pass them before graduation–or no diploma.¬† Likewise, teachers are held responsible for the students’ learning of the test material.¬† Teachers spend alot of effort helping these students to pass, out of compassion and out of self-preservation.¬† A good set of school score can earn that school some extra funding, and teachers a bonus.¬† Teachers may also find their yearly evaluations affected by these results.
There is alot of conflict concernig the pros and cons of these tests and positive and negative effects from them.¬† But that’s how it is.
Test scores arrived at the school after lunch, about 1 hour before students were to begin a final exam.¬† You could see the stress building in the students.¬† I had my honors class at that time.¬† There was no reaso to think that any of them would fail, but try telling them that.¬† They know how important these tests are.¬†¬† By the time the got around to calling the students from my hall to the lobby, I had one honors student crying from a panic attack, and most of the others too jittery that they had to walk around the room to deal with it.
Finally, they were called– and they were relieved!¬† They had done very well.¬† 4 of them had scored the top level, with one student missing only one point.¬† Overall, the students did very well.¬† Each core area showed improvement– and my math department improved proficiency by 12 percetage points!¬† I couldn’t have been prouder of my students.
Of course,¬† I saw some upset students who had failed.¬† They realized they should have been in class; they should have paid attention more. They should have studied.¬† Some of these students will spend their summer in remediation class to prepare for a second testing. Some will just wait to retest next year.¬† I recognized students whom I had taught the first semester, but they switched teachers because of schedule changes.¬† I recognized others from the Saturday tutoring I had done.¬† And some were repeaters that have moved on to other math classes.
Our math department did¬† a great job preparing our students, but there is still more work to do.¬† I see room for improvement in what we’re teaching, and how we’re teaching.¬† Our plan to address these areas are still under development, but I feel we can meet these challenges.¬† We worked hard this year, and it paid off.¬† We’ll succeed again next year, too.
Finally, we’re done with that EOC test!¬† Yes, the state must have fixed their web server.¬† The test wend so much smoother this time.¬† There was hardly any internet problems.¬† Instead, the problems occurred either with the student or teachers or the school.
We were testing in the library.¬† Even though there was a folding partition separating us from the rest of the library, we could still hear what went on in the library.¬† The whole school knew that testing was going on, but that didn’t matter.¬† Teachers would walk through the library, shouting out to each other.¬† The library would have to shush them.¬† Seniors who were excited about graduating came into the library to turn in their books or pay fines.¬† The library would have to shush them.¬† Even my own students would try talking to each other, and I would have to shush them.
The students did not take this testing seriously.¬† They never study for any tests, so why would they study for this one?¬† They respected me enough to attempt the problems, but they wanted to talk to each other while they took the test.¬† They weren’t cheating, but they wanted to talk.¬† The test was secured, and talking to each other could void their test, but they wanted to talk.¬†
I understand these students.¬† I mean, here it is the end of the year and they should be finishing off their last unit of instruction and getting ready for final exams, but instead they are taking this test–a pilot test, one that will not affect whether they graduate or promote to the next grade.¬† So to encourage them to try their best, I told them I would give them a daily grade for just taking the test and following instructions.¬† Despite that deal, 4 students cut my class.¬† They did not show up for the beginning of testing.¬† 3 hours later when the class usually started, they showed up and pretended they did not know about testing, did not hear the several announcements made by the principal, and pretended that they had not popped into the computer lab just a few hours ago.¬† Oh, I sent them to the principal’s office and emailed him about them cutting.¬† What did he do?¬† He sends the kids to Time-out Room (in-school suspension) for 30 minutes and tells them they will see what to do about arranging for them to take a makeup.¬† What I would like to know is who is going to give that makeup?¬† I’m done with testing.¬† Why should my students lose more instructional time for these losers?¬† And have we forgotten that had this not been a pilot test, the test would have been secured and they cut a state-mandated test?¬† Is there nothing wrong with that?
The state and the school districts, and even the nation, set these rules about testing and other programs, but then they don’t enforce them.¬† They don’t support their own efforts at accountability or school improvement, and they wonder why no one jumps on board to help them.¬†
And now that I’m finally done testing, I have one week with my students before they begin final exam testing.¬† What am I supposed to do with them until then?
Well, the second day of EOC testing did not go any better.¬† I was not scheduled to test in the first slot.¬† But before the class was over, the testing coordinator was in my room telling me that they had called it quits for the day.¬† She said the Internet problem was even worse that day–the red box just staying there.¬† Students couldn’t even move from one problem to the next or log in.¬† And by the end of the day, she was emailing us saying that accountability had suspended EOC testing until further notice — until the state fixed its webserver problems.
Well, we both know what that means.¬† That means no advanced planning or warning.¬† The state could possibly never fix its server in time before final exams began.¬† Or they could do it by tomorrow, and I’d get to school to find out I have to test instead of doing what I planned for that day.¬†¬† Of course, I was hoping for “never”.¬† I was gambling that the state would pull its normal “red tape” stuff and take forever to finish.¬† But I think the experienced teacher inside me knew better, and unconsciously swayed my decision making.¬† I tell myself that I chose to change the post-test to Tuesday because it would keep those students quiet while the seniors took their final exam early.¬† Whatever the reason,¬† I decided that the next day the students would begin taking the Post-Test.
This purpose of the post-test is to compare the results to the results of the pre-test at the beginning of the year.¬† It’s the exact same test, just problems rearranged in a different order, or have numbers changed.¬† The school district is looking for students to show improvement.¬† What they don’t take into consideration is that the students are tired from school because it’s the end of the year, and they don’t take the test seriously.¬† They don’t consider that the students are tired of testing.¬† They just finished the All-Important¬† state assessment testing a few weeks ago.¬† Some are taking the End of the Year testing.¬† They just got finished with the last unit test.¬† And Final Exams are a little more than a week away.¬† Test! Test! Test!¬†
But the Post-Test is required, so I gave it the next day.
It’s long — 45 problems.¬† So I give the students 2 class days to finish it.¬† I tell them how important it is, that they receive a grade but that we’re also looking for improvement.¬† Importance doesn’t matter.¬† Some of the students choose to sleep rather than take the test.¬† They don’t even have the intelligence to at least code in the multiple choice.¬† Others swear up and down that I didn’t cover any of what was on the test.¬† One student even points to a problem that I know was the same problem that appeared on the last unit test, just 8 days ago, and says “I never saw a problem like this before.”
And she probably hadn’t.¬† She was too busy distracted by all the other testing and hoopla going on around school and the end of the year.
But tell that to the state or the school district.¬† Today the testing coordinator came in and asked if I would be giving the post-test all day.¬† When I said yes, she told me that tomorrow I would be back in the computer lab doing EOC testing again!
There’s about two and a half weeks left of school, and my students have 3 large tests to take– the EOC, the post-test, and of course the final exam.¬† It doesn’t matter that they just took the Graduate Exit Exam (GEE) April 1.¬† The GEE is meant to be THE test for students to determine if they know what they’re supposed to know before they graduate.¬† But now they are also taking the EOC — End of Course test.¬† This year geometry EOC is being piloted.¬† But the Algebra I EOC has been around for 3 years, and English II for 2 (I believe).¬† Eventually, the EOC is to replace the GEE test, but until the EOC is “ready”, the students are taking both GEE and EOC.¬†¬†¬† Three years, and the Algebra I test is not ready?
How many years have they been giving the GEE test, and it’s not “ready”.¬† After all, they decided it’s not working, and they want to change it to the EOC.¬† So what to do now?¬† Make the students suffer and take 2 tests?
Well, in my school district it’s more than 2 tests.¬† The students also have to take the standard final exam in geometry.¬† I could count the EOC as my final exam if they would allow me to give the test AFTER I have completed the required curriculum.¬† Yep, that’s right, I’m still finishing up the curriculum — and on time at that according to the pacing chart — but I must give the EOC test now.
Then there’s the post test.¬† My district requires a benchmark test after each unit.¬† There was a pretest at the beginning of the year.¬† And now they must take a posttest at the end of the year to see if they show growth.¬† Well, I’m scheduled to give the EOC test today and Monday (and makeups during the rest of the week), but I also have to give the posttest by next week as well.¬† I have the same dilemma with the post-test — it is comprehensive and would make a great final exam, but I have to administer it before we finish the curriculum.¬†¬† I just don’t think it’s fair to the students.
And why can’t we be fair to the students?
Today we began administering the EOC.¬† I got the lucky straw, and had to administer it to my students first.¬† But we all know that testing day could not be uneventful.¬† We began the day with the first testing class unable to see any pictures on the test.¬† After a tech spends an hour working on the problem, he finds out that the district never installed the picture viewer script into the browser.¬† As important as these tests are supposed to be, the school district can’t do their part at ensuring a stress-free testing environment.
So the first test group did not get to test, and now I have to spend a third day next week testing the EOC on this group.
We brought the second testing group in, and they began testing.¬† Naturally, the state couldn’t be outdone.¬† They had their own problems with the test.¬† Students encountered internet¬† connection problems throughout the test.¬† And since I was able to log on to the internet, and view web pages, including the state website, I figure the internet connection problems were mostly on the state side¬† (yes, I’m sure some of the connection problems belonged to my school district as well.)¬† The state site server just could not handle all the traffic of thousands of students statewide trying to log in to this EOC test.¬†
And there were other problems.¬† I did not have a complete testing manual.¬† The last 100 pages were missing.¬† A student was using the online calculator that comes with the EOC test, and it didn’t work right.¬† It said that 15^2 = 13¬† instead of 225.¬† I watched her type it onto that calculator.¬† It’s a shame.¬† This student was smart enough to know that was the wrong answer, but she couldn’t finish working out the problem because the calculator didn’t work properly.¬†¬†¬† I wonder how many questions had wrong answers, and how many students got answers wrong when they should have been right.
We test the students too much!¬† We test and we test and we test — and for what?¬† It’s supposed to be that the tests will show what they know, but when do they have time to “know” anything?¬† I feel like, just as I finish administering one test, scoring it, and analyzing it, I am having to give them another test — and I haven’t been able to teach in between.¬† These tests are given to collect data about the students.¬† Well, I have lots of data, and I do not have time to analyze it and apply it before I’m giving another test.
When will the state department and the legislators get the picture — we test them too much?¬† Why not let me teach, really teach the students all year so that they are prepared for this test?
I could rant some more, but I need to finish creating my final exam test.¬† The seniors start final exam testing next week.¬† If they’re lucky, they’ll get a final exam test at the same time that they are taking the posttest and the EOC.
Did you think:¬† students?
We’re finally finished with testing — well most of the students are.¬† There are still some making up testing for being absent, and other alternative testing still going on.¬†¬† These students will literally cry when they find out they did not pass the test, but they cannot seem to realize the importance of the test before or during the test-taking.
For months, I have been teaching them geometry and reviewing other math skills that are covered by this test.¬† Yet they forever question “why do we have to do this?”.¬† They don’t study.¬† They don’t do their homework.¬† They don’t take advantage of free tutoring.¬† They don’t do classwork.¬†
I am still surprised by the number of students who chose not to turn in a “baby” assignment that I had given while I was out for jury duty.¬† I had seen the message written by the substitute on the board, clearly stating that this was for a grade.¬† But yet they still did not do it.¬† It doesn’t matter that the easy assignment would have pulled their F up to a D.¬†¬† They chose to use the class as a free hour.
And they still do.¬† Today,¬† I gave them some review work.¬† I didn’t want to start something too involved right before Easter break, so I figured it would be a good thing to review.¬† But then the computer system had been down, and I had to get grades in.¬† So when the computer system came back up, I gave the students the option of reading their book or notes or doing 15 equations for a grade.¬† Most chose to “do” the equations (but never really finished them)¬† rather than the reading.¬† And how would I have known if they were really reading the book?
The state testing will keep a student from graduating if they fail a part of it.¬†¬† But that doesn’t stop students from violating testing security rules and possibly getting their tests voided.¬† One student I know slept during the first day of exams, never even breaking the seal on a test.¬† Yet she’s one of the first to ask me if she’s passing my class.¬† Some brought electronics to school, and even secretly brought them into the testing room, knowing full well that if that cell phone was discovered in a testing room his or her test would be voided as would the other students.¬† All would fail the test for that one student’s serious violation of testing security.¬† I saw other students eating while their test books were on their desks– a seemingly unimportant action.¬† But had they messed up their answer document, they would have had trouble with their scores.¬† Another student was seen handling other student’s test booklets and answer documents.¬† She didn’t understand why I insisted that she put those tests down, not even when I explained it could be viewed as her attempting to cheat or fix their answers.
I have several students who have missed 20 plus days in one six weeks period alone.¬† One student I have never seen.¬† And their absences just keep growing.¬† Don’t expect them to make up any of the work either, let alone get their absences excused.¬† And if they do attend a class once in a while, they are lost.¬† But they cannot understand why they are not passing their tests or their report card.
I gave one of my classes the opportunity at 100 bonus points.¬† All they had to do was create a math review game.¬† I gave them 6 weeks to work on it.¬† Less than half the class joined a group and participated.¬† Yet the ones who did not do the bonus want to know what they can do to bring up their grade now.
Teachers do not do what they’re supposed to, but neither do the students.¬† The question is:¬† Which came first?¬† The students don’t do, or they’re just following the examples of their do-nothing teachers?
I would like to preface this rant with the statements:¬† Not all teachers are bad.¬† There are many excellent teachers out there — teachers that care!¬† Teachers that teach!¬† Teachers that love working with children.
So what’s wrong with the teachers?¬† Why can’t they do what they need to do?¬†¬† There are the teachers who just won’t do what they are supposed to do — and these teachers spoil it for the good teachers, and spoil it for our children.
Louisiana, like many states, has gone to a unified state curriculum.¬† Now teachers are not happy with all of the curriculum, and the pacing, and the activities — well, you get the picture.¬† But… even if it still needs improvement, it’s still is useful for its purpose of having everyone teach what’s necessary in a particular class.¬†
But these bad teachers will skip the curriculum.¬† They’ll teach whatever they want.¬† When questioned, they’ll say it’s for the best of the children.¬† But really it’s because they have an over-inflated ego and think they know better than the thousands of other teachers teaching the same class.¬† They teach what they want, and skip what they want.¬† They don’t care how this will affect children.¬† They don’t consider that the students won’t learn what they need to be successful in the next level class, or whether they know what they need to know for the assessment tests.¬† For the “benefit of the children”, they teach them to fail.¬† And this failure is compounded year after year after year.¬† And students are failing, and schools are failing.
How hard is it to hang a “Testing–Do not disturb sign”?¬† Why would a teacher let a student sleep through a high-stakes test when that student’s chance at graduation is at stake, and the school’s future as well?¬† Teachers don’t turn in lesson plans each week.¬† Teachers don’t teach bell to bell.¬† Teachers are playing chess instead of teaching.¬† Teachers don’t show up for their duty stations.¬† Teachers don’t show up at scheduled conferences.¬† Teachers don’t teach.¬† So why are they teachers?