Monday, December 20, 2010

Is this my midlife crisis?

I was surprised this week to think about the industry in which I work (and have been working in for 19 years) and realize I really do not believe it jives with my values. Well, I must say that I have not attained full values clarification level- and I feel conflicted about that on a regular basis.

But I teach in the public schools in America and I just looked at the system as a whole and thought, "This is for the fricking birds."

I can't begin to describe its shortcomings - some of them the public hears about all the time - and some are known only by the people who work inside it.  Most of the problem I think is just the American society ind its values in general. I was shocked to feel this way. Didn't know that was in there. Didn't see it coming.

I have studied in France and have studied French culture and society. I do not want to be French and every time I come home from there I feel so grateful to be home - in my country. Where i feel at home and comfortable. So suddenly I face a future where I don't think I want to part of the problem ( as I see it) because I certainly could only be a tiny and thus ineffective, part of the solution. Plus I have 2 young children - and if I switch careers, they are stll facing growing up as American students.

I wanna move to England.

Oh boy.

That was a shock. I was thinking that I would want to move to a country with a decent education system and one that would not handicap my 3 men and their monolingualistic state. (For now - they all gotta learn to speak French - someday...)

Or do I stay here and raise my kids in a system that doesn't ask muych of the kids - where parents regularly try to get their kids out of trouble, out of doing work, cause they just want the kids to succeed - their definition of success with no failure on thte road which is a farce in itself.

Crisis waned in the face of holidays , exams, end of term business....what to think now?

Friday, July 23, 2010

How FREE is our education?

I posted some time ago about "someone has to pay for it."  Just a compare/contrast look at 2 school districts I have worked in.

School District A: Property Taxes per year $7200. Sales tax 5%, none on groceries or clothes. State Lottery - yes and the money goes to the school nutrition program, scholarships, non-public school aid, veterans programs, state testing in schools.
Students do not pay any "school fees" or send six bags of classroom supplies to school on Day 1.  School supplies are stored in the school office and teachers go get what they need.  

School Disrict B: Property Taxes per year $2000. Sales tax9.25% on everything. State lottery - yes and the money funds student scholarships, pre-k and after school programs.
Students are asked to pay a "school fee" every fall to their homeroom teacher (from 30 - 80 bucks). Parents of elementary and middle school kids are given supply lists of things to get for back to school. My list that I had to buy for my child in 1st grade cost $28 at Walmart, is in a huge heavy bag that is more than the kids can carry and it isn't stuff for him. It includes class supplies like writing paper, papertowels, kleenex (see former post about tissue!) 

My first thoughts as a parent were: Why can't the schools buy this stuff? Gee, raise taxes and save me the trip to the store and the trip to school (cause he cant carry this on the bus himself). Also I bet the schools can get the supplies in bulk (we have 40,000 students in this district).

As a high school teacher I thought: Where's my supply list? Can I just make one and send it home? For 18 years I have purchased high quality facial tissue for my classroom. If I didn't, my students would rarely have anything to wipe their noses on. That.... is disgusting.  I buy my own disinfecting wipes with bleach and clean the desks myself cause the janitors don't do it (in SD B they dont), thus trying to keep the kids from getting H1N1 or other illnesses.

As a tax payer thought, well the more taxes I pay the more I should see the schools providing. Would that really happen? At this point, I do not know. When I am retired and my kids aren't in public schools anymore, would I want to pay more taxes to support th youth of America or would I feel like, well, hey, let the parents buy all that crap and haul it to school.

After the 27 dollar trip to Walmart, I still have to go to the specialty school supply store and buy 1 ream of first grade writing paper to send in to the teacher. Geez....

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear Substitute Teacher...

...Can you please just NOT be a freakin' moron?!?!? All you have to do is 1 show up - on time is best. 2- take attendance 3- write the assignment on the board and hand it out. 4- watch thee students and make them be quiet. Oh and not let anyone die.

I know - it has to be a crappy thankless difficult job. Kids will push the limits. But gosh do they ever get some lameo people in there. If they paid more than 25 bucks a day, maybe someonw literate would apply. They just want a warm body and unfortuanately they get little else than that.

Stupid Stuff Subs Have Done
One man flirted with the girls and said they were pretty and called them "baby" and touched their hair.

One man had my assignments I left and just told the class I left nothing and turned on the TV. The classes watched trash talk shows all day.

Some subs take attendance and leave me a note like, "Three students were absent." Well, great could ya tell me which ones?!?!?

One lady never ever stood up in the classroom. She always sat in the back and all she'd say was "siddown!!"

One subbed in an ESL classroom and they were talking about immigration and the sub said she didn't think foreigners should come to the US and get all this free stuff.

Two subs I have seen were always falling asleep in class. Sleep? In a room full of teenagers? Really?

One lady walked in the room and when some kids who were talking amongst themselves started laughing and the lady instantly thought they were laughing at her and she went off on them yelling about being human and respectful. Ohhh kaaaaaay...

One man called me at home to ask where the work was. I said in the folder on the desk. He said there were 4 packets of papers and did I only have 4 students. I said no I didn't have time to staple them together and each kid got one of each. He still didn't get it.

One guy went through the regular teacher's grade book and found a place in the back where she had written her computer user name and password.  He logged on to have computer access that day. The computer people saw she had logged on yet was absent and then they figured out it was the sub.  Who got in trouble? The regular teacher. Why? He was the one snooping through her stuff.

One man wrote passes for the kids (who told him they were on the polo team) to leave to go out to the stables to feed the ponies.  The school had no stables, ponies or freakin' polo team.

This got me this week:  A kid fell down and got a mild concussion when his head hit the floor and the sub didn't notice. And then the sub did not let the kid go to the nurse when the kid asked to go.

Come on people - we need better subs. Let's pay them more - train them more - get dependable thinking adults in there. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pollen is Evil

I know it isn't really evil.  I DID take Bio 101 and see "The Bee Movie" (learning more from the latter).  I remember it being bad in the South. It was bad in the North, too. It is HORRIBLE this year - first spring spent in the South since 2001. I swear it myst be the El Nino weather causing everything to bloom at once, or something. I'm talking every day wiping tons of yellow gunk of the table on the deck.  My car is unrecognizable it has so much pollen on it (cannot wait to move in a month to our new home with a garage!)

The Pollen Peple send a daily e-mail about the Pollen levels in your zip code.  The very first day it hit High, I got this weird itchy rash all on my back. I am a 9 on a scale of 10 for allergies.  Claritin worked for 10 years. Then I tried allegra, clarinex, everything - and now take Xyzal and use Verimist.  Somedays it doesn't work all day - I have to take a Benedryl to stop scratching my nose.

Can we allergy sufferers unite and appeal to garden centers and nurseries all over the USA to NOT sell any more oak, maple or alder trees?  Can scientists research adn find the least allergenic trees and recommend them? 

I have this new house with few trees and I'd like to plant something - what will not produce tons of airborne pollen? Anyone? Buhler? Buhler?