Monday, April 25, 2005


I had to confiscate my first cell phone today. It wasn't exactly something I wanted to do, but my 5th hour Journalism class refuses to put them away and stop texting one another. I took it away from this girl, who was clearly mad, and kept it in the drawer until the end of the hour. I also had to tell ZJ to put his away before the hour began and, like yesterday, he said, "You've got to be kidding me." No, I'm not. I didn't say anything more, wanting to move on... I showed All the President's Men, and so many people were off task. I think someone took a photograph (I saw a flash...), there were two girls (on two sides of the room, so two separate instances) that kept turning around to talk to the person behind them, there were a pair of girls who kept passing a notebook back and forth to write notes, etc. It was relatively quiet, but they're just not as good as they used to be.

Tomorrow they will finish the movie (or come close to it) and Wednesday some will take the MCA, so on Thursday, I plan to have them all take a moment and reflect on what they can do as students to improve the classroom climate. It's fun for them, but one student actually mentioned how she tries, but it's hard to catch everything because it's so noisy. I hope to take some serious steps towards resolving this lack of respect issue they have going on. There are plenty of ways I can approach this problem. Hey, I could sit in a student desk tomorrow during the film near one of the talkers. :) That might work. Kind of goofy, but arg.

More applications tonight. Many deadlines looming. All of these interview-type questions are good for me to figure out my own place in philosophy towards education, but I wish there was just one set of questions, insteading of having to answer them over and over again, in different ways. (Describe how you communication with parents. A parent disagrees with a student's grade, what do you do? and other variations...)

Applications filled out today:


Speaking of parents, midterm reports were filed this afternoon, and I know a handful of parents are definitely not going to be happy! Parent-teacher conferences are on Thursday, which I am both looking forward to and dreading. I tried to call as many parents as I could, now the midterms are basically reporting that information, so I can take a bit of a break. But there are still some that aren't doing very well that I didn't contact, and I feel badly about that. Part of this is because Amy suggested I try to speak with the students before I call the parents, so that I keep them on "my side." This concept is very frightening to me--you send a student to the office, and you risk losing them from "your side." You take a cell phone away from a student and all of a sudden, they are angry--though I warned them I would start confiscating them--and I might have lost that person from "my side." And it doesn't matter if they like me or not, though nice for my ego. It matters if they participate in the class and are a part of what is going on... I look back on my own classes both in college and in high school, and it was the "good" teachers that really cared about us that inspired me to work harder. Therefore, someone liking you or not liking you often relates to performance.


Teaching fifth hour (last hour of day).


Let me tell you--whew! They keep me on my toes, and honestly, I may seem like I am complaining, but in truth, these kids are really great. I enjoy teaching them, and I love this job. (And it's not really a job right now, is it? Not yet, anyway.) I can tell that this is where I belong, and I hope that I can find a job doing this in the fall. I'm OK with part time... at this point, with the economy as it is, I'm OK with even just one or two classes. And I'll sub if I have to, which could be interesting, but I really want "my own" kids. I want to have those relationships with them and see how they develop over a period of time. I want to interact with them and get to know their interests outside of school... I want to use that to develop units and learn more about the larger world...

For example! My English 10 is full of great students who have so many diverse backgrounds... For example, I have an Arab-American, three African-Americans (one of which has parents who were born in Africa--that I know of, anyway--the other two could be as well), a Korean-American, two Hmong students, a Chinese-American, several Latino students, etc. So there is the great cultural variance, which I am interested in figuring out how to develop and bring that out in a comfortable environment, but I can see that their interests are hugely varied as well.

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