Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Here it comes...

...Parent-Teacher Conference week! Non-stop work for four straight days. Well, only because I am scheduling it that way. I am "flexing" my time, so I will be able to have Friday off. That means Monday through Thursday are jam packed.

We had Ignatius' conference on Thursday, and we will have Max's this Wednesday. Ignatius did a fabulous job first quarter with all As and Bs. The big deal with that is that we really let him fly solo more than any other year. We said we would only step in if it seemed like his ship was sinking. I am relieved that his ship sailed!

Speaking of Ignatius, he is finally scheduled for his evaluation with the Autism Program in Springfield. In December, we will finally have some feedback on whether or not he, like his brother, is on the spectrum. I am pretty convinced he is, but I must wait to hear it from people who are trained. One year later... things move so slowly when you are awaiting information.

Finally, I leave you with Max on a "big boy bike." He is a crazy man, I tell you. Scott finally put a helmet on him, and he has NO FEAR. He whips around corners. If he falls off, he just gets back up. Such a stark difference from his brother who, once he fell, he was DONE. Alas, he gets that from me... never much of a biker.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Am I right or just old?

So, my friend has a student teacher this year with a few characteristics that I find disturbing:

1. She has to be told what to do. Everything. This is a person who expects to hold, and keep, a teaching position in less than a year. And sometimes, she clearly does not do what she is instructed to do.

2. She texts in the classroom. Constantly. She stopped helping a student so she could answer a text.

3. She is on the Internet constantly. She gets on You Tube and or EBay and allows the children to watch her.

So, what's my problem? I mean, she's not MY student teacher, right? Here comes the soapbox.

Why isn't it common sense that these behaviors are COMPLETELY inappropriate? Why must someone, who is offering her time, talents, and (way too much) patience be in a situation where she must discipline this young woman like she must discipline her middle level students? HOW IS IT that ISU (sorry guys, you had this coming) allows people with this lack of adequate judgment into the classrooms? I wish I could say she is the only one doing this, but, apparently, several student teachers this year have these issues.

Now my question is... did someone redefine "work ethic" while I was sleeping? I am not ignorant enough to try to hold ANYONE to my work ethic... it's not healthy. Mine is... work supersedes all. Someone is paying me, and I owe him to do my job the best way I am able. That has led me into depression. It is not what I am espousing.

What I am espousing is an honest day's wages for an honest day's work. Yes, student teaching is one of the "internships" in life that is not compensated through a paycheck. Get used to it. You are a public servant. If that bothers you, seriously consider another, more lucrative, career. And best of luck in the current economy. If teachers were driven by money, NONE OF US WOULD DO THIS. Case in point, if my husband (in the corporate world) has one, hour-long presentation to give, he takes sometimes several days to prepare. On a Friday, I have 30 minutes of "prep" time for an entire day. I "give" myself 40 more minutes because I choose to work through my lunch. I am prepping for five times as much as he, yet my prep is EXPECTED to take place outside of my contractual day. If it wasn't, there is no way I could do it. And that does not include maintaining contact with parents, which must also take place when I am not teaching their children.

So, if you are 21 years old and already coming in to the profession already lazy as hell, would you do us all a favor and please leave? We don't need you. We don't want you. Kids DESERVE better.

End of soapbox. Thanks for listening! So am I right, or am I sounding like an old fart? You decide.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Yes, today was Columbus Day. I decided to keep Max home from day care, since he did not have "school" today.

Now, I'm beat, but I have some grading yet to do. I just finished typing a test by hunting and pecking with one hand while he fell asleep on my left shoulder. I was thrilled to have him home, but I sure didn't want to do any school stuff. Now, I'm pooped. Ah, well. One of those days when I wish I was home all the time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Elie Wiesel

I never read the morning paper. I am typically too rushed, or I just do not care to start my day in that way. This morning, for some reason, I got it off the porch and read it during my breakfast.

There was an ad for a speaking engagement for Elie Wiesel (pronounced ellie vee sell), Nazi death camp survivor, author, teacher, and Nobel Prize winner. He was set to speak at Illinois State University at 7 PM tonight.

I was beyond excited. I had heard him speak when he was on Oprah. That compelled me to read his book, Night, chronicling this horrific time in his life. This seemed like it was too good to pass up.

So many things got in my way today. Students testing my last available nerve, helping my son with his homework, a rainy night. When I finally convinced myself that I had NO other option than to go, despite what else was happening or what my mood was, I was stuck in crazy traffic and parking conditions at ISU. Apparently, they had not prepared for how popular this particular speaker would be. I was about to turn around and go home, when, there, about three blocks from Braden Auditorium, was a parking space. Another sign? I'll let you decide.

When I finally entered Bone Student Center, people were filing up to the third floor mezzanine. When I got there, the word was... no seats. I wasn't surprised... another road block in my day. It was becoming pretty typical and almost comical. Having gone by myself, however, was very beneficial, because I was able to secure a seat.

For the next 45-50 minutes, I was able to hear Mr. Wiesel speak. That is when I knew why I was there.

He got me. He understood me. He would not be dismissive of some of the things that people so easily dismiss about me. A validation moment. Here are some notes I took on the back cover of my copy of Night. [I was in line to get it signed when he had to stop. That part was not meant to be.]

~He identifies with victims. He feels he is called to turn their tears into tales.
~Violence begins when language fails.
~Racism is stupid.
~He was never ashamed of being Jewish. When he visited the South in 1956, he was ashamed of being white.
~Much of the German military was composed of degreed men. Where did education fail in Germany?
~Without education, we forget the meaning of our endeavors.
~Religion is not the cause of the ills of the world. If you look at Stalin and Hitler, neither included religion as part of his campaign.
~Fanaticism is dangerous in any area.
~What do we do when a fanatic gains power?
~Current example: Iran's leader, Ahmadinejad. Mr. Wiesel believes he should be shunned. No university should have him as an honored guest. He is the epitome of fanatical evil.
~As long as someone is not free, my freedom is in danger. (This reminded me of one of my favorite MLK quotes: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.")
~One should not stand idly by.
~He made a strong point that indifference is not an option. He called it the opposite of love, the opposite of education, the opposite of beauty.
~There is a shame of hunger... if someone is hungry, I should feel ashamed.
~We have the right to doubt.
~Information must be translated into knowledge. Knowledge must be transformed into sensitivity. Sensitivity must be transformed into commitment.
~His left us with two things: Think higher. Feel deeper.

Two standing ovations. What an outstanding man. I am honored to have been in his audience.