Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by EngTeacher15, Feb 12, 2007.
Feb 13, 2007
The bad marriage, mostly.
I'm on my way out of a second bad one.
I don't cling to the Myers/Briggs thing, but the I, N, and P are accurate.
Two, eh? (Didn't I say something about bladders and men elsewhere?)
As to the MB: uh-huh, uh-huh, and uh-huh, not necessarily in that order.
I agree with everyone who says to stand firm and not give in. They do want you to give in so they'll get what they want. So they throw a temper tantrum to try to make you feel terrible. Don't let it get to you. Just remember -- not giving into the them is the best guarantee that this won't happen again.
The only thing you can do is make sure that you are being as fair as possible. Have assignments written up on the board. Tell them when you first assign something and remind them a couple of days before it is due. If you have a website (my school does), put all the major assignments online. Make sure the assignment and your expectations are clear.
You also mentioned that one of your students claimed they turned in a Works Cited page and they never got it back. This gives you good reason to be very organized if you aren't already so that you and your students know that you didn't lose anything. Have a pile of "no names" accessible to the students. Just try your very best to keep things organized and precise so you'll be 100% sure you haven't made a mistake, and if a mistake has been made, it will be easy to catch and fix.
Feb 14, 2007
Thanks for the great advice, everyone! I actually took most of the precautions that you guys suggested. I included the grading rubric when I gave the assignment. I also had all students (plus their parents) sign the expectations sheet with all due dates and requirements. It's nice to see that you are all on my side though. Thank you!
If the expectations have been made clear, then stick to your guns... tough as the students and their parents may make that.
Huge hug to you.
I just got off the phone with an initially angry mom re: her son's progress report. I'm so thankful for my obsessive/compulsive paper trail! Rubrics, soft copies, hard copies, tattooes, whatever it takes! It's CYA, but more importantly, it's a map for consistency!
And TG, I had an AMAZING teacher day. TOUGH, to be sure, but AMAZING! I think I'm a happy accident kind of a teacher.
Oooo, b-radical, I'm excited for you! Tell the story, pleeeeease?
We're starting our Renaissance unit, and the prescribed book is Catherine, Called Birdie. Personally, I love the book. But the majority of the students at my school will die from boredom. First, it's a "girl" book, and I not only have more males than females, I have several male students who are openly involved in gangs.
Given that, Catherine Called Birdie isn't going to cut it.
"It would be easier to teach MacBeth," I said to myself in jest.
And then it wasn't in jest. MacBeth has absolutely everything sixth graders love--and the Renaissance had colors named goose-turd and puke. (Ms. Bradley, the happy accident of a teacher, started feeling sassy...)
I told all four blocks today that we'll be studying MacBeth, and read them the wonderful passage by the three witches... Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble. And they were hooked!..
The coolest thing was, the gang members in my third block GOT it! They GOT this first gist of MacBeth, and as a class, they've already decided that the scene they're going to perform will be in the hood.
Three of the gang members are already working on a MacBeth rap.
I've been very open with my students about being an "old white woman" (and they love my nervous tic old white woman dance), and for some reason, these four young men in my third block are giving me (in gang terms) "respect." That means their hand signals to me in the hall are given above the waist.
You should have seen me wearing the "bejeweled" cap, brim to the side, and doing the "waz up sign" as these young men trusted me into their world--and they know I don't approve and know I'm all about tough love and such--but there's an in to education here!
I also had the opportunity to teach from a table top today. I was stapling more words to the egregious word wall, and as my first block students came in, i pretended it was perfectly natural to stand on a table to teach. We talked about perspective and voice and I'm SO proud of my happy accident teacher comment! "How you see the world depends on where you're standing in it."
I'm insane to do so, but I'm teaching MacBeth to my sixth graders!!
And the gang bangers GOT the story of it just from the introduction.
I don't know whether to sigh, sing, dance, resign, or do my old white lady hoot and holler. Know I'm smilin'.
Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, YESSSSS! High five from across the continent to you, lady!
I tic across the continent back to you!! I'm psyched about this! And catch this one, oh high five, tomorrow we're going to do Shakespearean insults!
No holds Bard...
May we look forward to a full report tomorrow?
And I hope for your sake that neither administrator nor parent nor any other busybody walks into the classroom at the wrong time.
Full report will be forthcoming.
And frankly, I'm fortunate to be working with an administration that appreciates my ...umm...unique approach.
And if someone does walk into my classroom at the wrong time, hopefully they'll learn something.
Actually, there is no wrong time to walk into my classroom. My classroom is my classroom. And we laugh A LOT.
I know because of NCLB (don't get me started), I could be fired tomorrow based on standardized test scores. But I know the way I'm teaching will bring me rest on my death bed. I did the best I could with this huge, amazing world.
Explaining why one oneself is on the table top is one thing. Explaining why one's students are using invective with such enthusiasm is quite another, and not a fate I wish on my friends.
Knowing one makes such a difference... ah, there is a Consummation Devoutly To Be Wished.
Feb 15, 2007
TG----it was AWESOME!! MAGNIFICENT!! The kids got into in a way I never dreamed possible. My street smart kids REALLY got it--a student in my toughest block, who happened not to have ISS today said, "Ms. B-rad! This is just like 'yo mama!'
That is a lightbulb moment I'll cherish forever.
and in every single block, students asked, "Can we do MacBeth again tomorrow?" (I read them the "Double, double toil and trouble..." after setting the scene and giving them an overview of the story. They were absorbently silent...riveted.
On my message board outside of my room (where I list materials for the day), on student wrote, "BRING YOUR SHAKESPEARE SPIRIT!"
Students who I've yet to get truly engaged, were TRULY engaged.
wow. I could hardly wait to get home to tell you! Again, I say, "wow."
b-radical, how glorious for you and for them!
This is the point at which education stops being a way to make a living and starts being the oxygen in the room of your heart, no?
If you need to do grammar drills, try having them do something like MadLibs with extracts from MacBeth - let them see that sticking the wrong part of speech in the slot makes for something that isn't even funny. And you may tell them for me that that is rather like the method that linguists use to figure out the verbs and the nouns and all in a language that hasn't been studied before: they establish a sentence that's okay with the language consultant (speaker of the language who also speaks the linguist's language), then they substitute words into the various slots of the sentence and see if the result is still okay.
Let me also recommend this site: http://petelevin.com/shakespeare.htm. Shakespearean insult kits or generators work basically the same way... and you could have them figure it out. You could also have them using tools of language, including morphological analysis, to figure out just what some of these terms mean. (Whether it would be advisable to allow them to construct some 21st-century versions, I will leave to your ample discretion and your sense of the local politics...)
O brave new world, that has such learning in it!
I KNEW you were a linguist of the highest sort, TG! (Are you a musician as well? I ask for a reason...) I love and am going to use your suggestions, and I'm going to ride this tide of our excitement.
I've been wondering about the morphological analysis (I love linguistics), but I'm going to have to intuit my way through that one.
As for constructing some 21st-century versions, I hear them in the halls everyday from the students in blocks two and three. What was/is so exhilarating is that for those students in particular, Shakespeare became accessible and relevent. I wish you could have heard the laughter! I wish you could have seen the smiles from the students who, until today, had to play it tough (that's their survival mode).
As for the oxygen of my heart . . . yes. Being 48 instead of 22, I'm not easily intimidated, and I remember well the teachers who taught according to their gifts and passion. I am fortunate enough to be in contact with my own sixth grade teacher (we were his second class), who made an enormous difference in my life.
What I am learning is that these kids are making an enormous difference in mine.
Before I responded to you, I had to take a phone call from a parent from a student in my second block (32 kids). "Ms. Bradley," she said, "I don't know what happened today, but (daughter) is in her room studying Shakespeare. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it."
o frabjous day...
thanks for sharing this journey with me.
I'm warm and tingly all over reading this, and thrilled beyond words to share the journey.
Wait - what do you mean by intuiting your way through morphological analysis? That you're not sure how, or that you're not sure how to get the students there?
Funny: I had in fact typed "O frabjous day!" in my original response...
I'm not sure how to get the students there.
Almost Funny: I wanted to say to you today that there are more things in heaven and earth, TG, than are dreamt of in our philosphy...
How to get the students there? Model it, starting with, perhaps, a word like "disrespecting".
More things, indeed...
Separate names with a comma.