Saturday, August 27, 4pm

The temps are still in the triple digits.  It was supposed to go up to 110° today, but the clouds have been building up and it’s raining on the south side, so it’s “only” 103°.  It doesn’t look like it will rain here.  Unfortunately, Starr Pass has only had a total of 4.3 inches of precipitation this year. 
http://rainlog.org/usprn/html/main/maps.jsp

My drip system was broken for a month, so my last water bill was low, and that tiny amount of rain plus a help here and there with the hose has kept everything green.

When I left school on Thursday the sky was gorgeous.  Had to rush home and take this photo.

Week 1

Be careful what you ask for – you may get it.

I am presently substituting for myself, as the district hasn’t processed my paperwork yet.  My last period geometry class had two adds, up to 41 kids, mostly boys.  It was impossible.   I asked one of the assistant principals, M, (who had been telling me that they were “working on the problem”) to sit in on the class on Friday, when I would attempt to give a quiz.  When the kids started to file in, he was nowhere in sight.  The teacher vacating the classroom (we all have to switch rooms at some point) got on the phone for me and was told that M was in a meeting.  Five minutes later a different assistant principal showed up, R, tall, handsome, black, and obviously a power to be reckoned with.  The class silenced.  (Bliss!)  As we were doing the review before the quiz one dumb kid in the back of the class started softly whistling.  Bam!   Immediately R was on his feet reaming out the kids for their behavior this week.  You could have heard him three classrooms away!  It rivaled Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” speech.  Then he left.  They were silent for the quiz.  However, I do not expect 100% improvement by Monday.

Wednesdays are short days for the kids so we can have department meetings.  What an eye-opener!  In the past two years the geometry flunk rate has gone from 60% to 40%!  That was accomplished by adding a geometry support class so that the slower students can get help with their homework.  The crux of the problem, however, is that most of the flunkees (maybe all of them) didn’t pass algebra last year and didn’t go to summer school to make up the deficiency (even though summer school scholarships were handed out).  You’d think the answer would be pretty clear – make them take algebra again!  I plan to speak with M Monday regarding the students at the bottom of the classes.

Week 2

Turns out that another teacher also had 41 in his 7th period geometry, so one of our team who had a planning period 7th volunteered to teach a 6th class (for 1/5 more pay) and we both lost a third of our students.  I still have a few problem kids who prefer to spend their time chatting with friends.  But with only 28 kids, I can keep them under control, and all but one are actually doing some work!

Now the problem is the 2nd period geometry.  With a few adds, the class is now up to 38.  Aargh!  The kids need a lot of individual attention, so after I do the daily presentation, they start their work and I walk about helping them.  Thursday the paper wads started to fly.  I sent two kids out to sit in the hallway.  Then another flew.  I exploded and said that I would stop helping anyone until the offender confessed.  One boy did.  Then another said that no, he was the miscreant.  The two outside returned to the classroom, the confessee placed outside. 

Friday the class came in rowdy.  After our review, I told them that they would have to be silent for the weekly quiz and that anyone talking would have his test taken away.  Immediately one boy started mouthing off.  I took his quiz.  Then a gaggle of others started.  Seven more tests removed.  Those boys decided to walk out.  I marked them absent.  Wrote up a report for the counselor.  I have got to get some (all?) of them out of that class.  The rest of the class worked diligently on their quizzes, and only 30% failed!  Remarkable what we have to be grateful for.

For this I took an online class in Structured English Immersion, studied for and took Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments in English and math, assembled paperwork, paid for the SEI course, the AEPA tests, and the teaching certificate!  It’s just good that I see a few kids get that “oh yeah” look when they figure out a concept.

Hasta.

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5 Responses to “Saturday, August 27, 4pm”

  1. Jim Says:

    When I was in the third grade in public school, I was a flunky in reading and math. My father, a loved and feared autocrat, acted fast to correct the problem. I was transfered, in the middle of the school year into La Salle, run by the Jesuits . There in my first week, I was sent to the principle, for throwing a spit ball. A student informer of the teacher had reported the misdemeanor. The principal, judiciously caned both of my open palms with a two foot long cane. That excruciating punishment permanently solved the disciplinary problem. How my stubborn refusal to learn math was subsequently corrected is equally effective.

  2. Kim Blair Says:

    Hi Lynne,
    It sounds as if you have your hands full! I don’t know if you’re interested, but the Society of Women Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers sometimes helps local schools with tutoring. Maybe if you had and extrta set of eyes in the classroom it would be helpful. I can look up the sections that are local to you if you like.
    They are lucky to have you!

    Hang in there,
    Kim

  3. Jim Says:

    Having quickly solved the disciplinary problem, the Jesuits next set about solving the math retardation problem. Every night I got 10 pages of math exercises, where I gotten one page in the public school; and was warned not leave the house until I had finished all it, and that there would be severe consequences for me if I did. I then lived under a dictatorship at school as well as at home. The only consoling words “Just do as you are told, and you will do fine.” Every morning there was a quizz; and the papers were immediately graded. The answers were written on the board; and everyone exchanged papers with the adjacent student. The grades then listed on the board, so that every boy immediately knew his relative standing. For several days my grade was the lowest on the list of some students. Not only were delightful practical jokes in class ended, but I also suffered the humiliation of being the worst. Then, I noticed that my grades started moving up in the list; and that became my new delightful source of class entertainment. I competed to reach the top of the list – to best all of my classmates. I mastered arithmetic and multiplication, always being one of the first to finish – often with a perfect score of 100%. And ever since them math has been a favorite subject – so much so that it was my minor in the university.

    m

  4. Jim Says:

    Anarchy in Jesuit class, unlike the public school classes, was never a problem. Every student sat attentively with hands clasped, and could only speak by raising the hand and waiting to be called on by name. Any slight infraction of the rules, such as looking around or whispering, was immediately followed by a stern warning, that the next infraction would result in being sent to the principal’s office. And, there was never a break in activity. The teacher gave very short lectures on topics, and these lectures were immediately followed by class work. After the quizes were graded, the students were called in groups that filled the entire board to write down what they had learned.

    brightest students were very rarely asked to come to board.

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