parental feedback

March 28, 2007

Last week we had parent-teacher conferences, which is always interesting. I’ve had the 10th graders for two years now, so the parents all know me and tend to walk in with no preamble. “He got a seventy?? CALL ME EVERY DAY FROM NOW ON.” And I do, so they like me, and the kids hate that, and everything works out.

Last semester I taught 9th grade, and this semester they have a different teacher, which has made a lot of them unhappy. (I’m not bragging; I’m a fairly new energetic teacher, and I was replaced by a 23-year vet who has pretty much checked out of teaching all together. 9th graders aren’t as dumb as they look.) For a while I had kids trying to sneak into my classes, but eventually they worked out that I’m only teaching 10th grade and resigned themselves to whining in the hall. Weirdly, several parents came to talk to me anyway on Thurday, demanding to know when I’d be teaching 9th grade again. (God willing, never.)

 But the cherry on the sundae was the parent who came by and said “Oh, are you the history teacher? My son came home talking about all these religions around the world. I’ve never seen him so excited about homework. And then he says ‘Momma, I don’t know if I want to be a Christian anymore. What if we were Buddhists?’ and I said ‘Baby, you can be whatever you want.’ So I wanted to stop by and say ‘hi.'”



March 26, 2007

Sometimes I forget that the students are like little ducklings who imprinted on me last year.

I was talking to my best and brightest and asked them what “gullible” means.

“It’s like when you believe anything, Miss.”

“Did you guys know it’s not in the dictionary?” I asked, waggling my eyebrows evilly.

“Oh, really Miss? Wow,  you’re smart,” they said. And then proceeded to do some classwork.

I forgot that they totally, totally believe everything I say to them because I’m one of the “good teachers.” Now I just have to convince one of them to look it up.

time management

March 21, 2007

This has been a crazy, crazy week.

A teaching artist came in to 2 classes.

The college counselor came into all of my classes to give out transcripts and PSAT scores.

I got formally observed.

A demo-lesson was taught in my class.

Two classes were cancelled because of PD.

Friday is a half-day.

In other words, what little teaching I’m getting done is happening in spite of class, not during it, so much. When does vacation start, again?

conversation on a snowy Friday afternoon

March 16, 2007

“Miss, what kind of music did you listen to when you were in high school? Was it like, country?”

“Well, I was a kid in the 80’s and I was in high school in the 90’s…”

“Oh, I’ve heard that music! It’s all ‘Oh honey, let’s hold hands. I will pick you up in my car. I have a Volkswagon!'”

“…It’s all what?”

“And now you listen to, like, Clay Aiken and that guy who sings that song about your bad day, and that guy who sings tha song about ‘You’re beautifulllllll..'”

“Miss, is your iPod full of like, old people music?”

“When you were in high school, were iPods as big as air conditioners?”

“They didn’t have iPods, stupid. She had a CD player. And she needed a forklift to move it!”


March 14, 2007

Somewhere there’s a chart of the ups and downs of the school year — emotionally speaking — for 1st year teachers. I can’t be bothered to find it right now. I remember that you start up pretty high in September, and then there’s a serious dip before winter break, because absolutely no one wants to be there.

I don’t remember if March is supposed to be a high — spring is coming! — or a low — we haven’t had a day off in FOREVER — but it has been awful for me. The students are grumpy and rude, I find myself snapping at them and the other teachers, I’m miserably exhausted even when it’s nice outside and I’ve had enough sleep, and I want to call in sick and never, ever go back.


March 13, 2007

I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten anything as confusing in the mail as the UFT voting form. Wow. Just… wow.


Tomorrow is a field-trip day. I hope no students will die on my watch.

No, thank *you*

March 12, 2007

I know grades go in on Friday, because I just received the following note:


Dear Miss,

Please look to see if you find my work because I know I turned in in the Mao stuff. I’ll bet my life on it.

ps. Thank you for caring.

Percentage of my students who told me on the quiz that the Berlin Wall was built to separate North and South Korea? 60. Guess what we’re reviewing tomorrow…