June 15, 2008

I am returned

There’s much to tell and much to talk about.  I am to Junior High, and should the stars align, I should be back here next year as well.

It’s been a particularly busy and eventful time for myself, and rather than having become tired with writing, exactly the opposite.  I have been outlining a new book.  Tentatively entitled “A Year in the Life of a Middle School Teacher“, it will look at a year in the life of a typical middle school teacher.  Me.

This site may (or may not) act as my sounding board.  At the very least, I want to keep it as a repository of some of my experiences that may (or may not) make it into the book.

But in the meantime, some housekeeping.  About a year ago, I wrote about having had enough, and looking to make the switch to senior high school.  I wrote about my frustrations, and of new challenges I might meet in senior high, and even shared some of these with my principal.

This passage might have set some people off.  Well, I know it did judging by the comments.

On the other hand, junior high kids, day in, day out, do leave their mark.  I’m tired of the fuckheads who should be in jail, who don’t want to be in school, or who love nothing more than to interrupt the learning of their classmates.

To which Posh replied (via commentary):

You obviously don’t belong teaching. This is EXACTLY why I sent my kid to private her whole life. To avoid losers like you who take up teaching and don’t belong.

I realize in hindsight that I might not have been as clear as I might have been.

I very much love the idea of teaching.  But in today’s society, we are very rarely teachers.  We have over the years, and through a process that I call mission creep, become parents, counselers, social workers, parole officers, and prison guards.   And that is not what I signed up for.

I am a teacher.  I think I am a very good one; I motivate, I know my stuff, I know multiple ways to describe and explain things, I have a great amount of patience, and I like (genuinely like !) young people, their energy, and their enthusiasm

What I don’t like, and what gets in the way sometimes, is dealing with kids who don’t want to be at school, who refuse to show a willingness to learn, and who would rather be somewhere else than at school.

Now, far from suggesting we abandon these kids, what I suggest is that we create appropriate settings and classrooms for such.  And separate them from the earnest, the willing, the enthusiastic, the excited.

We live in a dumbed down world, a world mimicked  (or perhaps even encouraged) by the public education system.  Education is not a one-size-fits-all kind of institution, but the politically correct powers that be have made it so.  Integration of high needs or learning disabled students (without support, of course), social promotion, and the promotion of inept pedagogy are all responsible.

There are other reasons, of course.  These ones sounded like a good start to begin railing against.

And so, dear Posh (author of the above comment): I have been misunderstood.  That’s okay, my fault entirely.  I hope to make it better.

And to begin writing more.  Cheers!



October 13, 2007

A recent, but true, search engine string that led to my blog:

Fuck The Teacher alexi

Well, at least I came in first.  Anyone want to fess up?



October 1, 2007

Fail your test and you get this…


Oh, how I want to do this. But only if I’m sure.


Off (as in track)

September 29, 2007

If you read the sole comment to my (immediate previous post, you’ll notice that I’m off track.  Commenter “Syb” sez so.

She doesn’t really explain why or how so… my contention is that (at least here in Calgary) in our classes, teaching is  relegated to the lowest common denominator.  My time is spent (inordinantly) dealing with the lowest 20% who are neither able nor willing to keep up with academic work.

They should be elsewhere, but alas, we have no elsewhere to send them.

Now, admittedly,  our public schools may not be as bad as those in the US.  And thank the fucking Goods we have no such animal as NCLB, or else I think I should shoot myself right here and now.  But what we do have, well, I’m notto fond of it.  I’ve told my friends who have kids that I’d be saving right now to send mine to private school.

There is, of course, lots more to be said about this issue.  Later, children.  Later.

But in the meantime, I’ve discovered Syb’s Website, No Moron Left Behind. You should too.

It’s where I learned that the US is now outsourcing teachers?  WTF?  From India. And here’s what they (Indian teachers)  expect:

 • Students who feel privileged to be in school.

• Students who show respect by standing when the teacher enters the classroom.

• Students who behave because it is expected of them, and they don’t have to be told twice.

• Students who do the math with paper and pencil, showing the work.

• Students who cram into class and endure boring chalk-and-slate presentations.

• Students who write a page or two when a paragraph would suffice.

• Students who wear uniforms to school.

I should expect so much.



September 27, 2007

Dull. As in dull kids. And what to do with them.

From Jerry Pournelle’s blog (the original blog, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) (Go to Friday):

Rich families can send their kids to good schools. That means that even bright normal kids from wealthy families have a chance to learn more than the basic minimums.

Really bright kids from less wealthy families have to go to public schools so they get to pay a horrible tax: they are put into classrooms where the teacher is far more concerned with getting the very dull, dull, and dull normal kids to pass a test than in teaching bright kids anything at all. The bright ones won’t be left behind.

So the bright kids put up with discipline problems, disruptions, special ed kids who have been mainstreamed, and a general lack of teacher time; in exchange they get all the benefits of diversity. Odd, but most of those who can escape diversity choose to do so.

But I am sure that this is a dangerous way to talk. It will not be all that long before there is a movement to jail Diversity Deniers.

In 1983 Glenn T. Seaborg as Chair of the National Commission on Education concluded that if a foreign government had imposed our system of public education on the United States we would rightly consider it an act of war.

It has not become better since then; and No Child Left Behind has made it even worse. Diversity and Mainstreaming are disastrous. Yes, yes: it’s probably better for at least some of the very dull, dull, and handicapped kids to be mainstreamed. But the cost of that is to neglect the bright ones.

Wealth and private schools have given us some reprieves here. Teachers understand the situation and send their kids to private schools when possible. But any bright normal kid born to a poor family is pretty well doomed to learn diversity without learning a lot more.

Whether we can sustain a First World economy with an education system indistinguishable from an act of war against the people of the United States is a very interesting experiment; but haven’t we run it long enough?

Couldn’t agree more. If I had kids, I’d do my damndest to send them to private school.



September 24, 2007

Hot off the press; Teacher fired for telling students that the Bible isn’t literal.

A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.

Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class Tuesday. He said he was fired Thursday.

I wonder if the CBE would fire me if it knew that I’ve said the very same thing. I’ve even said worse, like “humas and ape are descended from a common ancestor”. Or that we share 98% of the DNA of some common mammals.

Couldn’t happen in Canada, eh?

And this, from This Modern World:

Mind you… as a scientist, I’m rather partial to theories.



September 19, 2007

The world is getting stupider every day. Trouble is, we teachers need to deal with the parents who sit at home and watch this shit.

Is the Earth flat? What the fuck?