Archive for March, 2007


Held to a standard

March 30, 2007

Teacher Dan, over at Dy/Dan, has called me out for assigning “the little fuckers” an extra dose when they screw around. For the record, it was a throw-away line. Not everyone may appreciate my humour.

I sure as shit don’t.

But in exploring his site, I found an earlier posting of his that challenges the homework mythos. As I told Dan in a comment, I want to believe that the homework thang is largely mythical and without merit. But I also know form personal experience that in some cases it’s necessary.

Grade nine, absolutely. Grade four, perhaps not so much.


I’ve had enough

March 29, 2007

Well, it’s not as though I’ve really had enough – I’d have quit by now – but I have made the decision to transfer to senior high school.  While it’s by no means a sure thing, I remain hopeful.  My colleagues tell me it’s difficult to transfer between divisions like this.

I guess we’ll see how many people I’ve pissed off.

But I am of conflicted mind about the move.  On the one hand, junior high is way so less stressful. I know the subject matter backwards, and in two languages.  I can plan an off the cuff lesson (say, after an all nighter, during which I might have lesson prepped) in real time, and put together a lab activity in ten minutes. And the kids don’t even have a clue. And those junior high behaviours… well, lets just say that I behave much like they do, so we have an understanding.

It’s not so tough as long as you understand where adolescents are coming from.

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.

Senior high will be a challenge.  I’ll no doubt have to get up to speed with the various programs of study and deal with more demanding students and parents.  But hey! I know my science.  Before teaching I was a research biolchemist.  Shared a lab, an NSERC grant, and some nominally cutting edge research.

Unfortunately, there was no money in that. So I became a teacher.  I know, stupid move.

So there you go.  I’ll let you know what happens.


I love homework

March 22, 2007

It’s almost as though I planned it this way. A few days of musing about homework, and I just knew (the little hairs on the back of the neck kind of feeling) that I’d be dealing with parents about homework.

Well earlier this week, I had three parents form a common front and come to me with their concerns. Oh, and “there of lots of other concerned parents too… we’ve been talking to them”.

Yeh, right. Please keep in mind that I offer up about 30 minutes of homework every other day. Rarely on weekends, and never over holidays.

I’m trying to get a read on how much homework Alfie Kohn would suggest is reasonable for grade 9. Let’s see what he has to say from an article entitled Rethinking Homework, from which I shall pull out excerpts (italicized) and respond (bolded, just cos I can).

Read the rest of this entry ?


I’ve wanted to say this many times

March 18, 2007


Never had the guts, though. Unabashedly stolen from What It’s Like On The Inside.


Carnival 110

March 14, 2007

the one hundred and tenth edition of the Carnival of Education is hosted by the Educational Wonks this week. I was tardy in submitting this week. Damn.

But I did make it to last week’s

By the way, is it just me who thinks that Blogger’s “click on the date to get a specific post” way of doing things sucks? It does. Just me?


Why bother with homework

March 13, 2007

A very good friend of mine is a grade 6 teacher. I’m continually amazed by how much homework grade sixes are doing these days. Perhaps it has something to do with provincial achievement exams (we run our kids through a battery of testing at grades 3, 6, 9, and 12), but I cannot remember doing any significant amount of homework when I was in grade school, some thirty years ago.

Have times really changed that much?

On the other hand, I’ve turned out to be a bit of a hard-ass when it comes to homework (quelle surpise); I give it and I offer few apologies for it.

But I remain conflicted… do kids need to be doing two hours a night in grade nine? Are there true pedagogical benefits to homework?

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March 9, 2007

This goes with my post below:


From Indexed: I know you’re special. Now give me my fries. Funny, how things work.