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Monthly Archives: January 2009

3rd consecutive snow day.

We now, however, will be in school into June.

Oh well…

The student handbook for my school states that any student with a grade of 69 or lower will be assigned mandatory tutoring.  The staff handbook states that any student with a grade of 69 or lower will be assigned mandatory tutoring.

The first 20 minutes of the school day is set aside as “mastery learning” time.  This is when students go to tutoring.  The math department can “reserve” a student on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We turn in a list every week with the names of the kids we’ve assigned to tutoring.

Most teachers have 25+ kids who should be in tutoring.  25+ kids/20 minutes doesn’t give much time for real tutoring.

I make myself available one hour before school and one hour after school every day.  If a kid’s grade falls below 70 they have to serve 40 minutes sometime during the week.  They can do one 40 minutes stretch or 10 minutes a day for 4 days, whatever.

Because of my flexible schedule for tutoring most of the kids who need the extra help spend a considerable more time in tutoring than 40 minutes.

 Not all teachers do any tutoring other than the mastery learning time.  They have complained that they can’t do any real tutoring with so many kids.  The administration told us last September to only assign mandatory tutoring for kids who are failing, maybe someday we’ll be able to catch the kids with D’s, but not now.

Whatever.  I still assign tutoring for kids with a 69 or lower.

I get a note in my box yesterday from my AP.  She wants me to stop by her office during my planning to discuss my tutoring list.

She starts the meeting by congratulating me on my failure rate.  First semester 8.3% of my students failed (the average for the math department is a little more than 25%.  I’m not sure if that is an indictment on the quality of teaching, or the quality of our students, but it is what it is…).  She wants to know why I have 29 names on my tutoring list if only 10 students are failing.

Because I have 19 students with D’s.

We don’t place students with D’s in tutoring.  That is only for failing students.

That’s not what the handbooks say.

You know we changed that.

I don’t know why though.  You do realize that a student needs to score 70 or better to pass the state tests, right?

There are too many students failing to worry about the D students.  [yes, that is an exact quote]

My failure rate is so low because I expect my kids to make a 70.  Kids work up, or down, to your expectations.  You used to teach, you know that.

It doesn’t matter.  Quit assigning kids who are passing to tutoring.

Really?  Lower my standards.  That’s what you’re telling me?

I’m telling you to quit assigning tutoring to kids who are passing.  You’re making the other teachers look bad.


God forbid I try to make a difference.

January 1, 2007

My best friend called me a few days earlier and asked me if I wanted to join a “biggest loser” contest he was putting on with his family.  We would weigh ourselves on New Year’s Day and again on April Fool’s Day and the one who lost the most, by average, would be the winner.  Sounded good to me.  I weighed in that day at 313 lbs and was wearing a 52 inch waist pants.

April 1, 2007

I weighed 292.  For the math impaired, that was a 21 lb. loss for roughly 7%.  Nobody else in the game lasted past the first week, but I was happy with the results.

Summer 2007

Buying clothes for school I’m now in 48  inch waist pants.  Good deal.

January 1, 2008

Weighed in at 284.  Still wearing the same pants I bought in the summer.

January 24, 2009

Weighed in at 261.  I’m still wearing the pants I bought in summer 2007, but I have had to buy a new belt.  I cinch them up so they won’t fall down.  My wife tells me I have to buy some new blue jeans.  I’m hoping that I can fit into 44 inch waist.  I take the 44’s into the dressing room.  Too big.  I walked out of the store with 42’s. 

woooty woot woot.

BTW, the magic diet?

I quit eating so much.  Portion control.  No seconds.  No late night snacks.

I haven’t lost anything in 4 or 5 months.  I joined a gym this week.  Goal:  size 38’s by the end of the year.  I don’t think I’ve worn those since 6th grade…

I’ve been trying to write a post to vent my anger at the absolute stupidity of the administration at my school for the last 30 minutes.

I can’t.

I’ve started over 4 times.

I guess I’m just going to have to go indulge in some adult beverages.  I promise not to drive.

My school encouraged all teachers to let the students watch the inauguration today.  All day.  The whole thing.  It is important to watch as history is being made.

Okay.  I agree, this is an important event.  An event that should be witnessed.  I don’t know how I can tie it into a math lesson, so we’ll just watch so someday these kids can tell their grandchildren about it.

Right smack dab in the middle of President Obama’s speech the P.A. system crackeled to life.

Somebody picked that moment to tell teachers that the photo schedule for clubs to get their yearbook pictures were in our boxes.  It was also important to tell the students that large posters had been placed in all the main hallways with the same schedule posted.

And then they repeated the entire announcement.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not female…

While shopping with my wife today, and by shopping I mean carrying bags, something occurred to me.

Standing in front of a set of shelves stocked with jeans I noticed the size 2, 3 and 4 jeans were on the top shelf and the size 16 and 18 jeans were on the bottom shelf.

Wouldn’t it be easier for the little girls to bend over to go through the jeans?

My wife and I and a teacher friend and her husband are relaxing and de-compressing at the watering hole last night when I noticed a table across the room.

6 young people.  Young enough to be in high school.  Actually, they are in high school.  4 of them are in my classes.

No.  This is unacceptable.  I deal with the little bastards enough at work.  They aren’t going to take over my roadhouse…

While my friend goes to tell the management their bouncer isn’t looking close enough at IDs I manage to sneak up on them without being noticed.

“Don’t y’all have homework to do?”

Scared the bejeezus out of ’em. 

Between seeing me and the three bouncers headed their way, they abandoned their pitcher and practically ran out the door.

I hope they tell the rest of the school that particular karaoke bar is off limits.

In my first period class today two girls came over to my desk just before the bell rang.  They asked me if I could make sure that if I’m ever gone I don’t get the same substitute teacher that they had in Spanish class yesterday.

I asked them why.

They told me that the teacher had left a lesson plan and an assignment for them to work on in class.  The sub instead showed them a movie, Horton Hears A Who.  While the movie was running they said he lectured the class on how the movie was really about abortion.  He would stop the movie to explain the point the that was trying to be made and then try to start a discussion about abortion, how it was murder and against God’s laws.

They said at one point he was yelling at them and so stressed out his face was turning red and the cords in his neck were standing out.

I guess $55 per day doesn’t buy as good a quality substitute as it used to.

in my algebra 2 class today i was teaching about conjugates of complex numbers.

(if you need, i’ll give you a few minutes to google that…)

a young man sitting near the back raised his hand. 

“i got an uncle in big mac (state maximum security prison) who gets one conjugate visit every month.”

uhm, no he doesn’t.  those are called, ‘conjugal visits’ and they don’t have anything to do with math.

“i’m pretty sure they’re called conjugate mr. w.”

no.  let’s get back to the lesson.

later, as i’m passing through the class and helping, encouraging, crackin’ the whip i hear the kid say to the guy next to him, “mr. w thinks he’s a english teacher.  i know those are conjugate visits.”

in retrospect i should have realized that the potential is there for many of the kids in that particular class to be in need of conjugal visits in the future.  maybe i should have veered off the lesson plan today…

a student who missed all of last week asked me today if she had to make up the work she missed.

i told her “of course.”

she wanted to know when she was supposed learn the material.

i told her i’m in my room at 7 every morning and stay an hour after school every day.

“i have to come in on my own time to learn this crap?”

uh, yeah.

shriekingly she told me, “it isn’t my fault i got sick last week.  i shouldn’t have to make up that work.  i’m going to appeal to the superintendent.”

go ahead sweety.  i hope you win…