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Monthly Archives: February 2009

How appropriate.

I gained another freakin’ pound.

I have, however, lost almost an inch off the waist, gained almost an inch in my chest, gained almost an inch on the bicep.

You know you’ve been a teacher too long when you’re sitting in the bar and the bartender points toward the pool tables and yells, “FIGHT!” and your first reaction is to go break it up…

The hot rumor at school is that I got a tat this past weekend.


During my 2nd period Geometry class the kids wanted to see it. I showed them and they wanted to know why I put that ribbon around the pi sign. I explained that there were two reasons: First, it represents infinity, and pi is infinite and second it is a mobius strip. Of course nobody knew what a mobius strip was so I threw out the plans, got out rolls of adding machine tape and we made mobius strips. It was a blast watching the kids try to figure out how there could only be one side on the paper and how if you cut it down the middle you still only have one strip. Even the kids who don’t get involved on a daily basis were actively participating.

The best part for me was explaining why I chose this particular design. I explained that, in my mind at least, if you are going to permanently mark your body it should have meaning, not just a design that you might not care for a few years down the road. While the kids were working on their strips I heard two girls commenting on how they were re-thinking plans for getting tats on their 18th birthdays. One of my seniors who has a large band tat on his bicep told the other kids that he wishes he’d waited, that after two years he didn’t think it was as cool as it once was.

They pay me to teach math, but I live for days I can teach about life too.

I teach high school math. That is what they pay me for. At various times I also teach english, and history, and science. While I believe that my subject is the absolute most important subject on the campus, I realize that kids need help with other things so, if they ask, I do what I can. I’m pretty smart, if I do say so myself, and the kids know I can answer most of their questions, and point them in the right direction if need be.

One of the math classes I teach is Advanced Placement Statistics. These kids are the cream of the crop, the best and smartest kids in my school. This course is a college-level class and I teach it as such, and treat the kids differently than I do my other classes. I try to treat them as adults and my classroom rules are somewhat relaxed. For instance, if I see one of the students texting I may make a comment about how they need to pay attention, but I won’t take the phone. They also know if they are texting and ask me a question later about the material they missed I will, quite literally, laugh in their faces.

Today one of my best students was busy texting while I was lecturing. This is the third year I’ve had her in class so we have a pretty good relationship. I was teaching away about hypothesis testing and had just finished an example and asked if anyone had a question.

Her Highness (she was homecoming queen) raised her hand and said, “I have a question.”

With great anticipation of shaming her for being on her phone while I was lecturing I said, “Fire away.”

Her question? “How do you spell ‘inconsiderate’ and is asshole one word or two?”

I was quite taken aback. I just sat there for a moment. The rest of the class had a collective gasp. Then I asked her, “Is someone sending a text to her boyfriend?”


“Why would you ask that in class?”

“Well, if I’m going to tell someone off I don’t want to make spelling mistakes. That wouldn’t look right.”

I guess she’s got a point…

At least I broke even this week…

Maybe I’ve turned a corner, metabolism wise.

I went and got number 1 done yesterday.

Call in sick every Valentine’s Day (or the Friday before if its on a weekend).

7 1/2 hours stuck with teenagers hopped up on sugar, with hormones rampaging, and jealous fits, is not my idea of fun.

That strange noise you hear? It’s me banging my head on the table.

In our PLC meeting this morning…

Okay, let me backtrack. If you are an educator you may be aware of the newest fad sweeping the nation, Professional Learning Communities. Basically it is a weekly meeting of a group of teachers to discuss ways to improve instruction. Back in the day we called this LUNCH. Now, however, we take 45 minutes of instruction time every week to hold these oh so important meetings.

Today’s meeting. The district math coach is telling us about how she has found a great website with dozen of links to other great websites. She passes out a printed copy of the site she’s talking about.

Sure enough, there are maybe 35 links listed on the sheet. Links. No URL’s. Just the link. And the URL for the original page? Nowhere on the handout.

I believe in modeling the behavior I expect in class, so I raised my hand. She acknowledged me and I asked her what we’re suppose to do with this.

She said, in a sarcastic tone, “They’re links. You click on them and they take you to another website.”


So I took my pen and started poking the paper. Loudly. And each time I did it I said, “Click. Click. It ain’t workin. Click.”

I’ve figured out to solve so many of the problems in my school.

There are 5 assistant principals. We only need 4. The 5th one was the principal at another school here in town, but he pissed of the super and got canned. He’s definitely the best one we’ve got, and he’s the “principal in waiting,” unofficially of course. All of them have been in administration for 15+ years.

So here’s my idea. Each year rotate one of the APs back into the classroom for a year. Still pay them their admin salary, that’s okay with me, but remind them on a regular basis what its like to be in the room.

Of course, that makes too much sense, so it will never be tried.

I’m at the gym working out this afternoon. I’ve been thinking about paying the money to get some personal training sessions. There are 5 trainers at my gym you can choose from. In the time I’ve been there I’ve watched them work with clients. 4 of them don’t impress me, they either don’t seem fit themselves or they seem bored and distracted while they’re working with their clients. 1 guy seems to know what he’s doing. He’s energetic and when he’s with a client he gives them his full attention.

While I was walking away the miles on the treadmill he was working with a lady today. I decided when I got done I was going to talk to him about setting up a program. He was behind the desk when I got done. I was walking up to the desk to talk to him and he said, “You don’t miss many days do you?” I said no, I try not to. Then he says, “I can tell. You’re looking good.”

Well, if I’m looking good doing what I’m doing, I’ll save my money…