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Monthly Archives: August 2009

And it has nothing to do with my 49th birthday four days ago.

In my AP Stats class we are working on how to interpret graphs. The graph we’re working with shows the number of drive-in movie theaters in the U.S. by year, starting in 1988. There is a huge drop-off between 1988 and 1990. I ask the class, “What do you think might have contributed to this trend?”

Blank stares and the sounds of crickets…

“C’mon, somebody give me a possible reason. It doesn’t have to be right, lets just throw out an idea.”

Bland stares…

“One reason… just one… anybody?”

Precious child in the front, “Did they pass some kinda law?”

“No, but thanks for trying. Anybody else?”


Me, “Why did people go to drive-ins?”

Kid, “To make out in the back seat?”

Me, “Good answer. Why the drive-in though, why not at a regular theater?”

Kid, “If you’re in your car its private.”

Me, “Good answer. Now, what happened in 1988 to let you watch movies in private?”

Blank stares, crickets…

“C’mon, thinks about it, it isn’t that hard… Anybody? What became popular in 1988 or about then?”

At this point it has become obvious I’m not going to get the answer I’m looking for.

“That’s when the VCR became affordable and popular. People could watch movies at home.”

Blank stares, crickets…

One kid tentatively raises his hand. “What’s a VCR?”

Now I’m the one with the blank stare. “Y’all don’t know what a VCR is?”

Another kid says, “Is that the thing that’s like an 8-track for video?”

Seriously, getting old…

Being the cynical bastard that I am I was sure that my first geometry test would be typical. Sure, kids are turning in homework at a record pace, but they’re probably copying.

In the past, a little more than half the class usually fails the first geometry test. The kids aren’t sure what my tests look like, they really haven’t gotten back into the routine of school, they haven’t really been giving their best effort, the first test they haven’t mastered the vocabulary of geometry.

Tested my kids today. 58 kids took the test.

30 A’s – including 7 100’s
13 B’s

only 4 F’s

Let me sleep. Don’t wake me up. This is a good dream.

E-mail from a teacher today:

You told us we got a step and a half raise this year. I only got $80.

Okay, what step are you on? She told me. Okay this is your salary this year, this was your salary last year. That’s $1050.00.

I still have my paystub from last August. My August check this year is only $80 more than last year.

(really folks, I don’t make this chit up…)

Well, if you divide $1050 by 12 thats $87. I’m guessing the missing $7 is taxes…

So you’re telling me I have to divide my raise by 12?


(that’s the actual results when you repeatedly bang your head on a keyboard)

A teacher comes to school today. While checking her mailbox she mentions to another teacher that she woke up with a headache and a little sick to her stomach.

A secretary overhears the conversation and tells the assistant principal.

The assistant principal goes to the teacher’s room and tells her to go home.

Perplexed the teacher asks, “Why?”

She’s told that if she feels sick she needs to go home. She insists that while she woke up and didn’t feel 100%, after a shower, a cup of coffee and toast she’s fine now.

The assistant principal says he doesn’t care how she feels now, if she woke up sick she needs to go home. “You never know if you got the swine flu.”

I had to ask today.

Again today, every kid turned in their homework.

This is my 12th year teaching and this has NEVER happened before.

So I asked.

“I’ve never had classes that did their homework as much as y’all. What is happening that is causing you guys to do so well?”

And every kid that answered said, “I don’t want a pink slip.”

Really. That’s all it took?

The first day of school I had “pink slips” prepared and explained to the kids how it would work. I told them that I collected homework every day. If they didn’t have their homework ready to turn in at the beginning of class they had to fill out a “pink slip.” These are simply a form on hot pink paper. There is a place for their name, the date, the assignment they missed, a checklist for why the assignment wasn’t ready and a place for them to sign. I told them that I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it, they weren’t going to get in trouble for a “pink slip” I just wanted a record of why they weren’t getting their work done. I’d enter a zero in the gradebook and put the “pink slip” in their file.

In all honesty I didn’t expect this to cause them to do their homework, I just wanted something to give mommy when she comes to see about their poor grade.

It turns out, for whatever reason, the kids just don’t want a “pink slip” in their file.

I don’t know why, but so far so good.

What was the biggest problem my students had last year?

Not turning in homework.

What did I do?

I spent a lot of time this summer researching ways to improve on this aspect of teaching. I read a lot of research. I created forms for the kids to fill out. I had a plan. The little bastards weren’t getting away with it this year.

First assignment: 65 of 66 turned in.
Second assignment: 64 of 64 turned in.
Third assignment: 63 of 64 turned in.

What was the second biggest problem I had last year?


What did I do?

I spent a lot of time this summer researching ways to improve on this aspect of teaching. I read a lot of research. I created forms for the kids to fill out. I had a plan. The little bastards weren’t getting away with it this year.

5 days into the year, guess how many tardies I’ve had.

Zero, zilch, nada, none.

Yes, I know. I’d complain about a new rope too…

I have two sections of geometry this year, with a total of 66 kids.

I gave an assignment yesterday.

Today, 65 of the 66 kids turned in the work.

Harbinger of things to come? I can only hope…

Our school district doesn’t have a “dress code” for teachers, we are expected to dress professionally and appropriately for the workplace.

During a meeting yesterday a teacher came up to me while I was sitting at a table and said her principal had told her that her blouse was inappropriate for the classroom. She asked me, “What about this is bad?”

I slid my legal pad to her side of the table and asked her to write down her name and which principal had spoken with her. She bent over to write. Ohhhhh. Now I understand.

I told her, “I think I may see the problem. You’re wearing a lacy pink half cup bra with front hooks. You have a mole on the left one that you might want to have a doctor look at. I can actually see your belly button ring from here. I think your principal might be right on this one.”

She said, “I teach first graders, do you really think they’re going to look?”


Kids show up tomorrow at 7:50 am. I’m not ready for this. I have two sections of Geometry, 33 students in each class. My room can fit 28 desks. Wooty-woot-woot.

I’m back. Keep it quiet, I don’t want my RL peeps to know… Not only am I still in the classroom, but now I’m also the president of the local teacher’s union. If you think students can give me funny things to talk about, you’ll really enjoy some of the dumbass things teachers do and say…