Tag Archives: School

Dress Code Violation?

This article makes me wonder. It’s about a sixth-grader who was forced to turn her pro-life t-shirt inside out when she wore it to school. Would the same be true for someone who wore a pro-choice shirt, or a religiously-themed one? For example, if my sister borrowed my MoE t-shirt (which I wouldn’t let her do) and wore it to her (public) school, could she get in trouble for “proclaiming the beauty of the Catholic faith” (which it says on the back)?

Those aren’t the most fully developed thoughts, but that’s all I have right now.

via DetentionSlip.org, a site on which I always feared my former school might appear

More Gems from My Students

Suffice it to say that between the flu and my accident, I have more work than usual to catch up on this weekend. My first sub assignment was for the students to use their vocabulary words in sentences. They had some trouble the first few times I gave them that assignment. I got sentences such as “What is a cascade?” As far as I can tell, you have no idea what the word means if that’s the kind of sentence you create.

A few classes did the assignment when I was with them on Wednesday because it never got to the sub. I’ve read sentences such as “Miss W”s germs suffused the classroom; they filled it” and “The teacher Mrs. W., needed a respite because she is very ill and need[s] to relax.” At least he understands and was polite.

Out of the Mouths of Students

My tenth-graders were assigned to write about the qualities of a good leader as a prereading activity for the Aeneid. One of my girls wrote this (lack of focus and extraneous punctuation were left intact):

Good leaders have qualities of a president. For example Martin Luther King Jr; he wanted to help those around him get equal rights and to be treated fairly. A teacher like Miss. W. is good as a leader. She helps me whenever I need it and she tries to make sure we understand and comprehend what we do. Miss. W. takes misfortune and turns it completely around, she ignores it and pray’s for it to get better. In the face of adversity Martin Luther King Jr. kept going and fighting for what was right until his time came to be with God.

I’m no Dr. King, but at least she gets what I’m trying to do every day. At least someone at this school gets it.

My Progress Report

I feel quite accomplished. I stayed up until about 2 a.m. blogging yesterday, but only because I spent an hour or two conquering the Iliad. I didn’t read the whole thing, only the excerpts in my World Lit textbook, but now I have a plan for how to guide my students through it. I also realized that Achilles is a really angry man, and that I should see if I can show my students any relevant scenes from Troy.

I always hated worksheets, especially in AP Lit in twelfth grade. I realized sometime during that year that what Ms. Sim was doing was guiding us through our reading. We would have to read a chapter of Lord of the Flies or one of the Canterbury Tales, then answer ten or twelve questions, some easier than others. When we came to class, we could use our “worksheet” answers during the class discussion. She was really giving us discussion points, just like Adkins for AP US History, but she called them by another name.

I still hate worksheets, but I think my kids need them. My teacher’s edition has comprehension level, plot-based questions for “less proficient readers,” as well as literary analysis discussion points. Before, I tried to actually lead a discussion using those points. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it failed miserably. I experienced more failure than success, to be honest. I had the most success when I walked them through the plot and the analysis points for Gilgamesh. Some of them even said Gilgamesh was their favorite of the (admittedly few) stories we read last semester. I know that tackling the Iliad will be difficult, and it will determine whether I bother with the Odyssey. I’m going to try using worksheets, though. I’ve just typed out the comprehension and analysis questions from my TE, but it should help as we read aloud in-class. If I can get them to keep learning pronunciations, we should manage.

It was a hard semester, but I learned from it. I would prefer to sit around finishing Rediscovering Catholicism, or just visit friends until I fly back to AL. I know that putting so much effort into planning even two weeks of lessons will pay off in the end, though. I have to believe that.

Slight Progress

I got the key to my classroom yesterday. I had to swipe the key to my closet on Wednesday because I needed an immediate solution to classroom theft, but I plan to copy it and give it back.

My students are only allowed to write in blue or black ink. I tolerate some unusual shades of blue and erasable pens, but anything written in pencil got a zero. It was harsh, but “don’t use a pencil” is a basic instruction. However, they are still children, so I buy cheap black pens at Wal-Mart and sell them to my students for 25 cents each. I point out whenever they buy pens that they could buy them themselves much cheaper, or borrow them from classmates for free, but they continue to come to me.

When they leave their textbooks behind (or say they’ve been stolen from their lockers) and I find them, I put them in my drawer and charge $1 per book to give them back. There are about fifteen textbooks in my drawer right now; my class requires two books, which are loaned to students as if they were in public school.

All of this added up to an envelope with around $20 cash in my top desk drawer. Tuesday night was the first home basketball game, so when I left around 5:30 p.m., there were still dozens of students running around the unlocked building. When I arrived Tuesday morning, the envelope was gone. I mentioned this to my housemates, who encouraged me to report it to my principal and ask for a key to my room. I did.

I got the key to my classroom yesterday.

Happy Student Moments

Last week, I reviewed my tenth-graders’ homework on adverbs. One of my relatively talkative girls said, “Miss W., this is the first time I haven’t been bored in your class.” I was excited about adverbs, as I always am about grammar, but that made my day.

Tonight, I’m grading vocabulary quizzes I gave while preparing for our ridiculously early standardized tests. For part of the quiz, the students had to choose any word from the word bank to write in a contextual sentence. I didn’t call them “contextual sentences,” but most of them got the point. One of my ninth-grade boys wrote, “In class today I could not erudite what the teacher was teaching because of all the distractions.” I read it to my housemates, and responded in writing, “Nice try, but it’s still incorrect.” Then I drew a smiley face. He also wrote, “My friends were to drunk to drive so I was the designated driver since I don’t drink.” I corrected his spelling and reminded myself that he can’t legally drive, either.

My kids are ridiculously badly behaved, but at least there are some moments that make me glad to do what I do.

Rewind

It figures that right after I had the biggest moment of my blogging life, I got so busy that I couldn’t even post. Now isn’t really an exception. There are so many things I could and should be doing that I have to be quick. I’ll go with one-sentence updates on the past two weeks.

Independence Day: I was productive in the morning, then tried to go see the fireworks on the National Mall with my roommates and friends, but we bailed when the storm warning came in and wound up missing everything.

Last week, my car refused to shift out of park, so I was humbled by taking the bus.

Matt W. and I have started planning our section of HONR 100 for the fall, which makes me very excited about getting to teach again.

Some people think the story behind The Wave is a hoax, which is unsettling because Matt and I are teaching it this fall regardless.

Fr. Bill’s last Masses at the CSC are this weekend, and I’m going to miss him so much!

I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at midnight on Tuesday with Sara, Guy, and Guy’s roommate James, and though it could have been a little better (even considering the chasm between books and film adaptations), I was pleased.

Archbishop O’Brien, formerly of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, who confirmed me, is coming to Baltimore.

I am crazy busy, but I feel right with God again, and I’m keeping things under control.

More extensive posting later, I promise.

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