Friday, June 02, 2006

Stretch run

Signs that the year is coming to an end:
-"Mr. Brown, what can I do to get my grade up? Do you have extra credit? Do you know that other teachers accept late work?"

-The yearly faculty function is this Saturday. This year we are paying $12 per person for a beef, chicken, or fish dinner. We have to bring our own drink and our own snackables. I poked fun about the price to the teacher in our building that is setting up the whole function. I commented about the price vs. the value of the function, and that the lower paid teachers had to pay the burden of the price. I was half kidding. The way I look at it, a nice function is a huge BBQ at a park some afternoon. Cheap, easy, fun. Of course, the reaction I would get is, "Hey, why don't you plan it?". My response, "Um, no." I have a couple of other things to focus on, like 150 Seniors.

-Checking in books. Believe it or not, it has taken me this long to figure out that you should turn in your books quite a bit early. In the past, I've almost forgotten about the books, which becomes a problem because those that don't get books in are fined and can't receive their yearbooks. I've finally got a reasonable system down. New teachers out there might be going, "God, why is that a big deal?". Like a lot of things in teaching, you don't usually have a big deal, you have a massive amount of little deals. All those little deals have a habit if interfering with good teaching if left unchecked.

-"Any idea if Jane is going to pass?"
"I don't know. She's borderline and her final is Wednesday, 6/14."
"Well, Senior failures are due on Wednesday, 6/14. Any way I can find out before that?"
"Her final is on that day. I'll know after the final."
"I know, but can I give the parent any hint on progress?."
"Sure. She needs to be here every day, do all the work better than a 'D' average, and do well on the final."
"But nothing more concrete I can tell the parents?"
I have this conversation at least twice a day. Of course my answer to the last question is usually, "No". What I want the last answer to be is, "More concrete? Tell them that if I was her boss, I would have fired her back in Janurary."

-Which brings us to the attendance issue, which is still a joke. I still have borderline kids coming in late, or missing days of class. I still think the minimum number of required days should be instituted for students to pass the class. It is a royal pain in the ass to constantly deal with make up work because Mom and Dad can't rouse Jim or Jane out of bed in the morning to go to school. If we were setting a 15 day absence limit, about 40% of my zero period class would fail. But once again, we enable the little kiddies, especially the Seniors, and don't prepare them for college. Eighteen year old students sign themselves out and then expect teachers to do the extra work in preparing the missed assignments, and grading them later. I think I might make my make up work a freaking nightmare next year. Think about it. They are missing an hours worth of a college prep class. In my college classes, I could write a few page essay in that time. Sounds like a plan, summarize a certain chapter as make-up work. Either that or parents can start being parents and kick their kids ass out of bed. "I overslept." with two weeks to go is a bad sign.

-Why do I love my Seniors? Two weeks left and I watch some instructors already done with the year. These are the questions I'm getting:
"Can we turn the x-axis of Excel's graph into currency?"
"Can we make a few employee handbooks for the judges?"
"How do you compute the rate of return for my portfolio?"
"Do I need to add my dividend to the final bank account balance?"
"Can I find statistics on the unemployment outlook?"
"I e-mailed the owner of the drive-in. Can I do my interview by e-mail?"
"How can I calculate the cost of one unit if that unit is a video game rental or a set time playing at a computer terminal?"
"Should utilities be considered start-up costs?"
"Should my demand survey answers be whole numbers or percentages?"
"Disney bought out Pixar. How do I look up Pixar's old stock price?"

Intro doing Stock Projects. College Prep doing Econ Expo. I love it when a plan comes together.
blog comments powered by Disqus