Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Education Carnival

The Education Carnival is over at Thespis Journal this week.

Take a break from grading and check it out!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Much better

Day Two went much better than Day One. Even though it was only the day we discuss class policy, I felt much better in terms of ebb and flow in the classroom. I introduced the news to the class, which started eliciting more questions for classes in the afternoon. In fact, I got a lot more questions, good questions, from my Intro level class that were interested Iraq, Afghanistan, and even the legal situation behind Marc Karr. Anyone that doesn't think kids are interested in what's going on is nuts.

In terms of class numbers, it looks like this:

International Studies- 34 (FULL CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!)
2nd Period Gov- 34
3rd Period Intro Gov- 34
4th Period Gov- 33
5th Period Intro Gov- 14

Yep, you read the last one right, 14. That class is after lunch and Seniors coming in after lunch is like pulling teeth. Trust me, that class is going to end up getting smaller before it gets bigger. They'll end up going to another one of my classes, but post-lunch classes are widely unpopular.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A real first impression

Think that Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana has made the point?

So do I.

Fed up with inappropriate outfits, the principal suspended (128) students for one day Wednesday, minutes after doors opened at the school. Those suspended represent more than 10 percent of the 1,200 total students.

The offending attire -- including baggy pants, low-cut shirts, tank tops and graphic T-shirts -- are banned from classrooms. Students were also cited for cell phone use.


The rule was known, the judgment was immediate, the consequence was clear. Very well done!

Blah

I was tired when I woke up.

I totally overreached my audience, like I was too.....something, like I tried too hard.

I was out of energy by 3rd period.

I've already someone e-mail me with a complaint about my class.

And that's the first day.

The good news is that it will definitely get better.

I looked at last year's blog entry for the start of school and found that I was in a funk back then as well, although it was for other reasons. Within a week, the funk was gone and I ended up having a good year. That's part of the reason I blog, for the reflective aspect that I can't get anywhere else.

I've also been working on my website. Go check it out at www.coachbrown.net and give me some feedback. Obviously, it is a work in progress as I add in assignments and links.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

State of the district

On the final Friday before we get the little knotheads, the district has its yearly meeting to try and let us know what's going down. Out of all the meetings we have, the first 15-20 minutes of this meeting is usually the most interesting. We find out all the nasty little political information that we don't hear on the outside. The presentation is made by our Super, who I happen to really like because he really thinks like an administrator AND a teacher. In fact, his overall attitude is one of the reasons that I couldn't stand being around the majordomos of the union. There are people in the organization that are simply out to make the Super looked like Emperor Palpatine (*cough* CTA rep) without taking into consideration that our purse strings are controlled by the morons in Sacramento.

An update on the State of the District:
-COLA is going up. I'm not going to be specific, except to say that I'm happy about it.
-At the same time, health fees are still $150 a month.
-The district is still in declining enrollment. In fact, since 1999 the district has lost 12% of it's student population, and it continues to decrease. Believe it or not, it isn't charter schools. All the information points to families not only leaving Ukiah, but the state as well. In fact, California is in a process of declining enrollment not seen since World War 1.
-Saw some charter school information. First, the idiot politicians are so on charter school's jock that it isn't even funny. As you know, ADA money travels with the student when they transfer to a charter school. However, if the student transfers back to the public school, the money remains at the charter. Our district lost tens of thousands of dollars in this manner.
-To add on to the charter school issue, 7th grade is the year that sees a dramatic exodus to charter schools. Interestingly enough, many of those same kids are returning during their high school years. In fact, more kids return than leave to go to charter schools between grades 9-12. Hmmmmmm, did I mention something about this in an earlier post?
-Back in December, we had a little flooding problem. Hopland Elementary school had a mammoth flooding problem that destroyed the school. With the help of teachers, staff, and a good contractor, the school will be ready for action by opening day on Monday.

On a more personal note, I'm ready.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Return

I've now been consistently back for about three days now, and the feeling is different than in the last five years.

Basically, I'm a lot more confident that I'm ready to go, with one exception that I'll discuss later.

When I mean confident, I mean that the nervousness about Government (four of my classes) is gone. I'm totally prepared to teach it, I'm confident with my classroom management style, I like the material that I use....I'm just much more focused than I used to be. I'm not anxious in the slightest about teaching the subject matter or getting the students engaged. I guess I just feel ready to go!

It was this attitude that has made the last couple of days with my colleagues very enjoyable. With the massive apprehension gone, returning to the school is a lot like returning to a fun family that you missed during the summer. The department is very together, very accepting of each other's quirks, and have had a nice time talking out problems, joking around, and gathering a feel for how the school year is going to be. Our first department meeting felt very unified, with everyone banning together with purpose and preparation for possible problems in the year ahead. The feeling makes the beginning of the year much easier to deal with.

So what is the lone anxiety? I'm pretty worried about this International Studies class. I'm sure that the fact that this is the first time this course has been done might be a factor of my nervousness, but more of it stems from the fact that it is an elective course, and I'm very unsure about the balance of challenge and interest. I think I have interesting stuff, but implementation is going to be interesting, especially with the fact that the class is Zero period. Everyone seems very excited, from the students I've ran into to the administration that thinks this is a great chance. I've got the class list of students, and it reads like the perfect storm for my class. The students are very intelligent, well rounded, and massively opinionated, the perfect combination for my kind of class.

I guess I need to just go with it.

Meetings over the next few days.

Um, yay.

Education Carnival

I know teachers are really, really busy this time of year, but spare some time anyway and hit up the Education Carnival. The Ed Wonkster puts on an excellent show.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A book update

As school opens, I have made a commitment to read more books that I want to read. I need a little more escape this year to pace myself on the emotional stress chart.

Well, the current reading is listed below on the Amazon list. I have no intention of begging you to buy books that I read, I just want to spout off about good stuff.

Book one on that list is Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan. Let me preface this by saying that I started reading Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series a year ago. The first few books were excellent. The last book, Fires of Heaven, was a little slow in places, but had some great written scenes. Lord of Chaos, the sixth book in the series, has made the adventure grind to a standstill and I can't seem to get into the book. More and more characters have been introduced to a world of multiple personalities that demand attention from the reader. Only now I'm starting to not care about any of them. Bummer, but that book will remain there until I totally give up on it.

Book two is my attempt at reading something educational. The Lexus and the Olive Tree is by one of my favorite authors, Tom Friedman. The book is his attempt at explaining the ideas behind globalization. The beginning was interesting, but the technical aspects are coming up at this point and I'm starting to bore.

Book three is my totally nerdy side coming out. I'm a Star Wars fan (not a must-see-convention fan) and I decided to follow the novel timeline and read the entire series. Hey, sometimes you just want to know backgrounds, play around in the universe, and just be an overall geek. If you are Star Wars fan, read on. If not, skip down a book. This is a list of the Star Wars books I've read, and a short blurb on if they are worth reading. They are in order.
Jedi Apprentice- A Scholastic book that introduces Yoda, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Mace.
Cloak of Deception- Entertaining book.
Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter- Very good book. Enhances the bad ass that Maul was.
Phantom Menance- Just as crappy as the movie.
Rogue Planet- Interesting, but a little confusing. Apparently, it has a lot to do with future novels.
Outbound Flight- Excellent novel that sets up the post-Vader books.
The Approaching Storm- Ok, not great.
Attack of the Clones- Actually much better than the movie. Clicks better.
Labyrinth of Evil- A must read. Sets up Revenge of the Sith.
Revenge of the Sith- Also better than the movie. Makes more sense and doesn't rush it.
Dark Lord- Neat tie-in about Vader, and Chewbacca!
The Paradise Snare- Pretty poor introduction to Han Solo

That brings us to The Hutt Gambit, which is another Han Solo book. It is pretty entertaining with focus coming down more on the "scoundrel" that is Han Solo. The Lando, Jabba, and Boba Fett history is started here. It just jumps around a bit.

Finally, my attempt at reading some Cold War, Tom Clancyesque books is Dale Brown's Hammerheads. The plot is that the U.S. government is setting up make shift oil platforms that serve as first alert combat bases against drug runners. Some of the scenes are interesting, but the characters introduced in this book are borderline annoying. The only thing really keeping me interested is the bad guy, and two characters from Brown's popular Flight of the Old Dog, a novel that precedes this one. Hopefully, it ends good.

So, that's what I'm reading. I've ran into people that are reading really serious stuff that might enlighten you or make your head spin, but I'm into total escapism in my reading lately, with a touch of interesting subject matter.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

California coaches must now be "certified"

I received this letter from our athletic director.

As of 2008, all high school coaches in the state of California must successfully complete the Coaching Principles "Bronze Level" course by the American Sport Education Program (ASEP) in order to coach at the high school level.


I did a little research and found this;

With the passing of the new Coaching Education and Steroid/Performance-Enhancing
Supplements bylaws there have been many questions about what this means for schools
and coaches in California. In May 2005, the State CIF Federated Council voted
unanimously to join 33 other states in the mandated "certification" of coaches.
- California Interscholastic Federation

The CIF has been so damned freaked out about the whole steroid mess, that they are now requiring that coaches take a course in, well, coaching. The basics are this:
-every coach must be "certified" by December 2008
-a new coach may coach one sport/season without the certification to give them time to take the course
-the course online at the American Sport Education Program is $105.
-if the course is instructed by a member of your school or district, the fee is $65.

This is a tough one, since I think their are a ton of really bad coaches out there, from parents that think their kid is the next coming of Christ, to horrible role models that are living out past glories through their team. Just today I ran into to Pop Warner coaches smoking on my campus by the football field. I told them that this was a no smoking campus and they stared me down like they were some frat jocks protecting the precious beer keg. What idiots, and those idiots were coaching young kids. Still, is this class really going to weed out bad coaches? Not at all, and in the end, it's going to be a matter of who is going to pay to coach? Coaches will have to pay for fingerprinting, CPR/First Aid, and now certification. We are talking hundreds of dollars, where a pay check for a freshman coach is next to nothing as it is.

I know, I know, "People don't coach for the money". You're right, and I'll be taking this class on Monday to get my certification. However, the pressure should be with the schools themselves, not some idiot certification that will say things like "Be nice", "Have good sportsmanship", and "Say no to drugs". This will only make finding good coaches harder, something that is a problem at our school. Sure, you have the know-it-alls that want to coach football, basketball, and baseball, but how about the minor sports that don't get all the crowds and school support? It's simply not the same.

So, let's see the impact this has on coaching at the high school ranks, because it will have next to no impact on the steroid issue that it is attempting to focus on. Kids know it is wrong to juice, coaches tell them all the time at our school. But if parents don't get more involved, and our town continues to be so accepting of the drug culture, then the coaches role in a child's life will remain minimal.

Another excellent Economics Conference

A year ago I attended a conference at Moody's of San Francisco that dealt with teaching the California Economic Standards. The conference was excellent and inspired me to do new and better things for kids when dealing with teaching Economics. The only problem was that it was the first time that the California Council on Economic Education (CCEE) had made that presentation, and it was a little rough in some spots.

I dragged my wife along for this conference. If I haven't told you, she teaches Economics as well, just at a different school (isn't it just cute). This conference was more polished in terms of not only the presentation, but the materials that were given to the teachers. The power points were clearer, the instructions were precise, and the composition was something that wouldn't take hours to learn before using it in class. The written material included the
14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
(a must in the classroom), a huge binder that has discussion and lessons for every single California Economic Standard, and Power Points that can be manipulated to fit your classroom. It is excellent material that every Econ teacher should have.

Look, if you are teaching Economics in the state of California, you should be going to one of these conferences. Click on the CCEE link on the right side of my page and go to their website. Click on the "Contact Us" link and enter the information for them to get in contact with you, and mention my name if you like. I'm not getting paid for referring anyone, but I promised them that I'd really hump their program, and I don't hump stuff that sucks. There were only about 25 teachers at the 2005 conference in San Francisco. This year, there were 40, and all were very into what these guys were saying.

I don't know about your school, but a lot of teachers shy away from Economics because it is nothing like history. If you are intimidated, if you are not too sure about the standards, if you need inspiration, then you need to get to a CCEE workshop.

PRONTO!!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Back to school

On Wednesday I made my first serious foray into my classroom, a place that I tried to avoid for most of the summer. I found the room to be very clean, all the desks classically moved to the side of the room so all the floors could be cleaned. At first I was irritated by the move, but now I enjoy putting the room back together with a new sense of purpose. Not much changes to my room, but I end up taking a look at what is most pleasing to my eyes, and student's eyes. My final evaluation was that I would change very little in the classroom, replacing some older student work for newer, and taking down some dated materials to clear room on the walls for this year's work.

I also spent time unloading the dozen boxes full of new textbooks that I need to number and shelve. I got the books unloaded, and then lost interest and set up my computer, which promptly crashed. Now I'm waiting for a fix, which will hopefully come next week.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Education Carnival

After a summer full of movement around the nation, the Education Carnival has returned home to Education Wonks (check my fav links).

Hit that thing up!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

OMG, I found the Gong Show!!!!!!!!!!

You really don't appreciate the good shows until they're gone.

I really don't remember a whole lot about the Gong Show except that there were parts that were just damn funny. I didn't get a whole lot of the original acts, and had to settle for mid-80's stuff, but damn I get nostalgic. I just have warm, fuzzy memories of Jimmy Walker playing the part of guest judge, and acting incredulous as he wormed up to, and slammed home the Gong on hideous acts.

This evening, my wife was buzzing the channels and came upon an NBC show on Bravo called America's Got Talent. Ladies and gentlemen, all we are missing is the Gong, and I'm not kidding. The basic idea is that different acts are judged by some Brit named Piers Morgan, the 90's singer Brandy, and David Hasselhoff. Tonight's acts included an 8 year old pianist, an illusionist whose apprentice cried when she was critiqued, three teenagers that thought they were the modern day SWV, and a drag queen that spun hula hoops on his ass. Yes, train wreck television at it's best. It tries to be American Idol (it is produced by Simon Cowell), but ends up needing Jimmy Walker there to smack the Gong!!!

Rick Reilly asks an interesting question. What's your answer?

Rick Reilly does a weekly column for Sports Illustrated Magazine, and this week he presents a question that offers up some moral dilemma questions that is sure to offend one person or another. It involves Little League, a cancer survivor, and sportsmanship.

In a nine- and 10-year-old PONY league championship game in Bountiful, Utah, the Yankees lead the Red Sox by one run. The Sox are up in the bottom of the last inning, two outs, a runner on third. At the plate is the Sox' best hitter, a kid named Jordan. On deck is the Sox' worst hitter, a kid named Romney. He's a scrawny cancer survivor who has to take human growth hormone and has a shunt in his brain.

So, you're the coach: Do you intentionally walk the star hitter so you can face the kid who can barely swing?


The coach ended up walking the stud, pitching to the Romney, and striking him out. As you can imagine, the town is divided and the little league coach's popularity is around the same as George Bush's. Reilly's opinion is that he should have been walked for the sake of sportsmanship.

I think what the Yanks did stinks. Strategy is fine against major leaguers, but not against a little kid with a tube in his head. Just good baseball strategy? This isn't the pros. This is: Everybody bats, one-hour games. That means it's about fun. Period.

What the Yankees' coaches did was make it about them, not the kids. It became their medal to pin on their pecs and show off at their barbecues. And if a fragile kid got stomped on the way, well, that's baseball. We see it all over the country -- the overcaffeinated coach who watches too much SportsCenter and needs to win far more than the kids, who will forget about it two Dove bars later.


I would have walked the stud, and pitched to Romney.

I understand the argument that it was bad sportsmanship and that the coaches were playing to win at an age, and a situation, where it wasn't warranted. However, I'm of the opinion that the kid deserves a chance to win the game, and that if simply pitch to the stud because Romney's handicap, or intentionally walk him for the same reason, that you are doing a massive injustice to the kid by not letting him have a chance to be a hero. I have a family that has a history with cancer and I've dealt with kids that have had cancer, and one thing that people need is the knowledge that life can still be normal if you are dealing with cancer. So Romney was pitched to, so he struck out, sounds to me like he's a little leaguer!

I know this is a controversial decision, and I don't think that the coach had that in mind when he was walking the stud, as it shows in the article. Still, check out the last part of the Reilly's article.

By the way, the next morning, Romney woke up and decided to do something about what happened to him.

"I'm going to work on my batting," he told his dad. "Then maybe someday I'll be the one they walk."



Sounds like the kids a ballplayer to me!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Education Carnival

Go check out the Education Carnival this week at California Livewire.

It is all the rage!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Content Area Literacy......aka......."it's actually STILL about race"

During the teaching credential program it went by the name "Content Area Literacy". For the last two years, elements were brought up at our school in a program called "Reading Apprenticeship". Last summer, it was in all the classes that I needed to complete to acquire my CLAD. Well, I guess that it wouldn't be California if we didn't rehash the information yet again. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the continuing focus on English Language Learners (ELL).

In May, I was asked to attend a two-day conference that ended last week called SALT, Secondary Academic Language Tools. If you have any knowledge of Content Area Literacy you will already know where SALT is going. Basically, the idea is getting kids competent in the "academic language" of the subject matter that teachers are teaching. I love the idea of academic language because it makes kids more focused and better prepared to learn when they are required to speak the subject matter content. Plus, students feel very empowered when they talk academically, as if they now realize that the not only know something, they understand it. If you are alive and actually teaching then you are probably very well aware of the usual strategies; concept mapping, Think Aloud, Talk to the Text, Compare and Contrast, Fact vs. Opinion, Timelines, and dozens of others. What it really should be considered is a "best practice" form of teaching, not simply something to help ELL students become subject matter competent. If you aren't using some of these in your classroom then you are probably missing out on some very good teaching. It should be used as a compliment, to embrace learning's reach to those students who don't read very well. Unfortunately, this routine has been drilled into me and has become mind-numbing. It is so repetitive that I could teach these conferences with a notepad and pencil, and make nice money doing so. After attending this conference last week, to quote 90's rap group Nice and Smooth , "Ain't a damn thing changed". In this case, in more ways than one.

While these practices should be used in all classrooms, with all demographics of kids, that was not what this conference was about. It was about teaching students who are English Language Learners, as stated on the mission statement, "SALT....helps teachers meet the needs of English Learners. SALT was developed specially for content area teachers who have English Learners in their core courses." I'll forgive the educational establishment, once again, for refusing to acknowledge that there are many students who can't read, most of which are not ELL. Our school has a population that is 25% Hispanic. Out of the 1/4 population, about 65% are classified as ELL students, and some of those are very English proficient. So, what we are dealing with is that I have been in hours and hours of instruction that is focused on only 15% of the school's population!!!

What is the big deal, you might ask.

Are you insensitive to that 15%, you might ask.

The answer is that the system is a failed system, and the system is being insensitive by not looking at the big picture.

For instance, we are still treating this issue of ELL students knowing content as a primary issue in education. The real issue should focus on teaching everyone, and I mean every race, English and how to read. Students that have no English ability should be put into intensive programs (as in 'rigorous', not sensitive) that emphasize English, and place them in classrooms to get acclimated to knowing and understanding English. But none of this is really going to work until the kids, all of them, are treated as equal scholars. The focus needs to be on creating a population of teachers that all use best practices for everyone, including those not in the 15% ELL category.

The second, and "3rd rail" problem in the ELL system is the idea that race is the primary reason that ELL students are not learning English. This came up, as it does all the time at Content Area Conferences, when teachers start addressing variables in kid's lives that they can't control. When conversations started drifting in that direction, I stated that the incoming culture needs to assimilate to their new culture and be less resistant (ie: no English at home, a month in Mexico) to accepting it. The reaction from most of the teachers, and one conference presenter, was akin to a hornet's net being hit by a baseball bat. Comments from these people? You betcha. And here they are, verbatim. Remember, ladies and gentlemen, these are educators.

You will never know anything about racism because you are white.

You will never know anything about prejudice because you have never been a woman.

You have been brainwashed by white society and are programmed to automatically be a racist.

The main reason that Mexicans are not learning English in this society is racism.

The police hate Mexicans and Blacks.


American culture is a white male culture.

Mexico is fine. You know nothing about Mexico because you have never been there.

The government is racist because there have never been any black presidents.

America refuses to accept any other cultures.

Corporate America refuses to accept any cultures.


No, these are not misprints and are word-for-word. However, it does get better.

For example, corporate America doesn't allow cultural hairstyles.

At this point, I giggled. Of course, that made things worse.

Corporate America will not allow employees to wear cornrows.

This teacher was dead serious, and it was taking an act of God for me not to bust out laughing.

That is a cultural hairstyle. Not allowing cornrows or afros is a form of institutional racism.

Ok, I had to laugh. Wouldn't you? For the record, I wouldn't allow a mullet at my company either.

unfortunately, the last comment a specific teacher made was not very funny, and the commanding reason that ELL programs are failing everywhere.

You are a racist and have been programmed by white America to act like a racist. When you are in your classroom, you automatically make assumptions about people of color and women. Don't say that you don't, because you do. You do it because you are a white man.

This is the problem. This is the divide that is present in our profession that leaves us looking like a social experiment in guilt reparations, and less like professional educators.

On one side is the teacher who sees every student as a potential success. This teacher demands hard work, responsibility, and grades students based on the quality of their work, their civic responsibility, and their characters.

On the other side is the teacher with a non-professional approach. This teacher sees the students as split (as they see society split), between the "haves" and the "have nots". This teacher is offended that some students have more, labels those students "privileged" and thus can be skimped in teaching. Those students who have less, or are minorities, are looked at as "victims". Because the student "victims" have had it harder, they deserve much more attention and less responsibility, since their lives are so difficult. This teacher assumes the "have nots'" victimhood is caused by white males, either from racism or the oppression of the poor. Therefore, white male teachers, especially if they own a home and a car, owe it to the "victims" to coddle them because "white male culture" is part of the problem.

Ok educators, which teacher are you? Which do you think is best for the kids? The country? The world? Do we prepare all the kids for success, instilling ethics of hard work, responsibility, accountability, character, and citizenship? Or do we prepare a generation of kids feels either guilty for being born better off, or feels degraded & coddled for being born under less-than-fortunate circumstances?

I listened to these comments, and although I became irritated at the half-dozen teachers in the throes of their tirade, I also became reaffirmed and more resolute in my reason and passion for teaching. I really care about kids, and I don't think that they are being prepared to make a positive contribution to society. That is why I teach. I don't teach with guilt hanging over my head. I don't teach with the idea that I owe the kids anything, or that the kids will ever owe me anything. I teach because I care about kids, and fortunately, my job is about caring for kids. If I do my job successfully, it benefits my students, my community, my country, and the world.

Open the dialogue and fix the ELL problem. We are losing students, good students, by keeping them divided, ignoring the cultural resistance, and not demanding scholarly standards.

Now add "caregiver" to the list

On Thursday my wife received a call that a family member was having trouble, thus the reason for my absence. I've been in Chico since then, with only a 48K dial-up modem that wouldn't let me research my fantasy football team, much less load up my blog. A few days and a nasty thunderstorm later (2 hours of house shaking),



we are now home with the family member, who will be vacationing at Coach's casa until Friday, at which time I'll be returning him to Chico.

Care-giving is quite a test in patience. Let's see how I do.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Toxic

Thanks to School Me, I've found an interesting article by Marc Fisher in the Washington Post that asks a very simple question, "Are you a toxic parent?"

True or False:

·Kids are going to drink anyway, so they might as well do it at home, under adult supervision

·Restricting teenagers makes no sense when they'll be on their own in college soon enough

·You'd rather be your child's friend than an authority figure

If you answered 'true' to any of the above, you are not alone.

But that doesn't mean you're right


Now, be careful, because some of the stories are pretty over the top (remember the mom that hosted booze/drugs/sex parties for kids to be "cool"), but the message is still very much necessary; be the parent, not a friend.
And if you happen to be a newer teacher, you will most likely run into "friend moms" who are more concerned with being cool with their daughter and less concerned about raising their daughter. I've had many, many meetings were it is instantly obvious that mom and daughter are friends, thus eliminating any authoritative respect that the kid might have for the parent. One case involved a daughter dressed half naked that I sent to the office during my first year. Mom showed up dressed exactly like the kid and stated that the girl, "Could dress sexy if she wants. She's got a hot little body, she can flaunt it." It was disgusting and scary.
Believe it or not, you will also have parents that will tell you that they have given up.
-I can't get him to do anything.
-She needs to get to work, I can't take away her phone or car.
-I can't wake him up in the mornings.
-Do you have any suggestions?

In the end, I really don't have suggestions because I'm not a parent. It becomes a very dangerous area when I start discussing parenting with Moms and Dads because I don't have kids, and the Lion Parents get very agitated. I recommend that parents hold their ground, demaresponsibilityity academically, and I tell them that I expect a certain level of work for their kids. If they don't get it done here, they don't pass. Some parents thank me and try to enforce some discipline, but dealing with Juniors and Seniors, it is usually a very tough struggle, one that parents give up on after awhile.

The hardest job in teaching, in my opinion, is parents. If credential programs are listening, we need a serious course in Parent/Teacher Relations immediately.

Carnival of Education

The road trip for the Carnival of Education continues with this week's host, This Week in Education.
I think that some in education need to be back on the job, because This Week has a whole history issue about ferris wheels along with the Carnival, which could be the first sign that summer needs to be over.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Reading books is cool!

I still don't understand, I mean I really don't understand, kids that say that they hate reading. I mean, in my mind reading is as fundamental as breathing, and it is impossible to function in society without either breathing or reading.
I borrowed this from California Teacher Guy.

1. One book that changed your life: Dr. Who and the Destiny of the Daleks. It is the first book I remember really getting into in the 4th grade, and that started a love of reading that has lasted forever. Yeah, I would say that it changed my life

2. One book that you've read more than once: I've read Dragons of the Autumnm Twilight every time life gets immensely stressful. The book is simple to read, is a fantasy on another world, and has an excellent cast of characters. Of course, I need to then read the next 15 that come after.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: The Bible. I'd finally have the time and patience to really sit down and read through it. Then I would call myself the Right Hand of God or something, start my own clan, and rule a vast Empire of the island by divine right of my interpretation of holy scripture. Best part; I can't kill anyone that reads The Bible differently because I'm alone.

4. One book that made you laugh:The Boomer Bible. Oh, my, God (pardon the pun) is that a funny ass book. Think of it as a John Stewertesque look at world history and how society interacts. The first few chapters alone are worth the price. Oh, and the book manages to offend just about everyone, so if you are pretty sensitive, stay away.

5. One book that made you cry: I've never cried from a book. I've become a little emotional, but not cried. At the end of the last book of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, White Gold Wielder was the name, I was a little sad that the long journey of six books was over and I really felt the death of the main charecter. Of course, last year Stephen Donaldson released another book, the first of four that brings back Covenant. Dammit.

6. One book that you wish had been written: The Essentials of a Great and Successful Democracy--For Dummies. Volume 1.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Sorry desert island, but I wish The Bible was never written. No book has caused more pain, more chaos, and more hatred than any document in human history. And yes, right behind it would be the primary books of the other religions as well.

8. The book you are currently reading: On Paradise Drive, by David Brooks. It is a pretty interesting look at modern American society and how we have evolved as a suburban culture.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:Friday Night Lights, by Buzz Bissinger. Everyone loves it and it is sitting on my shelf staring at me.

10. Now tag five people: If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged.