Thursday, May 15, 2008

It is hot

A couple of things to discuss while the temperature rises.

-It's a little disconcerting that while the end of the year is here, so is the time when students miss my class the most. Some are missing due to the summer blues, but many are just doing so many other school sponsored things. Clubs Day, Car Show, band trip, college exams, athletics, Senior Cut Day, and the worst, the Senior Trip. The Senior Trip is a yearly event where Seniors, chaperoned by teachers, go to some theme park (usually Disneyland) and spend Thursday-Saturday night riding Space Mountain, and trying to get away with little bouts of mischief. The disturbing thing is that I have students that are in danger of, or straight out failing my class. I'm quite interested in how kids with F's make the decision to go miss two days of school at the end of the year to go to Disneyland. I'm also interested in creating a system in which a student with any D's or F's can't go on the Senior trip. Or just canceling it altogether.

-While the heat rises, the neckline plunges, and this year has become a bad year for young ladies to show more skin than is appropriate at a high school. Already this week I've had multiple run ins with girls who come into the classroom looking like they are ready for a Friday night bar-hopping fest in Chico. It becomes a touchy subject with young male teachers telling 18 year old girls to put something on. My advice? First, do it before class and make it quick. Draw little attention to the situation, and let her go to her locker to get clothing without marking her tardy. Second, be professional. When someone complains, a simple "I'm sorry, but that clothing is not appropriate for this classroom" is good enough. If they complain continuously, send them to the office. Third, don't listen to what other students say. They will complain endlessly about "freedom of expression" and that the clothing isn't that bad.......until you find out that most actually consider it slutty. Often I get end-of-the-year comments that commend the fact that I don't allow people to hang out of their clothing. Finally, realize that you might be one of many that actually follow the dress code. I watch teachers interact with students wearing next to nothing (sophomores are the worst) and they don't seem phased by it. You might be taking the hit by enforcing good standards. So what else is new?

-Note to self. If I can't get a parent to chaperon Model UN next year, I will only take seven kids, and no girls. The fact that out of four trips only one parent stepped up is pretty sick, and my wife has ended up taking the burden of dealing with kids. Going to need a little parent help next year or this isn't going to work.

-A counselor told me this week that this is the most Senior failures they had ever seen. My failures are looking about average, with some students having pulled themselves out of the hole nicely over the last two months. I'm also getting a lot of talkers committing to do better, but still missing a day or two a week and expecting to pass. Here's a little piece of information for all those students out there that show me Excused Absences and "18 Year Old" excused absences, I don't care. The 18 year old virus shows up about now where they jaunt in and flash me the pass with the look of "you can't do shit about it". I say "thank you" and mark them excused, and then they never do the make up work. When they complain weeks later that the absence was excused, I remind them that they failed to complete the make up work or quizzes. I have quizzes four days a week. Excused absences don't "get me". They get you.

-I have a new classroom blog, silvabrown.blogspot.com. I got tired of seeing wonderful news items for my students and then forgetting to share them. So I created a class blog. I'm also considering having my Government, Economics, and AP Comparative Government students write a blog post every semester as an assignment. AP Comparative would be more, since they need to keep track of more countries. Good blog?
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