Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Four: Analyzing the data; 2013 edition

So what does the data tell me?

“Consider prompt grading and more opportunities for students who miss school.  I had trouble with attendance, and thus my grade suffered in this class, while not in others.  This is not because I didn’t work hard in this class, it’s because of the difficulty I had in understanding when we had quizzes and/or make-up work.  This is the only aspect of the class that is distinctly high school, not college prep.  In accordance with this, I would hope you would consider changing this policy.”

This is from a very high achieving student and a good overall kid.  It’s also a monumental problem.  So, go back to that phrase “I had trouble with attendance.”  Let that swirl in your mouth a little bit.  Kinda bitter, huh?  Yeah.  And this student even admitted that it was a choice not to go to class because something else came up.  I actually admire that and I totally respect the student telling me the truth.  The student expected to be able to miss a high level class and simply do fine, and I don’t understand that frame of mind except that it has been engrained by other sources.  The make-up work is simply knowing your stuff.  You either are on top of things or you aren’t.  And notice the “distinctly high school” comment and the hope that I change the policy to be more like college.  Excellent!  I want to be more like college!  So let’s amend California Ed Code to leave make-up work (including whether to give it at all) to the discretion of the teacher.  I don’t know about you but my college career had no make-up work.  At all.  Ever.  If you missed a test day you better pray that you have a saint for a professor because that make-up is not happening. 

The one thing we have now lost is the parent that says “you have consequences for your choices.”  Instead the dominant theme is “you can do whatever you want”, which is not nor ever has been true.   

*****

  On Twitter I lurk within the realm of #flipclass, which is dedicated to the concept of pedagogy that maximizes face time with students.  It is often full of teachers that insist that lectures rank right up with clubbing baby seals as one of the worst things ever invented.  I chime in on occasion and try to temper the conversation with the commentary that lectures that are done right (including method, time, visuals) are a very valuable part of teaching.  Here’s the reaction:

no lectures ever - Mommy Dearest

You think I’m kidding. 

When done right, lecture is a very legitimate tool that has the ability to impart important information to a wide swath of students.  My evaluations show that time and time again.  Make the lectures inclusive, less than twenty minutes, relevant, and make them worth something by including information on assessments.  People that totally ignore it are just leaving a certain population of students behind that want clarification and discussion.  Moderation people. 

*****

I will not take credit for the Per Se Courts.  They were the invention of Kathy Williams, a teacher out of Mesa, Arizona.  I learned about them from an AP U.S. History training at Cherry Creek High School in Denver, Colorado.  I do them for my Advanced Placement level classes and they have been a massive success.  Total engagement.  Competition.  Creating new questions.  It’s a hit!  I don’t do it with my college prep classes because the variety of levels is too diverse (future Cal students to students who can barely read English), and thus they don’t have the same academic competitive drive.  This might not seem like much but it really matters when it comes to how much you expect students to learn from the Per Se Court exercise.  I’ll still work on incorporating it some how.

*****

I primarily teach Seniors.  I don’t know about other teachers but a hint of sarcasm, quick whit, and the ability to laugh at one’s self is a must with Seniors.  I’m also aware that sarcasm in today’s public school can be a tad bit dangerous as today’s child is often seen as God-like by their parents, totally immune to a classroom with a sense-of-humor.  Maybe you see something different but I’m getting the feeling that kids like teachers to be real, and thus I notice that kids like that the class (including the teacher) can be a little lite on occasion. 

*****

Worse and most legitimate criticism by far; returning work.  It’s gotten worse this year than it is ever been.  As I tried to keep some semblance of the weekend to myself the work suffered.  Lack of multiple choice scantron tests made for very long grading sessions and when I reviewed the grading with students, more chances for errors.  I’m not going back to scantron so I’m going to have to get at the tests more diligently.  There is no other way around it.

*****

Basketball now has a serious marginal benefit/marginal cost analysis going on within my brain.  My love for the sport  versus the hours, the driving, the money spent, the politics.  I’ll be around for another year, then we see what happens.

******

Overall, a pretty good year.  I ended it on an up note and a sense of optimism for next year; always a good thing for a teacher.  Next year’s line-up looks like two Gov/Econ, two AP Comparative Government, and one AP U.S. History.  I’m already preparing. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Three: What were things that Mr. Silva-Brown did well? 2013 edition

Next, all the things, word for word, that the students thought that I did well.

-I really don’t know

-Politica, propaganda poster. (Politica is a simulation for my AP Comparative Government students after the AP test.  Hat tip to John Unruh-Friesen and Brock Tessman)

-Had ok sense of humor.  At least you tried, that’s what counts.  Amount of homework and classwork.

-Captured the classes attention and made the subject matter relatable and relevant.

-Lectures were very helpful and worked well.  Per Se Court forces people to learn material and helps remember it. (Per Se Courts are small debates that take place every 10 days or so. They really worked well for AP students.  Still trying to figure out if I want to move it to college prep.)

-Kept class focused and entertaining as well.

-News

-Made class fun and interactive for students to enjoy.  The class was loose while still being serious. (This is pretty much what I want to hear)

-Explaining political dilemmas and relating with the class.

-Explaining slight differences in terms.

-I liked that the class was hands on with learning.  The games were fun and helpful, and Jeopardy was always a good way to review.

-Interacted well with students.  Made things easy to understand.

-Brought interesting information, used real life examples, and did fun activities to help us learn.  Liked the buying and selling grain activity with the charts. (Some people know this as Apple Cart or Baseballs. Used to discuss price creation and foundations of the free market.  Find a collection on Amazon)

-Explained concepts, made learning fun, taught lessons well.

-Taught quite well and was easy to understand

-Had us ask questions.  Talked to us.

-Jeopardy, power points, supplemental information such as articles

-The Per Se Courts were always fun. The project were fun and brought the class together.  The short videos were always interesting and power points were always on point.  Your humor made me not sleep during class.  The fact that you take phones away for 24 hrs make me not take out my phone in class. 

-Your lectures are especially good, and Jeopardy.

-The lectures were great and the breakdown into groups really helped.  I actually loved the class discussions and how personally interactive those were.  The quizzes also kept up the pacing.

-Slides, comments, jokes, Clinton voice, projects, online readings.

-Pace of the class were steady and stable.

-Power Points helped so much!  Loved reading Persepolis.

-I found the Power Points were a great method for learning and asking questions.  Jeopardy is excellent review.  The news is also good.

-Slide shows, Jeopardy, the way topics were covered clicked with my learning style.

-The Per Se Courts were fun.  I loved almost all activities.

-Not a lot of homework is nice.

-Jeopardy really helped me before tests.

-I enjoyed watching the news everyday and you taught in a way that kept everyone’s attention. 

-Really good lectures.  Did a good job involving the class.

-I really like the way you teach.  You make it easy to understand.

-Lectures, notes, and class discussions.

-You were funny and every day you were happy to teach the class.  It was a good experience.

-Things that he taught were taught with a passion for the subject.

-Jokes in the class and slides made it really fun.  Felt like an ongoing group because of all the ongoing jokes throughout the year.

-Covered everything and explained it well.

-Test

-Explained things

-Teaching style in general is the best that I experienced.  I learned more in this class than in any other class. 

-Good teacher.  Taught things well.

-I felt like you related to us as people more than any other teachers.  You tried to make learning fun and you tried to put things into perspective with things we knew about and could relate to.

-Kept class awake and interested.

-Very well done lectures.  Felt like I learned well enough.

-Make bad movie references, stay on task, not get overwhelmed, teach, strut, wear a tie, show the news, dance.

-Making the class interesting.

-Made learning entertaining.  Interacted with students.

-Really had my attention most of the time and his teaching is really fun.  He actually teaches you something.

-Always giving examples throughout all the lectures and re-explaining if we were confused.

-Propaganda poster, politica, short videos

-Jeopardy, lectures (best on campus), quizzes force you to study on nightly basis.

-News

-Per Se Courts were really effective in expanding our knowledge.  Include more!  Also, I really liked your videos which kept the subject matter fresh and in our heads.

-Presenting the Supreme Court cases, Jeopardy, and class lectures.

-Per Se Courts, which I didn’t realize at the time are basically oral FRQs.  I realized at the end of the year that I truly mastered the info/topics we debated.

-One pagers, group projects, Per Se Courts

-Per Se Courts (FRQs) and One Pagers (Outside Information)

-Debates

-Videos.  He broke the stress/serious barrier.

-Power Points, class discussions, Politica

-He got us to write good notes.

-Kept us informed of what’s going on in the world, good notes, good videos, few tests, few homework.

-Got to the point.

-Always tries his best to answer questions

-Explained everything we studied really well.

-Good teaching.  Made things very clear while working well with students.

-Different way of teaching.  New way of learning.

-Teaching, Jeopardy, activities

-Respect

-Knew exactly what he was talking about.  Very well informed.  Didn’t show bias towards either political party.

-Lectures work.  As long as you honestly listen and take brief notes, you can understand everything taught.

-Explained what was going to be on quizzes and tests.

-Teach, and dress nice.

-You were able to get what you were trying to teach into my head and I learned.

-You were really good at helping me to understand when I didn’t get it.

-Yell

-Criticize, explain, discuss, hate on Farmer’s Market

-Being able to drift off topic a little and still learn something.

-Practice for the AP test helped but I enjoyed the lectures.

-Most power points, helping explain Supply and Demand, yelled, taught, made fun of me, answered all questions about the news

-Explained things and went into detail really well.

-Everything

-Teaching, funny, wasn’t boring, made learning fun

-The videos that supplemented our learning, watching British PM’s Questions, group projects.

-Per Se Courts and group projects, and videos.

-The lectures are good information dumps and go into depth.  I don’t remember a lot of them.

-I enjoyed the Power Points as they summed up what we had read the night before.  Also jokes and videos

-Quizzes and FRQs

-Everything

-Power Points

-Per Se Courts

-Per Se Courts

-Daily quizzes were good.  And the Per Se Courts always made me feel better about what we were learning.

-Being girlie and whipped.

-Made notes not unbearable by willing to get of topic on occasion, and the news.

-Went over the concepts very well and made them understandable by giving real world examples.

-Told personal stories that helped us connect with you as a person.

-Dress nicely.  You sent people out when they distracted learning.

-He was really into what he does and takes his job serious, which is good for a teacher.  You don’t find that often.

-Gave good examples that made me understand the ideas better.

And there you have it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part Two: “What recommendations would you give Mr. Silva-Brown”, 2013 edition

Here are all my recommendations, live and uncut, from my students. I'm leaving none out, however some students did not fill out every category, which is why the numbers will not be the same. My comments are in italics.

-Do more easy things because this was difficult for me.

-Start making concessions.  It shows benevolent mercy.  Also, if the class is in a furor about a quiz question being ambiguous and can raise reasonable doubt, then you should either change the question or screw it. (A fair point and something that I’m willing to do from time to time.  The problem is (and this is an AP student) that students will start to question anything they can to get an advantage on a grade. I’m willing to concede when you are right, not when you feel like being lazy.

-At times we ramble about pointless things.

-Keep up the good work!

-Humor is appreciated although so still don’t get that you are kidding.  And even though I feel you were unbiased, make sure that students aren’t rude/overbearing so that they drown out other valid points.

-Always teach Seniors!

-Give harder tests. (This has got to be a joke.  I give no scantron tests to Government and Economics students, no multiple-choice.  Students need to prove that they know.  It’s hard.)

-When trying to answer questions that seem arrogant, the condescending attitude discourages others from asking questions in the future, which I think harms their education because it wasn’t “said” and they believe they asked a “dumb” question.  (This is an interesting balance, and if you look back in past evaluations you can see that kids like that I do allow for good discussion.  I’m actually surprised by this one.)

-Send out kids more who are stupid and listen to some good country music.

-Slow down with notes, let people write, then explain.

-Put quiz announcements on board because I have four other classes with homework and I get home late form sports and I can’t always check Edmodo.  (They are always on the board, and getting home late from sports is not an excuse.)

-Assign more Economics homework so students can grasp concepts more.

-Stay the way you are and don’t change your attitude or teaching style.  It was quite fun.

-None

-You are good at holding students accountable but I think sometimes there needs to be a bit more flexibility.

-The plan for the year because we started out hardly reading anything and then we were reading entire chapters in 1 or two days without taking quizzes in between to retain information that we read.

-Update Edline more so people know their grades.

-Be a bit more understanding.  You are not our only teacher.  Unlike you, we don’t live online so we don’t always see it when you post our assignments.  Grade work faster.  (Your entire generation lives online.  You just choose not to visit where I live.)

-More class discussions like those that take place in English.  (Ugh.  Unicorns, rainbows, and fairies.  Tap into our inner most feelings and describe the beautiful fountain of our lives.  Gag me.  We will not have pretty little “English class” discussions.)

-Don’t make people cry.  Slim down.  Whack your stuffed animal. 

-Keep up with correcting tests and handing back work.

-None

-Timely return of assignments, help out students from regular U.S. History more at the beginning of the year, free Politica (our end of the year simulation), cure Senioritis.

-I think you’re doing a fantastic job.

-Slow down on concepts if everyone is not getting it because quizzes are not fair if everyone is confused.

-More classwork so our grade isn’t all about quizzes.

-None whatsoever

-Haha.  Be a little more nice.

-More classwork so our grades aren’t based on all quizzes.

-Be more specific when you teach the class.  Some people understand and some don’t.

-Talk a little more about the Federal Reserve.

-Stories inside the slideshow helped me a lot.  If I couldn’t relate to the slide, it was gone from memory.

-Keep using your style of teaching because it works.  Maybe a little less of an ass but it adds character to the class.

-Notes that actually follow the test.

-Be patient and stay classy.

-A better warning in the beginning of the year about all the sarcastic and sassy comments.

-Nothing.  Keep doing what you are doing.

-Next year Barbie should go to Prom with Robin.  Come on Brown, sometimes the sidekick need to score too!  (Reference to an Opportunity Cost lesson about Barbie choosing a Prom Date.)

-Become varsity coach

-Ease up and don’t blindly enforce rules with no benefit.  Also, don’t tell one student that a test can’t wait, then delay another student for your own personal reasons. 

-Try and be more funny.

-None.  Keep at it!

-Don’t be so harsh.

-Please stop hitting the desk out of nowhere.

-None

-Consider prompt grading and more opportunities for students who miss school.  I had trouble with attendance, and thus my grade suffered in this class, while not in others.  This is not because I didn’t work hard in this class, it’s because of the difficulty I had in understanding when we had quizzes and/or make-up work.  This is the only aspect of the class that is distinctly high school, not college prep.  In accordance with this, I would hope you would consider changing this policy.  (I’ll deal with this in Part 4, because it really deserves its own post.)

-Because the vast majority of our grades are based on daily quizzes, it would be nice to have some other useful assignments to help our grade.  I know that’s not what it’s like in college.  But we need to earn good grades to even get to college.  (You said “earn”.)

-Probably asking a lot.  But if you provide students with in-depth outlines/study guides (with information already in them), that would be a big help.  Often we don’t have time to look it up on our own and looking it up does not help in learning.  If it is already there for us we could use that time to study.  (First, it’s been on Edmodo since the start. Second, you do have time.  You choose not to. Third, yes, looking it up does help to learn.)

-If there was an opportunity to turn in work late that would really help people like me.  If work is done, students deserve some credit. 

-Grade stuff and get it back quicker.  Otherwise, you are fine.

-I agree with all your techniques for teaching APUSH.  However I would recommend that you spend more time on specific events in history rather than speed through Power Points.

-Return tests faster.

-You are very professional.  But I felt that you were more lenient towards a couple of particular students.   

-More check point tests

-More debates, more robot judges, more shacks, and more hot women that are significant to American History.

-You are an all around effective teacher. Be more inspiring on a personal level, or maybe express love.

-More one-on-one with students

-Don’t waste time on the news.

-Let students eat in class

-More reminders of homework.

-Let me sleep

-Everything was good.

-Don’t pick on some students over others.

-Be nicer to all students.

-When someone is looking extremely upset about something and they say they don’t want to talk about it, leave it at that.

-Keep being a brat.

-Nothing.  You are great.

-Don’t take shit from no one.

-Stop wearing ugly ties.

-More projects.

-Don’t write your report card in third person.

-Give more heads up when work is due.

-Don’t be so frightening in the beginning.  I was timid at first and then you were my favorite teacher.

-Open your skylights, sweep the floor, organize book shelf.

-Don’t ever change.

-Never change for anyone.  You’re perfect as is.

-Have some fun.

-This class is much more demanding than most I’ve taken.  Maybe ease up a little?

-Buy a unicorn mask and act out slaughtering the unicorn every year in APUSH.

-Nope.  Carry on.

-Don’t be so tough on tardies, hand back tests quicker, and smile more.  Be less intimidating. 

-Let me eat in class.  Or don’t because I’m leaving anyways.

-Keep on doing what you are doing.

-Nope.  Perfection.

-Not all the group projects.  Definitely more quizzes worked.  More tests would be nicer.

-Equal amount of opportunity to be judge and debater for Per Se Courts.

-You do a great job!  More Per Se Courts!

-Stop drinking Pink Lemonade.

-Don’t pick on the same people so much.

-More Jeopardy

-Try to not make people upset.

-Better ties

-Sometimes let students makeup a quiz.

And there you have it.

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part One: “Ratings Game”, 2013 edition

I present to you, part one of a four part series that looks at the "graded" Mr. Silva-Brown. At the end of each year I give out a report card with questions about my performance during the year.

The questions are:

-One a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being excellent), rate Mr. Silva-Brown's teaching this semester.

-Was I well organized?

-Did you understand what was going on?

-Do you think I have improved since September?

-Did you feel safe?

-Were students treated equally with respect?

-Describe your overall experience in the class

-What did I do well?

-What recommendations can you give Mr. Silva-Brown?

-Give one piece of advice for next years students.

Today, I'll give you the numbers rating. The rating is first, followed by how many students rated me at that level.  .

Here are the results:

Ten- 24  

Nine- 37 

Eight- 35

Seven- 5

Six- 2

Two- 1    

My average is an 8.8, a B+. Here are the contrasts from past years.

2005-06: 8.3

2006-07: 8.9

2007-08: 8.3

2008-09: 8.7

2009-10: 8.2

2010-2011: 8.5

2011-2012: 8.5

The only 2 was from a student that didn’t provide for much except to say that she was totally lost most of the year and actually feared coming into my classroom.  There are two things that are disconcerting about that statement.  First, this wasn’t a student that asked for help (maybe she found me intimidating).  Second, I’m a pretty good observer about what is going on in my classroom, and I’m looking for the student who seems terrified about my instruction presence.  That I can’t identify this student is a major problem.  Every year I get a low number evaluation and 90% of the time it’s some pissy attitude angry about a nothing in particular.  This one really bothers me.       

National Council on Teacher Quality proves to be just as lazy as Teacher Credential programs

So the National Council on Teacher Quality has released a report that says that unless you have come out of a select view colleges in the United States, you are probably a shitty teacher.  That means you Stanford and UCLA.  Don’t think that your Pac-12 status and “holier-than-thou” academic demeanor gets you a free pass.  Nope.  By-in-large California teacher training facilities are woefully inadequate if you read the recent report from the NCTQ. 

The problem is that the report is a lie.  Ok maybe not a lie as much as very lazy research. 

Take the following passage.

image

I’m assuming that the term “audition” is simply the idea that they are screened for content knowledge, although the two Teach for America teachers I’m familiar with had no serious “audition” about content knowledge.  If this audition is about content then this part of the report is wrong.  I had to go through an exit interview on content strength going out of the History Department to the Credential Program.  That sounds like an audition to me. 

The report also states that Chico State received sub-par rankings because it did not require “hands-on practice.”  This totally irritates me because it means that my two semesters of student teaching, and semester plus of teacher observations were for naught and I could have just bought my damn credential from the Chico State School of Education.  So what did I do all that “non-hands-on” stuff for anyway?

Quite the sloppy analysis.

This is not to say that teacher prep programs don’t need work because that is a real problem.  Too many teacher programs are concerned about cultural sensitivity and almost totally ignore pedagogy.  Others are credential mills that hand out diplomas for the tuition you pay, and will give it to you even when the Master Teacher says that the newb is not qualified to be around students.  But this report is grandstanding.  It’s some guy waving his arms to attract the most attention even though most of the information is biased, wrong, or promoting this that simply would not work in teaching teachers.  And can we have a program that is critical of public education that DOESN’T actively hump the leg of Teach for America?  Please?  Do we forget that these people are totally unprepared for the classroom and hardly ever stay? 

Sheesh.   

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Musing of the end of 2013's school year

The Kansas City Costco is the most empty I've ever seen a Costco. Ever. And it has a funky self check-out line that is just as shitty as those at the supermarkets in Ukiah, only the people that help you out are usually a lot nicer.

So I'm in Kansas City conducting Year 3 of grading AP Comparative Government exams. The Costco visit was a wine run, and a place were I could buy over 70 oz of Jack Stack BBQ sauce for the price of a shot glass of the stuff at the restaurant. That's some yummy pulled pork when I get home. The Costco wine was worth the twenty minute walk since there is no Safeway locally, and the nearest Trader Joe's is almost an hour by bus. Now I'm stocked for the week and I'm ready to go.

The Class of 2013 didn't end with controversy, with students, at all. I loved many of them to death and they are now off with the wind and a sniff of optimism of what is to come.

*****

I kinda love some of my students. Yes, I said love. I worry about them. Share in there pain and joy. I'm said to see them off while happy to see them moving on. I think that classifies as love. I'm not having children, by choice, and thus I share much of that caring on with my students. Many of them are basketball players because I'm with them so much more than my regular students, and those people on an athletic team will understand that the relationships are different. Stronger. This year I had a collection of students that I just love to death. It pains me to see them go. It makes me happy to see them succeeding.

*****

Rules for going to grad parties. First, realize that there will be more of your students than you expected. I only got gifts for two, and there were many more in attendance. Awkward. Second, prepare to get asked embarrassing questions by people that may have been drinking. This isn't a parent-teacher conference. There may be booze around. Third, lighten up. If you are at a grad party chances are that the kids want you there. Finally, take your medicine if you practice the art of snarkiness. When I saw a pool in the backyard I calmly pulled out my electronics and prepared for the inevitable. Sure enough, four Senior boys picked me up and physically threw me in the pool. I had it coming and it was all in good fun. It meant that I needed to stick around longer to dry off and enjoy my last moments with these kids. Oh, and it was 111 degrees at the time.

*****

The school year did end with a tad bit of controversey that had nothing to do with students. Since I am sick to death with totally unprofessional conduct, I decided to act. I'll leave it at that.

Let the summer commence!


 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

There has got to be a joke in the phrase “Mixed Race Cheerios.”

I'm trying to find the tragedy and the drama behind this ad for Cheerios.  


For the record this commercial does not make me want to buy Cheerios.  This commercial makes me want to feed that little brat that dumped a box of Cheerios on her father to my cats.  But apparently the video caused quite the stir on Youtube among the mentally unbalanced when the black child had the audacity to talk to her white nanny in such a condescending tone.  Then it was really bad when the camera actually panned over to the father, a black man of course, covered in Cheerios; a clear sign that the nanny had not done her job in controlling the little wiccan from casting a polymorphic Cheerio spell on her Dad.  Heads surely rolled.

The argument that is being had over this video is totally idiotic and something out of 1960's Alabama.  When I heard the video was controversial I figured that Mom was doing coke or something, and that the kid walked in on Mom and Dad getting it on on top of the kitchen table, and the child having a flash-forward to a Paris Jackson episode later in life.  Alas, the controversy is a mixed race issue.  Which means that it really isn't an issue and the media is really trolling this controversy because any asshole can comment on Youtube, and that includes the REALLY stupid assholes too.  This isn't a controversy.  This is boring.

Want real controversy?  Make a Lucky Charms commercial with a couple of drunk Irish guys, Peter Dinklidge, and Michelle Obama.  Now THAT would be be magically delicious.             

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Blissful

Jeff Bliss dropped out of school early in his career and returned as an 18 year old sophomore.  To many teachers that would be a klaxon going off in your head.  A warning that the torpedo is in the water and your sub is about to get nailed.  

Then this happened.


This is an insanely good rant by a student, and I mean rant in the most positive way you can put it.  I don't care who you are, where you are, and under which political faction you attach yourself;  the dude is right.  Period.  Sounds like he's in a situation where he's mature enough to realize that he fucked up earlier in life and wants to make up for the mistake but is damn well not going to waste time with belittling teachers and piles and piles of worksheets.  Good for Jeff Bliss.

I had a packet work and Economics USA teacher.  It was pretty much one of the more awful classes in that nearly everything was video-packet, video-packet.  And the videos were your typical 80's Economics videos.  In fact, here they are with updates. Wade into them.  Attempt to spill their blood, shoot them in the belly.  Except that it won't work because the videos are stronger than the Nazi's.  They are crazed Economics space aliens that are hell bent on killing everything.  One episode can be tamed.  All of them over a semester create a retched hive of scum and villainy.  Good luck. 

The one time I had the audacity to say "oh yay, another packet", my Economics teacher threw the entire stack at me while I was sitting at my desk and yelled "FINE, YOU TEACH IT!"  I was meek then.  Now.....FINE, I WILL!  Jeff Bliss made a more eloquent statement about teaching and it was right that the admin told the teacher to get out and let the student continue with his work.  Good for him for demanding the best possible education he could get.  

And screw the teacher for making us look bad.      

Monday, June 03, 2013

Hello there, End of Year

 

photo

I’m sure there is some kind of message with this picture regarding the end of my school year.  Unless there really isn’t and that’s actually a fire at my school.

Yep, that’s actually a fire at my school.

It happened about two weeks ago when some sparks from a grinder caught dry brush on fire and the flames sped into the hills.  Luckily the only thing that got damaged was the brush and a few acres of plants.  The Low Gap Express (the afternoon winds that blast west-to-east through Low Gap Canyon) didn’t show up until later into the fire so the flames caught away from the school structures, and the buildings weren’t ever really threatened.  And yes the students evacuated and yes everything seemed to go pretty ok.  All in all it was actually interesting to watch but no real damage. 

Well screw you then, Mr. Rattler.  Damn snakes don’t really like fire and apparently they’ve been wandering around our little campus out back.  Believe it or not nobodies been really bothered by snakes at the school (we are nestled in the hills), although occasionally (like now) we get rattlesnake warnings, which means people have been seeing them here or across the street in Low Gap Park with some regularity.  Hopefully they continue to stay away. 

Otherwise it’s the normal end-of-year stuff on this end.   

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Hey look, this is one of those posts where I can officially welcome my new boss to the blog because we have a new boss at our high school and I know that he has read my blog.

It’s also one of those awkward posts where you wonder what you are supposed to say that doesn’t make you sound like a total kiss ass, or a complete rebel against the oppression of the fascist regime of administrative authority. Bah, I’ll just blog as usual. Yeah, so the unusual aspect of our new principal is the fact that he’s my wife’s old principal for the last few years.  So when I mean “fascist regime of administrative authority”, I mean it in the most benevolent of ways.