Sunday, January 16, 2011

Online Anger Management Class

I suggest this online anger management class to anyone who is interested: . They certify your attendance. I'm going to go do some yoga now.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform

passed the house yesterday, and is heading to the president's desk. Although this is a deeply political issue, I've always said that universal health care will do more to equalize test scores than all of the NCLB measures.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Idealogical Slouching Only Now

The back pain book really worked, look down a couple posts and find the link to Dean's back pain blog. Yogalike exercises loosen the back.

Busy, busy. No more slouching. Teaching high school full time. Teaching online and face-to-face 101 classes. Building an online course to send in for approval by July. Wanna be Richie Rich!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

To combat years of slouch

I'm going to read the eBook to hopefully straighten my back after decades of slouching. The website is excellent: after reading a lot of different authors, this doctor seems to really know what is going on.
Back Pain Book

Friday, August 14, 2009

Slouching pains

Went to the doctor because of sciatica, a nerve condition. Surely it is caused by excessive slouching, and began a few months ago.

First week of school, done. I've managed to get there a few minutes late and leave early every day. I scheduled my doctor's appointment for my planning period, which I didn't really need on this Friday because I'm "efficient."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to Slouch

Slouching is easier. I passed more than 90% of my students no matter what happened. It's just good policy, less hassles, and hey, nothing wrong with slouching. Advice to all teachers: pass more than 90%.

Monday, July 6, 2009

To my Boo. She THICK, Mr. Arnold!

One of the crazy things a student told me after I asked him what he was writing in my class. He never turned in homework, and I NEVER saw him write anything else--I didn't know he could write otherwise.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Alternative Certification = Warm Body

Maybe I am exaggerating, but by beginning an alternative certification program and moving to a "critical area" to get a job, I was just a warm body. I went to South Carolina because they would actually give you a temporary certificate if you proved you were in an alternative certification program. I thought: "OK, lets go, lets get started!"

I couldn't have been more shocked the first day of school. I read and followed Harry Wong's book, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened. First, just about every class ripped off as many of the names as they could from the desks, labels I had placed after reading Harry Wong suggestions in The First Days of School. Also, I wasn't prepared for what passed for normal with these kids.

The first class was asleep, and pretty normal. Of course, first period was the only "normal" class I had for the entire three years.

By the second block, folks began to wake up. The first thing I did in all classes was make the students sit where I wanted them to. The next thing, introductions. They seemed normal, even shy until the class clown jumped up and said, "My name's Wuzza, your Five Boy, Holla!" To the uninitiated, that means that "Wuzza" is the two-bit drug dealer on the bicycle, the kind impossible to catch, and he used the first class of the semester to advertise. I later knew all of the drug dealers at the school, everyone did, and nobody really worried about "Wuzza" (which I never called him--I always used his "government." I know some teachers called him Wuzza, but I had to stay sane.

The next class was also memorable, because I was dilligently keeping the names on the desk, moving from stickers and clear tape prepared the days before school to just masking tape with sharpie marker (and I continued to fight like that for three years). I was alarmed when a boy sat down and a girl came up to him and screamed: "Tony, get your BLACK ASS out of MY DESK." I should mention that the girl was white. I don't know about you, but where I am from, that is usually considered a "racial incident." Apparently, not so in South Carolina. Although the two students spent a minute or so hitting each other, when I finally separated them, they were both giggling! Guess what, it's normal!

I Need Teacher Certification!

The names of this blog are no longer accurate, because I am no longer a "reluctant teacher" or so down on the profession that I delight in George Bernard Shaw's quip. I love my job now. I do, however, feel like I was a misfit as I joined the profession.

In college, I started my freshman year planning to take teacher certification courses, which started with practicums during my sophomore year. I went to them, and just remember being bored sitting in on an egotistical male social studies teacher, a super-involved female English teacher, and finally another male social studies teacher who gave A LOT of worksheets--so many that the students cycled through and he just handed them out from the center of the room (they had a certain way of walking through to minimize traffic). I didn't judge, but I surely knew that teaching is a little bit of a crazy profession.

The second semester of my sophomore year, the monkey wrench: I failed the personality test, a requirement of the Education department. I went to a small, liberal arts school, which are known for being behind the times. The personality test was some kind of 1950s California personality test (more than 40 years old by that time), and I had no idea you could even fail. The questions were something like: "Are you content with where you are in life?," to which I answered "NO," thinking, "I've got plans!" Another question: "Do you get angry when your coworkers do not work hard?," and I answered, "YES." You get the point. Even though I fancied myself smart and was going to school on a full academic scholarship, I was naive and stupid. I failed.

I went to tell my advisor (a history professor, very smart), and she thought it was hilarious that the Education department was so behind-the times and irrelevent with their requirement ("The world has changed, as have values, in the generation or more since the personality test was created," she giggled.) The first thing she told me was, "You don't want to teach high-school; you should plan on teaching college." I had never considered it, but it was flattering, so I abandoned the certification route and then fancied myself an academic. I ultimately went to graduate school, got an MA, but hated how trivial grad school was, fetishizing Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, Derrida, and probably about ten other essayists. I remember sitting in a class, a 21 year old, listening to some 55 year old bore talking about Eminem, using the rhetoric of those essays to crunch thoughts that were worthless, clueless, and just frustrating. I hope you get the picture. It really was a waste of time, and really benefitted noone.

Upon graduation, I needed to get a job. Although qualified to teach at a community college, the only offers I got were for adjunct teaching, which was a rip-off: just one class less than full-time, for 1/4 of the already meager pay. The money is in teaching public school, I found out. Quickly, I jumped at a certification program, and I was on my way!

Friday, June 5, 2009


The most rewarding aspect of teaching: summer vacation. O.K., that sounds like I hate my job, and I don't any more than anyone else, but summer is good. Even for the schoolkids. Sometimes a kid that struggles with immaturity will come back after summer break a little more mature. That is good.

Has anyone noticed that teachers get sick during breaks from school? I'm sweating with strep right now (day two of antibiotics, starting to feel better). Anyway, summer is here, and I'm looking forward to it. Bosslady is working summer school and I'm going to keep the children busy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Suburbs!!!

It's been a few years since the first post! I now teach in a rich area. After getting a teacher certificate I can use in another state, I moved to a rich area. It's GREAT! People complain, but I've seen worse. Nothing to really blog about, in Georgia!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kids These Days

So the holiday vacation begins at the high school! Today the students in my classes took their exam, but you wouldn't have guessed that happened if you just walked by. They were running around, screaming, aruging, laughing--especially if I expected them to take a test.

The room next to mine is cursed. If anyone asked me to move all my stuff over there, I would quit instead. My first year here, I would hear yelling, screaming, even loud, knocking sounds, coordinated laughter--even sounding like construction was occurring--bizarre-- because another first-year-teacher was attempting to get them to do anything. Now, a veteran teacher who has been teaching past his retirement for several years is in the room with the same noise. I can't believe the noise from that room can be so chaotic, and so similar in different, consecutive schoolyears.

My students were o.k., but slightly crazy stuff seems to happen all the time. Of course they continued to act crazy for about the first 25 minutes of class. Some of the students insist on calling me "A Money," by my first name, dude, dogg, etc. I mostly ignore it, insist that they call me by my "government name," that they are "too little" to call me by my first name. Some of them have slowly cursed enough and managed to saying stuff like, "Mr. A********, I can't find my shit" or "What are those motherfuckers thinking?" The second one--you might expect--would sound extreme, or violent, but it was innocent enough--the student mumbled and obscured his words in hip-hop jive. I managed not to hear that.

Some of the teachers around here have them scared, and I'm thinking about doing that next year. One middle-aged lesbian teacher has them scared to breathe. I could get something going, but I just let most things happen, because their resistance can make them act extremely immature--a macho student will cry when his lie is exposed--boys and girls will hit each other and scream and laugh--kids will purposely do things to mess everything up. I'm blogging because I always think if I were to find someone at a random meeting, they would never believe what goes on in school. Ten years ago, when I was in high school, I never saw anything such as this. I remember thinking, "Kids these days" on my very first day of teaching at school. The students act so bad! 3 of 4 high-school students, in my opinion, leave the school day with a negative experience--their first teacher of the day asked them to wake up and they sassed her, their second teacher has them scared to death they don't get anything, my class is third and they slept through it, and they ran around in the veteran teacher's classroom for most of the last block scheduled, 90 minute class. On most days, they do not do any homework. Many students never do anything at home, and still pass all of their classes. The first time I assigned homework one student out of the 32 in my classroom had it the next day. The rest of them laughed.