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1967. Ms. No - 5/10/2018 9:18:21 PM

Not great news, but a wild story: we had to fire one of our student teachers. (Not mine, fortunately)

My student teacher called me on Friday night. She was upset and had been agonizing since just after lunch the day before. Turns out the other student teacher approached her before the start of the 5th-period class that they team teach and said: I've got some good gossip, but here, first I've got a secret." Then she hands my teacher a Starbucks cup --- always a welcome gift around here -- but when she went to drink it, it was a Margarita.

Yes. A Margarita.

On campus. In the classroom. With kids already filing in.


So, there's lots of drama and story behind all of this, but the long and the short of it was that this was just a final straw for a student teacher we'd already had issues with around attendance and not pulling her weight.


1968. Seamus - 5/10/2018 9:34:14 PM

Craziness indeed! May I assume that this is not the norm for student teachers? Or, to ask the question in a different way, when I read through this thread all the way from when a certain host began her career in 2008 teaching drama, were the details of alcohol use during the day glossed?

1969. Ms. No - 5/11/2018 3:52:09 PM

Ha! If I were much of a drinker anymore, I'm sure some students would have driven me to the bottle, and god knows some days would have been far more tolerable through a whiskey haze, but no, I've never imbibed before, on, or near the job.

Now, come in with less than three hours of sleep? Sure!

1970. Ms. No - 6/1/2018 4:01:54 PM

The Days of Feasts and Tears have officially begun!

Wednesday evening at 5:30 I went to a celebration honoring several of my seniors' successful completion of a two-year internship program. We ate lasagne.

Wednesday at 7:30 I attended a graduation celebration for one of my seniors who had to change schools mid-year. We ate cheesecake.

Last night from 6 to 8 our school hosted the BSU (Black Student Union) Grad Celebration. Fried chicken, fried fish, mac'n'cheese, dirty rice, greens, and cornbread.

Last night was the first cry.

The BSU Celebration goes like this: we gather, there's a live music performance or other entertainment for about 15 minutes, we do the food line and then the graduates come forward to sit in a long row of chairs at the front of the gym. One by one, each student stands and their family comes forward to speak to/about them. Then the student announces their plans for the future.

So, Ms. Ro starts calling folks up, "What's your name, baby?" then "Who stands up for Michael/Kayla/LeJean?" and then family members stand and come up to the front. Almost always a mom, but sometimes a grandmother or auntie if there isn't a mom. A little less than 50% had dads who attended. Some brothers and sisters. After everyone has spoken, they go stand behind the student and the next family comes up.

I'm looking at the row of students and I'm really concerned because one of them got very upset in my classroom just last week over lack of family. And he's the first of my kids who's going to have to stand.

Ms. Ro gets to him, and he's seated, and she asks "Who stands up for S?" and he's shaking his head and looking at the floor and we're already out of our seats headed to the front -- me, the school social worker, the principal, the after-school director -- but he can't see because he's still shaking his head and looking at the floor. And we get up there and he's crying which of course gets all of us crying and we all say our piece about this amazing kid. We all finish speaking and he takes the mic and addresses the room. He tells a roomful of mostly strangers that he's an orphan and that's why he didn't want to stand. He was abandoned in an alley and raised in the system and now he's on his way to college. And of course that gets everybody else crying and then we move on down the line.

1971. Ms. No - 6/1/2018 4:07:15 PM

Later on, when another of our students (T) is standing and her mom is finished speaking, S takes the mic and talks about how much T has contributed to his success and how thankful he is for her friendship and support. That's the kind of person he is: he's always thinking of others.

Oh, man, this kid. One of the kindest people I've ever known. Smart, funny, generous, and heroic. He was in the paper earlier this year because he saw a fire in a vacant lot that was threatening nearby houses. He shouted for help and was already turning a hose on it by the time anyone else got out there. When the fire department showed up they pointed out that if he hadn't acted when he did, they'd have been putting out a house fire rather than just a brushfire.

He's rescued wounded animals and nursed them back to health -- squirells, pigeons, a crow. The policy at the children's home is not to allow pets, but he's been with them since he was a baby, so they give him a little leeway.

This is not to say that he doesn't get on my last nerve sometimes -- which he knows -- but I am continually amazed by this young man. This has been an especially difficult year for him and I know the stress and fear of leaving a safe environment where there are people who care about him has got to be putting him into a panic.

1972. arkymalarky - 6/6/2018 3:07:35 AM

What a wonderful ceremony! There's just nothing like teaching in the whole world. Once I got the hang of it after a couple years I never wanted to do anything else. Still don't. We graduate our seniors and they can select who to give them their diplomas, and four of the 20 or so kids wanted me to give them theirs, and it was a wonderful thing to watch these kids start their new lives feeling like they're ready. Not just academically but emotionally and socially.

1973. Ms. No - 6/6/2018 4:58:03 PM

I just remember running into your former students all over the place when I was out for the Gathering. All different ages and all of them so excited to see you. Just think how many lives you've been a positive force in!

1974. arkymalarky - 6/29/2018 6:12:55 PM

Went to my classroom for the first time since the new teacher has done things with it, and it was sad but really sweet. She's obviously very excited about her job, she's young but has experience, and she's doing really cool things with the room. I'm going to be up there some next year I know, and that makes me feel better, and it really makes me smile and cry at the same time to know that I'm being replaced by somebody who is excited and is going to love her job. And her husband is working there too as a science teacher, so they're long-term. Her stepfather was my student years ago.

1975. arkymalarky - 6/29/2018 6:14:41 PM

And he's also a teacher there and is helping take care of his father who is my colleague. So they're all staying for the Long Haul

1976. arkymalarky - 6/29/2018 6:14:57 PM

Who was my colleague

1977. winstonsmith - 1/7/2019 7:09:15 AM

I have two kids applying to college. Any recommendations? My son has it pretty much sorted out but my daughter is all over the place. Her first choice is Pomona in SoCal but she probably wonít get in and itís too expensive. She is interested in occidental in SoCal and Santa Clara in the Bay Area. Also Trinity University in San Antonio. We dont qualify for much need based aid so she needs to get merit aid if she can. Trying to find a nice place with good academics and good aid packages.

1978. Ms. No - 1/7/2019 11:41:10 PM

What does she want to study, and why does she like the schools she likes?

I had no idea what I wanted to study -- not really -- but I knew I didn't want to go to school in SoCal. I took a trip around the state with my mom looking at schools and I chose CSUS because I liked the town. Turned out to be a great choice for me.

What does she want out of the college experience? Is she focused on a career, on pure academics, the step toward independence, college life?

--- speaking of, I have to go teach my class. I'll be back.

1979. Ms. No - 1/8/2019 1:26:20 AM

It helps to know what she wants from college first. When considering finances, if she doesn't have a specialty major in mind, it might be great to find a solid state school for undergrad and then look at private colleges or more prestige for graduate school. If you get a Ph.D. from Stanford, nobody cares where your undergrad was completed.

1980. winstonsmith - 1/8/2019 7:52:16 AM

Right now,she is interested in becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist so she will have to go to grad school. She visited the Claremont colleges and kind of fell in love with the campus there. We live in Portland where it rains a lot and she gets cold so the warmer weather is appealing to her. It is just so expensive to go there. They give tons of need-based aid, which I applaud, but if you are middle to upper middle class, there is little aid. For some of these schools there is now a dumbbell-like curve for the enrollment. Rich students and poor students with little in the middle. I have heard that Trinity in San Antonio gives more aid and the weather would be warm but I donít know what it is like there. I guess we should visit. Honestly, I would like her to go to a state school to save money.

1981. arkymalarky - 1/11/2019 5:35:18 PM

She'd probably like San Antonio. I bet she'd love Austin. I've told it here more than once but Stan's nephew got easily accepted to Yale but couldn't afford to go. So he went to state University. Got 2 engineering degrees spending no money and they paid him every semester. Mose didn't get that much but she got $1,000 a semester after having everything paid for. The private University she wanted to attend called their full scholarship about 1/4 of what they cost.

1982. winstonsmith - 1/14/2019 5:08:13 AM

I would dearly love for her to set her sights on a school that would give her a full ride. I would be happy to have my portion of the tuition waiting for her in a bank account after she graduates to use for grad school or buying a house. She doesnít understand the oppression of debt. She doesnt understand what it will feel like to be 40 and still paying college debt. All the interest. It just makes sick to think about her accumulating over $100k in debt even after we pay our part. Then she will have to pay for grad school on top of that.

1983. arkymalarky - 1/14/2019 7:58:57 AM

Mose didn't either. She does now. She gave up her full free ride after 2 years To change schools for no good reason. It was closer to home so I didn't complain, but it cost her in addition to two graduate school degrees cost her. And I say her cuz that's her burden.

1984. Trillium - 1/17/2019 4:31:16 AM

When my kids were in high school, a coworker (whose son was already in college) gifted me with their copy of Peterson's Guide to Colleges. Your daughter may find Peterson's catalog useful for making a first list, and then narrowing it down by price, location and specialties.

If she doesn't make up her mind immediately, "Gap Year" is a great option. One friend's daughter spent a year in Ireland at a horse farm. She was accepted to a school which has a specialty in music (she's gifted) but is now an experienced veterinarian. Her year in Ireland helped her to choose a professional path.
Gap Year

If she can't make up her mind right away, there's no rush. Community colleges are either free or affordable at in-state tuition, and I've heard good things about the CC in Portland WA from someone who went there (is now a lawyer). CCs are a great place to pick up basic foundation classes that are likely to transfer easily as valuable time/credits. Suggestions: any math class; statistics; chemistry; anatomy & physiology; microbiology; music survey; foreign languages,

Is this the Portland you mean? Convenient locations

Portland Community College

Introduction to Sociology is an easy CLEP credit.

There are online classes available *for free* through Hillsdale College in Michigan. Hillsdale is unlikely to align with your family's political beliefs. However, Hillsdale is an interesting model of affordable educational outreach available anywhere in the world, and your daughter could work on her Mark Twain, Athens and Sparta etc. at no cost.
Hillsdale Free Online Classes

1985. winstonsmith - 1/17/2019 7:36:28 PM

Thanks Trillium. The gap year might be something to consider if she doesn't get any good offers. We have sent off 16 applications so we shall see over the next few months what offers she gets. She is a really strong student with a 4.0+ GPA, is in student government, wins many statewide debate competitions, does public service, is getting a full IB diploma. There are just too many kids who are similar to her competing for the top schools.

1986. Trillium - 1/18/2019 1:07:15 AM

Winston, she shouldn't have any problem getting accepted with the record you describe. I also would hold out for the full ride, it's almost certainly out there someplace.

Most teens don't understand the burden of debt. We came very close to that disaster. Sometime during her sophomore year, my eldest visited and applied to a more expensive school (closer to her then-boyfriend) for junior and senior year of college. I was aghast. In our discussions she told me she didn't care if she was in debt for the rest of her life. That's a not-quite-20 year old view of the world.

Fortunately for all of us, she stayed the course (and parted with the boyfriend) and managed to graduate without any significant debts besides some study abroad. Our family pitched in to take care of that one -- we had encouraged her to go abroad, and she definitely grew stronger and wiser from the experiences.

The second year of college is a particularly tough one for most college students. At a young age, two years seems like a long time. Four years seems like a century. Many students give up and drop out at that point. That's what almost happened to us, and from what Arky described that happened with her daughter. It's something to watch out for, a sort of burnout from many years of school and changing priorities.

That's why there is a case to be made for getting a two-year degree at a CC (then the credits won't vanish); then possibly taking a break to get work experience and more ideas about what she'd like to make of her adult life. She may apply at age 20 to a school that might not have interested her at age 18, and her major may be different also. One of my kids told me that had she had a botany class earlier in her college path, she would have majored in botany. Too late when you're already a senior and most of your credits are in another area... but you can't know what you don't know already. Life experience and more varied classes can help, but if those classes are terribly expensive, or if class size is huge, it can be burdensome.

With a great record she may get a full scholarship for those two years also, and in any case it would cost less than college credits for the same basic classes that can transfer.

Good luck. Sounds like she'll do well, whatever she decides.

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