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1950. wabbit - 12/7/2017 5:56:30 PM

Thought this article might be of interest:

American children are drowning in self-esteem

1951. Ms. No - 12/8/2017 3:15:23 AM

He's not entirely wrong, but he's not entirely right either. Comparing the average American public school --- or even the above average American public school -- to the test scores of private school children in Shanghai isn't a very useful measure, not so much because of the differences in educational theory -- which are significant -- but because of the differences in student pool and overall cultural philosophy.

The focus shouldn't narrow to "what's wrong with American education," when what is really being looked at is how American culture is different from Chinese culture -- neither of which is in any way homogeneous enough to talk about in any but the most general of ways.

That being said, I think America has veered off into the silly-lands with the lack of honest critique. We are either "kind" to the point of dishonesty, or dishonest in the pursuit of crushing our adversaries at all costs. All of it is lying.

1952. Ms. No - 12/18/2017 8:53:15 PM

One. more. week.

Time has slowed to a crawl and the natives are restless. This will be a fairly light instructional week for me, but the kids are working hard on Thesis papers and final projects, so they're all freaking out and I'm doing a lot of hand-holding.

Wednesday will be fun --- they've created Breakout puzzles to test each other, 1st period against 3rd, and then we'll do a potluck during English while I do individual consultations with students on their senior projects.

I'm so sick of the senior project. Gotta restructure this thing for next year. Still spending waaaaaay too much time on the research paper, but for most of them, it's only the second one they've ever written of any length. The last one that was more than five pages was when I had them back in sophomore year --- and for about 85% of them, it was the first they'd ever written.


I'm looking to teach research papers more like journalism in the future. Maybe that will be more fun and make more sense.

1953. arkymalarky - 12/25/2017 5:56:55 PM

Taking my Junior High to the cemetery for the last time. I really like that little Excursion as a core for introductory research.

Not marking x's on the calendar or benchmarks, but it pops into my head some this year when I'm doing things I enjoy that I'm not going to do them ever again. Yesterday I was saying that to stan about teaching poetry after I was talking to him about an Emily Dickinson poem, and busted out crying.

1954. Ms. No - 1/19/2018 7:24:58 PM

Just found out that one of my students has been asked to speak at the Sacramento Women's March! She's been working as a peer educator with Planned Parenthood for the last year and the director for the Sacramento region asked her yesterday if she'd be willing to talk about her experience as a patient and then volunteer at PP.

She's not even 18 years old yet and she will have spoken at the capital of one of the most influential states in the nation as well as the wider world. I'm so proud of her! and so excited!

1955. arkymalarky - 1/20/2018 6:10:49 PM

How cool is that!

1956. Ms. No - 1/21/2018 4:34:57 AM

Turns out TWO of my students spoke today. So fucking cool!

1957. Ms. No - 2/22/2018 10:22:35 PM

So, my kids have been talking a lot about guns. We've been reading articles and they've been coming up with ideas to curb gun violence. Three of our students made it onto the evening news in a panel for local News 10.

News 10 is coming back this evening to speak to teachers --- not just from our school, we're hosting, but only one of us (guess who) is slated to be on the panel.

Our principal reached out to let the district's communications officer know that this was going on --- just a heads up out of politeness, and she was informed that we ARE NOT ALLOWED to speak because they didn't approve it prior to it being scheduled.

So I emailed my principal back and asked her if I could - politely - point out to the communications director that they didn't have the authority to restrict my speech. She said "I think that's a valid argument. I just forwarded your email to my boss who has a meeting with the communications director in 15 minutes."

I love my boss!

If the District thinks they're avoiding stink that might arise from one of their teachers -- who had no intention of identifying the district or even my school -- speaking out about school shootings and gun violence, they've clearly not considered the far larger implications of attempting to deprive a private citizen of her first amendment right to free speech.

You want inflammatory statements? Try this on for size "School District Violates Teachers' 1st Amendment Rights"

1958. arkymalarky - 2/23/2018 3:02:12 AM

You go! Keep us posted!

1959. Ms. No - 2/24/2018 12:36:09 AM

So we got yet another refusal back from the district -- they can refuse my participation because I was contacted by the news station exclusively because I'm a district teacher.

Except that wasn't exactly the case.

At any rate, I called the union and our president asked me if it was the same panel that she'd been contacted about sending a CTA member to, and I told her it was, so she invited me to speak as a CTA member.

If the District even notices -- which I highly doubt --- they can't do anything at this point because it could be argued that they were retaliating against me for participating in Union business.

So I went to the panel and spoke and had an excellent experience. It was a pretty diverse panel as far as political views, but we had far more in common than not, and we were all coming from almost exactly the same place regarding the importance of building relationships with our students and how much harder this becomes every year because of the piling on of curriculum and extra duty instruction.

It airs tonight at 11 PST.

They did not use my name, my district name, or the name of my school, so I'm happy as a clam with the way things went. Turns out only two of the other teachers felt comfortable giving their names 00 and then only first names, so I didn't look like the weirdo conspiracy theorist. :-)

1960. Ms. No - 2/24/2018 2:46:56 AM

And we'll never know whether the District would have just not noticed because my stupid union president went and tried to beat her chest over the whole incident and NOW they may have to make an example of me.

I am pro-union, but I am NOT a fan of my union president and now she may have actively harmed my job just so she could pick a fight with the District.


Well, we'll see what happens on Monday. I just got word from my principal that she heard it from her boss who was notifying the communications director and the head of the Academic Office.

The Academic Office which wasn't involved in any of this to begin with and whose involvement now makes me sweat.

I can only hope that my long history of excellent relations with the head of the Academic Office will help to mitigate these circumstances.

1961. arkymalarky - 2/24/2018 5:06:44 PM

Well shit. I think you will prevail, but it may be an unpleasant process that may take a while. I don't see how your communications director has a leg to stand on to tell you can't do something like that, but if you make him / her look bad because it does look bad, the communications director I wish they'd kept quiet, it may be more painful than they wished it would have been. At some point you stand up for right and the people who try to prevent you for doing that will hopefully be exposed for the weasels they are.

1962. arkymalarky - 2/24/2018 5:07:10 PM


1963. Ms. No - 2/25/2018 7:32:16 PM

I'm just hoping that it will have totally blown over by tomorrow. The segment is short, and I speak least of anyone. (Shocking!) Nobody says anything inflammatory, and anyone who pursued this as some violation of my employment is a needle-dick moron.

1964. Ms. No - 3/14/2018 6:10:50 PM

And this time the District shows it can make the right call: They are fully and whole-heartedly supporting the student walk-out today.

My kids are in orange wearing the names of the Florida victims or of people they know who have been victims of gun violence. One of my kids sat up last night making orange ribbon bows for any who want to wear them today.

However shitty I start to feel about the state of our country right now, I can look at these kids -- at kids all across America -- and feel a little relief. The future is fierce. They've got this.

1965. Ms. No - 4/17/2018 10:53:06 PM

Finally kicking the Intro to Medical Coding class to the curb. It's just not suited to high school students. It was originally written for college students in an Allied Health program and just doesn't transfer.

This leaves me open to write a course on Infographics and Visual Literacy!! Very excited!

1966. Ms. No - 5/9/2018 12:07:58 AM

Gotten some great response from the local community college about possible articulation from my Visual Literacy course to either their graphic design program or maybe as an English elective. That would be really cool! The professor I contacted looped in about twelve other staff, and while nobody has a current fit, they're all excited about it and want to see the course when I've got it finished.

Then yesterday my contact came back with another professor at a different campus who is also looking to write a similar course, so I may get a collaborator!

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!

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