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1891. Ms. No - 5/26/2016 12:31:35 AM

And I will envy you!

1892. arkymalarky - 5/26/2016 2:46:40 AM

I don't know how I'm going to feel about it when the time comes, but I'm very ambivalent about it now. People are walking on eggshells around me at the moment, but my basic request was not honored, so I'm going to be interested to see what happens by the spring of next year. They told me that they're looking to hire an extra English teacher next year but not this coming year. I'll believe it when I see it. What they do will determine how I end up leaving. If it goes well, I'll come back and help and help transition the new people, and the kids, but if they don't do what they need to do I'm going to let the board know in my resignation, walk away, and not look back. I will keep close to my friends who came to work there and to my students no matter what.

1893. arkymalarky - 5/26/2016 2:51:19 AM

I am very grateful to have gotten the Delight magic and my old friends back. Never thought that would happen.

1894. judithathome - 5/28/2016 11:59:29 PM

Wishing you the best whatever comes down!

You can always take the train and come here for a visit....HA! (inside joke!)

Seriously, as we both know, we'll be happy to pick you up half way....;-)

(and bring you back that way....waving at the empty train tracks all the way!)

1895. arkymalarky - 5/29/2016 1:43:59 AM

Awwww thanks! I'm definitely retiring after next year no matter what, and it'll make it easier emotionally if they don't fix their issues. I just hate it for the kids, and I'm going to fight for them up to the last day. These people need to adjust their priorities, and that is going to be my one note for a whole year. I told them that's what's going to happen, and I'm not kidding. They've known me long enough to know that.

I would love Amtrak to get its act together by the time I retired. I really enjoyed the little bit of time I got to be on the train.

1896. judithathome - 5/29/2016 5:22:30 PM

As you know, my across the street neighbor is a teacher (PE) in a very "at risk" school....new adminstrators have come in and they are systematically getting rid of all the "older" teachers...she is 2 years from early SS and her husband is on dialysis twice a day....she is worried sick.

1897. arkymalarky - 5/29/2016 6:30:34 PM

Evil. Just evil.

1898. arkymalarky - 5/29/2016 6:31:31 PM

We might have better Protections in Arkansas do they do in Texas for teachers, I don't really know anymore, but we do have a system that protects us from arbitrary dismissal.

1899. Ms. No - 6/10/2016 5:23:51 PM

Senior Check-Out today and I've got mixed feelings about it. Some really great kids in the Senior Class, but overall they were kind of a bunch of turkeys.

We're on shortened day for end-of-quarter, so classes are only 40 minutes long, but I'll just have the two classes of Sophomores -- whom I love but am heartily sick of at this point.

This year was the easiest start of any I've had, but 3 new preps was tough. I'll be overhauling them all this summer, so next year should go better for the long stretch. Right now I'm just thinking that I need to realllllly rejuvenate this summer. I'm pretty burnt out right now.

1900. arkymalarky - 6/10/2016 10:04:02 PM

Sometime I'll call you and tell you what's been going on with my situation. Actually it's not my situation, it's a situation, but it is really strange.

1901. arkymalarky - 8/11/2016 4:31:34 PM

Had the worst test scores for my kids since I've been teaching. I really have been down about it, but I think I know what I need to change to improve it for next year. I'm still very glad we switched to the ACT Aspire, but I'm going to have to shift to teach like what I do in AP English, structure wise. And they need way more time typing essays on the computer and being timed and answering questions about nonfiction materials off of the computer. It was our first year to be computer tested because we had waivers in the past, and they just did not manage their time. I was watching them as the worked and wishing that I could say something, but just had to watch them and know that they weren't doing what they needed to based on how they were composing their essays and reading the materials.

Our school structure sucks, especially the remediation, but that's not going to change. The kids and I have to adjust however we can and just accept the rest of it.

1902. Ms. No - 8/23/2016 4:00:18 AM

Sorry to hear your scores were down due to the process of the testing. It's so frustrating -- and it's disheartening for the kids. I think it'll be another 3 or 4 years before the tests are really measuring the skills they purport to rather than whether or not my students can navigate a computer-based test.

We've got Freshman Orientation tomorrow and Wednesday and then we start a week from Thursday on September 1st.

I am so not ready. I've still got bits and pieces of things scattered all over my room and I'm making changes to my curriculum maps.

The big accomplishment this summer was that I created my modified "Daily 5" stations. They aren't finished, but I have enough together for them to get off the ground, and I can add activities throughout the year as I finish them.

For those not familiar with the Daily 5, it's a strategy for structuring independent literacy practice in the elementary grades. There are 5 stations, each involving a different literacy strategy that students can do independently according to their own choice.

So, taking the basic concept I created 4 stations: Creative Writing, Reading & Writing for Research, Grammar, and Vocab & Spelling.

Each station has multiple different activities and students can choose whichever station and activity they want to do.

This will not be a daily task -- we don't have time -- but it means that anytime a student finishes work early, there is practice still to do. I'm sure there will be a few "lazy" days where I'll just have them do station work while I conference with individual students or small groups. It'll be great for when there's a sub since I won't have to write out a lesson plan that the sub won't teach anyway.

So, as I said, I've got a ton of activity prompts. Now I just have to put the boards together with pockets for all of the tasks and instructions on how to do them.

I've got a little bit of time since I have to explicitly teach many of the activities before a student could work independently, but I want most of this stuff up and complete by the time school starts.

1903. arkymalarky - 8/23/2016 4:31:16 PM

The two main things I'm changing this year are that we're going to do almost everything on the computer, and everything they do they have to explain why they did it. I actually really like the a.c.t Aspire test, and the feedback is the best I've ever seen. It tells students exactly what they need to do to score better the next time on each part of the test.

1904. arkymalarky - 8/23/2016 4:31:57 PM

Sounds like you're ready to hit the ground running. We started the 15th of August, and I must be nuts but I just love the first week of school. I've been telling my colleagues that when I retire I'm just going to come back for the first week every year until I can't do it anymore.

1905. Ms. No - 9/5/2016 8:54:35 PM

Our Principal played this for us at our staff meeting after the first day of school. I nearly peed myself.

Kelly Woodby Ferguson: Day One is Done....and I survived

It needs a little editing - goes on a bit - but, oh my god, did we laugh.

1906. arkymalarky - 9/6/2016 12:21:21 AM

Nice to have an admin who gets it.

1907. Ms. No - 4/24/2017 7:22:52 PM

Things to Make You Bang Your Head (and not in the good way)

Signed on for a mini-grant with another teacher. $2,500 is not much money, but it's not nothing, either. We were tasked to create some lesson plans around mental health integration in our respective content-areas.

And when we get the particulars they wanted a full year curriculum map, multiple units with detailed lesson plans, PowerPoints & handouts etc. Essentially about 5 times what the grant would actually cover.

Seriously, it's a grant offered by people who think anybody can just whip up solid curriculum in a couple hours. To which I say: If it was so effing easy and took so little time, why did you have to hire out for it in the first place? Couldn't your office clerk have done it?


Good news is that I have a bunch of lessons ready to go for next year when I teach Senior English for the first time. :-)

1908. arkymalarky - 5/1/2017 4:25:48 PM

It was hard to decide, especially in light of how crazy things have been since spring break, but I'm going to do one more year.

I'll say this about that amount of work and that amount of money, it seems like a lot for not nearly enough.

1909. Ms. No - 5/1/2017 5:11:29 PM

Glad you're doing another year! I'd hate to be all alone. :-)

Yeah, it was nowhere near enough for the work we did. Fortunately there will be a bunch of curriculum development money this summer and my principal has already told us to count the additional hours we spent working on this stuff toward our summer hours. She's really good about making sure we get paid for any extra work we do. She was pissed on our behalf.

1910. arkymalarky - 5/3/2017 4:05:52 PM

Yeah, A lot's been going on and I'm very ready for this year to be over, but I think one more is the best way to go. I'll catch people up in the cafe sometime. After this week it's three more including finals, so I can sort of see the endgame. The job has not been bad, it's just everything else to the point that I'm starting to feel like I don't have time to work anymore.

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