Friday, August 29, 2008

snippets #2, and i made it through

see, i used to be an english teacher...

anyway, i am almost through my first week of school, and i have to be honest; it has been a rough one. actually, it has been a rough week-and-a-half. i will not go into detail, because then i would be complaining (and i don't really appreciate complainers...thanks to coacher and my "mommy" i can get my complaining out of my system before i have to have real, positive conversations with other people.) let me just say that this has been the week of passing the buck, and i'm not doing the passing. also, last week i (along with some of my vb girls) moved approximately 500-ish books and binders from a perfectly-equipped classroom in one hallway to a classroom in another hallway that did not even have bookshelves. what did we do with the books? they were on students' desks until about 5 pm last friday, when another bookshelf came in and my mom and i rearranged them and put them on shelves. (5 pm last friday, by the way, i was SUPPOSED to be coaching a vb practice. i had to make my assistant coaches do it instead.) anyway, in short, when i left last friday i had a classroom full of books and was still waiting on a storage cabinet for the rest of the materials, and i had 8 computers sitting in desks with their cords in knots. by monday morning, i still had no computers hooked up for students, nor did i have the CURRICULUM i was supposed to be giving students. (did i say i wasn't going to complain? don't worry, i'm not. i'm simply reporting the happenings.) yesterday i finally got hooked up to the network attendence system, but i still have no access to a gradebook, and i have a random printer, a tv, and a computer monitor sitting on the floor waiting to be taken somewhere else.

that--and the passing of the buck disease that seems to be spreading around these parts-- aside, i really like my job, and i really like my kids. the vb stresses me out because i sometimes feel inadequate, but i like the girls and think it will be an exciting season. as for the teaching job, the kids i work with can be difficult at times, but so far i have found that they are pretty good kids who will work hard when they need to get things done. i like to say hi to them in the hallways, and one of my girls has a very cute little boy who i can go visit in the nursery if i feel like it. i also have three asian kids who all sit together and whisper to try to figure out words (that's my guess, because they are working on their curriculum). they are fun. they sometimes look guilty, though, so i just look at them and they smile at me, saying, "ok." they are hilarious.

as for a snippet, here is one more for you:
after a long class period, during which probably 50 people knocked on my door, called to ask me a question, gave me a package, etc, one of my students said, "wow, you're like the hot new neighbor that everyone wants to get in good with." that made me laugh, which was a good thing for that day.

also, i told the kids that it wasn't a good idea to talk about illegal things they'd done, because i don't want to hear it and i would tell on them if i heard. seems to have done the trick.

i guess the important part is that the week is almost over, we have a 3-day weekend, and i will come back to work on tuesday ready for good things.

Monday, August 25, 2008


a few of the conversational bits and pieces i have heard today (my "official" day one of the new teaching gig):

1 -- they are keeping their eyes on me for anger problems.
2 -- man, i had the worst night last night. (pause for dramatic effect) i got arrested.
3 -- is he the one who bought the alcohol? (speaking of someone's relative or another student, i believe)
4 -- my mom kicked me out again. (other kid: man, i hate that. it's so annoying to deal with new schedules and everything.) my dad called me later to tell me that my mom wanted me to live with him. permanently.
5 -- when i used my id for the first time...
6 -- i went to midnight rodeo the other night. you ever been there? (following this was a comment about "buns," at which comment i said, ok that's plenty of information from you.
7 -- a girl in nixa, a girl at parkview...
8 -- at ____, if you buy a parking permit they can test you for drugs and stuff. forget that.

i will leave it at that. i think you get the idea.

it will be an adventure. (and we all know i like adventure...)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Answer: 90-40

Question: What is the range of temperatures you will experience when you walk into a building in the summer?

(90 degrees outside, 40 inside.)

here is my idea (and it is my own idea this time): let's turn the inside AC temp WAY up. (I mean, is 74 degrees too much to ask anyway?) I have come up with seveal reasons to do this, but here are my top three:

1. We will save OODLES of money. (Particilarly if certain big companies, school districts, etc. put this into practice. Schools, in particular, would benefit from this in that teachers would a) not have to bring English-teacher-like sweaters to class in August; and b) more money could go to their paychecks OR to their classrooms.)

2. My body aches from the shivering, and my fingers don't move as quickly when I type.

3. I don't have any winter coats that look cute with summer clothes.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What If...

...the government told parents they would not give them their welfare checks until their kids had no D's or F's on their progress reports at school?

(I cannot take credit for this idea, but I bet you can guess who came up with it.) I think it's a pretty good thought and, despite the possibility of some extra work, I am pretty sure teachers would be on board with the policy as well. Any teacher I know would like to see their students succeed, even if that meant a little more paperwork.

I realize this presupposes that kids whose families are on welfare do more poorly in school than kids whose families, but I am sure there is some evidence out there to support that. If I get some free time, I'll look around for the stats, but for now just take my humble opinion. (But please don't think I'm trying to say that all kids on welfare do poorly; some do extremely well in school.)

Wisconsin began linking welfare checks to students' attendance in 1989, and the state was met by some staunch opponents. Here's what happened then.

Thoughts? Would linking checks to grades be a good idea?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

new J-O-B

I have to say, I am pretty pumped about my new job. I am in charge of volleyball, Credit Recovery, and the Missouri Option program at Central, so I literally get to help kids get their diplomas. (Credit Recovery has nothing to do with finances, by the way. It’s for kids who have failed a class and have to earn credit for it quickly. Basically, a second chance…)

I had no clue Missouri Option even existed until I got the job, but now that I am learning more about it I can’t imagine going back to a regular classroom.

Here’s the main idea: MO Option is an alternative program enabling students to earn a high school diploma through academic testing (the GED) and work experiences. Basically, I see a group of MO Option kids about 15 hours a week (3 hours a day). They come to my classroom to prepare to take the GED, and I help them complete their study guides, prepare them for life after high school, and get them signed up for the test. They work at their own pace, so my main job is to help them along and make sure they are ready for the test. Students are also required to work or volunteer 15-20 hours a week, so they get work experience that will help them get better jobs in the future. AND, they will get to research careers and job shadow to get an idea of what they would like to do in the future. On top of all that, we get to take several field trips so kids can get an idea of what’s out there as far as jobs are concerned, and we get to have lunch at the Tower Club so the kids can learn proper etiquette. Many speakers from the community also take time out of their days to come talk to the kids, which makes them feel like they’re worth something to someone. (Many of them have never felt that way.) Anyway, we could have some ups and downs, but I am excited to work with these kids. This program is their last chance to get a diploma, because they don’t have enough credits to finish high school with their peers. If not for this program, many of them would simply drop out and lose hope (and I assure you, most of them are in that position in the first place because of some circumstances that are out of their control). In addition to all of the above, I plan to do some character education (beginning with Hal Urban) to help these kids approach life with new eyes. What an outstanding example of grace in our public school system.

As for volleyball, I really enjoy the girls (and the coaches I work with), but the gig makes me a wee-bit nervous. I want to do what's best for them on and off the court, and sometimes it's difficult to know what really IS best. So prayers appreciated.

Monday, August 4, 2008


i want to go to africa to love on some little kids so bad. and...

IF i ever get to africa to do mission work, i WILL get a tattoo.

i made this promise to coacher last night, but i feel the need to write it "publicly" so that i don't try to retract the statement--or claim it never happened--in a year or so when we get back from africa. (not that we are definitely going to africa in a year, but just in case the dream comes true..)

Friday, August 1, 2008

a shot i can handle

frosting shots: what a great idea.

today my mom brought me a newspaper article about the newest trend in cupcakes (sans the cupcake.) many bakeries around the country are beginning to sell "frosting shots" (shot glasses full of frosting) to customers. an exciting and ingenious idea that makes me wonder, "why didn't i think of that?"

obviously, my mom knows me well. i have been known to eat the icing off of my own piece of cake, plus the icing off about 2-3 others. i can definitely handle this new shot.

if you aren't excited about this new trend, you aren't quite living. also, if you ever get over to the lotz household, this is the only type of shot we'll be serving up. (but don't worry, we'll have several varieties of frosting flavors available.)