Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The problem with students nowadays..

Ok- not all students- but this seems to be rampant in every low scoring class that I have seen.  Some of the kids are in these classes because of learning disabilities, but not all.  Lemme tell you- I have seen some great hardworking kids with learning disabilities.  I have seen kids who work at trying to solve a problem- even if they don't get it right- they still obviously try.
But lately, I have seen a lot of kids not try.  This makes me so sad and angry.  Students get a paper and I walk them through it and  still they don't even bother to lift a pencil.  Students get a math problem and just say "it's too hard, do it for me..." or "it's too boring"  or "can I do this later at home?(or in a special study class for kids who need even more time to get classwork and homework done)" 
What? They are giving up before even starting?  I'd use the word lazy but heard a story of a woman who worked as a teacher and used the word lazy about her class and ended up fired.
Today the morning class had to do a few things.  1) read for 15 minutes and write 1 sentence about what you read. 2) write one paragraph about your weekend.  3) fill in the blanks about cause and effect 4) write a persuasive letter.   I had to chide students into reading then writing the whole one sentence.   The paragraphs about their weekend were more like 2 sentences.  The fill in the blanks I almost spoon fed them verbally.  About half the students didn't bother to listen as I taught and asked me what went in the effects squares.  I just read it to you! Paused when the answer came up in the paragraph.  Pointed to the damn square it should be written in.  and verbally said "this square should say...."!!!!!
The letter went like this:  " We need to write a letter to persuade people to join an after school club.  Please think about what kind of club you would like to start.  I would like to start an art club.  Jacob here (who likes to use the fact that he is Asian in every conversation) would like to start an asian club.  Alan, what club would you like to start? (Alan says hiphop)...Ok, please pick up your pencils.  Place them on the first line of the lined paper you have in front of you.  Write 'I am starting an after school __________club'.  Fill in the blank with the type of club you would start. I will write art for my club.".......................
Do you see what I am saying?  How I walked the kids through the whole dern thing?  I then showed them how to give three brief reasons to join the club in the intro paragraph (enjoyment, college transcripts, help with other curriculum).  I even told them they could use the same reasons.  I gave examples of other reasons.  Then use reason #1 for paragraph two.  "Art club will bring you enjoyment by...."
Use reason # 2 for paragraph 3.

I basically wrote their essay in cloze (fill in the blank form).  And I still got papers turned in with one sentence on them!
Not because they don't understand.  But because they don't feel like doing it.  It's booooring.  It's tooo hard.  Wah wah wah.
I really don't understand this lack of drive in people.  I really don't understand how anyone can take education so lackadaisically.  I just don't understand why they don't just get it done! 
The same thing happened for math.  Except it was only 3 students whining.  One student finished and had 40 minutes free time.  The three chose to fiddle around, whine, complain, whimper, and grump until class was over, leaving them with homework.
Where does this come from?  There can't be that many parents who don't value education enough to preach the necessity of doing schoolwork and taking pride in it to their kids.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tobin- rererepost

I am stealing from my Mom's blog today.  She quotes my brother.  I think I posted this last year as well- but well, it's his death anniversary and it's my blog (sticking tongue out)

Thirteen years ago, on February 17, 1998, our grandson lost his battle with Neuroblastoma – a form of cancer. Toby was born on March 8, 1995, so he did not make it to his 3rd birthday. He was a very special child, with eyes that looked into your soul. My son, Toby’s uncle and namesake, wrote the story below just after Toby’s death.

When you looked at him, you couldn’t help noticing that he had sky-eyes; two big blue sheets of glass like dolphins swimming, because he was Toby-wan-kanobi. And as he swam, you saw grace and strength and joy and peace and mischief and some forever God thing deep inside there and all these things intermingled as he swam deep deep, or played in the surf, or occasionally confronted sharks.
I have been spending a lot of time on the beach lately. On Wednesday eve I paddled out at just about sunset. And just as I got washed in a wall of white, a family of dolphins surfaced outside where my friend sat on his board, where I had been just a minute earlier. They swam around for a couple of minutes and then disappeared into the deep deep before I got a chance to see them – but that’s how dolphins are.
On Friday I stood on the pier and watched a couple of them splash all glistening and satin. They would actually wait for the waves. When the sun is low in the sky and the glowing swell rises up liquid jade and arches, you could make out a silhouette of one or two, side by side, riding the wave for pure joy – then they too disappear.
But the thing that intrigues me most about dolphins, and of this I am convinced, they know more than they let on. They’ve got some connection with eternity – they talk to God – the’ve peeked into the secrets of the universe – they have a deep deep peace that reflects their old souls that are not confined to the dimensions of time. And yet, even in this enlightened state of Godlikeness, humble and quiet, when they finally open their mouths, the song they sing can only mean one thing – “Playroom!” and so when I grow up I want to be like Toby . . . with eyes like dolphins swimming. I want to live hard and laugh lots. I want to swim in the deep deep. I want to confront the sharks with courage and grace. I want to know God, and through it all, I want to go to the playroom every day.
I only got to swim with Toby for a brief time before he turned his tail, glistening, and disappeared into the deep deep. But that’s how dolphins are . . . . (GEO Feb. 1998)
When Toby was in the hospital he loved it when his brother and sister could come to see him and the three of them could go into the playroom. He was amazingly courageous throughout his battle. We miss him."

I do too

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Poem for Tobin

I will always remember the day you were born
Backwards, bony, and somewhat forlorn.
I will always remember the day you died
I am certain more than half the world cried.
I will always remember the days in between
Days full of hope and days to dream.
Every moment that you grew
every pain you went through
every second of love so true
Because they were filled full of you.
I will always remember you, my son.
The happy you, full of fun.
The sad you, held near my heart
and though we are worlds apart...
You are still in my arms and in my dreams.
and even though the pain is too much it seems,
It means I loved you and still do
And I will always remember you.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I was thinking about my son today.  His death day is coming up on the 17th.  It's been 13 years.  His birthday would be on the 8th of March.  He'd be 16.
I've been weepy the past three days (can't be that I have been pmsing for two weeks now- urg stupid messed up body) but also because my other babies have been gone two weeks and Tob's anniversary is coming up. (Boyfriend's dad oddly told me that I have to just not think about it)
So, on a side note, I've been asking boyfriend to bring my boxes of stuff home from being stored at his shop.  they are full of books for some imaginary future classroom and I am tired of storing them.  I also have altar stuff and patterns ion there I want to use.  Boyfriend brought home one box today.
The box was full of baby stuff!  My kid's cards to me, baby footprints, Tob's hospital pictures and little shoes, baby socks, etc etc.  I had a good cry. I take it as a gift from him.  Tobin picked that box for me to get.

Tomorrow I'll post the poem I wrote for Tobin's memorial.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How can I tell You are Engaged?

Man! I worked all week last week.  Usually I get a day off or a half day, and always I get to sleep in on the weekends, but last week was an exception.  It started off with sixth graders who wouldn't be quiet!  There were three boys who were really trying my patience.  Then, luckily, I got switched out from a second day with those hoodlums to work with pre-K for the rest of the week (and Monday).  PreK is fabulous- the kids are hyper and sometimes don't listen, but they don't act that way to test the teacher, they act that way because they are silly wiggleworms. 
So, over the weekend I got up way too early.  I helped paint characters on a nursery wall.  I actually drew out Pooh, Hefflelump, Piglet, Gopher, Rabbit, and Tigger freehand!  I was proud of my art skills.  I started painting in pieces of them and then the day ran out.  I am going back with my friends to finish up in two weeks- I can't wait to see the finished project.
Sunday was the big game- I went to a car show in the early morning, then ate too much and drank too much while watching the game.  I was happy with outcome and enjoyed my day- but went straight to bed when I got home.
Monday- Monday we were evacuated from the classroom!  A pipe bomb was in a store across the street from the school.  We spent three hours trying to keep the little guys in a row and entertained.  I actually resorted to singing the horrible song- Ring around the rosy.  ewww.
so, what's the point of my title?  How can I tell if you are engaged?  Lemme tell you what happened on february 3rd.  Lunar New Year.  We have a lot of vietnamese in my class and they were all gearing up to celebrate the year of the cat.  We talked about it every day for a week.  We read about Chinese New Year,  made paper lanterns, put together a salad with mandarins and sesame dressing, colored dragons...etc.
On the first day of Lunar New Year, I wore my Jacket from China.  I asked the kids as we were doing calendar "What Holiday is it today?"  they all looked at me---duhhh.  I said "Why am I wearing a lucky red jacket?" huh?  "why did Justin give me a lucky red envelope?" huh?  "What day is today?"  and one child answered "RED!"
That's when I knew they weren't engaged and it was time to give up and go outside...