Monthly Archives: January 2014

A Little Indulgence

I borrowed thirteen books by my favorite children’s author Patricia Polacco from the public library.  I may read some of them to my students under the guise of sharing good literature.  Her artwork is personable; her characters are memorable; her work brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face.  When I have the time to read to my students, it shows my human side.  I went onto the library’s website and requested that about eight or nine more of her books be held for me.  It’s been a while since I’ve read her works since my son has “outgrown” the children’s books and moved on to history as his favorite reading topic after a nice stop in fantasy and science fiction.  I never did outgrow them; I never plan to.


Time to Get Busy

In three months, my young charges will take the STAAR (or State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) tests covering mathematics and reading skills.  I will work with some of my struggling students on concepts where needed, and will work with the classes as a whole where everyone pretty much needs the extra help.  I do well once the pieces are put into place by minds equipped for scheduling and planning.  Once I see something and understand how it works, I can implement it with few problems.  I just like having a plan to follow.

I went to see a soccer game that featured three former students.  It was fun to see the guys in a different light since two of them regularly stop by at least once a month to visit and make me feel like a million bucks.  I used to call them “my footies” since they love football (as they would naturally refer to soccer).  We’d check the scores on ESPN to see how their teams would fare.  I don’t have any footies this year that I know of, yet.  I saw some former students playing basketball on Thursday night before heading out to my monthly Bunco game.  They are thrilled when I take the time to attend; I have a marvelous memory to share with them; it is win-win-win!  If you’ve never gone to a concert or game where you have students participating, you must do so as soon as possible.  Even if you only make it to one per student/sport, you have made an impact on that young person’s life.  They know that you love them.  ¡Ciao!


Same Song, Second Verse

We began the second semester last week, and already I see that some of my students have decided to revert to first semester behavior.  I speak of the “if I don’t do it, then it will go away” mindset.  Indications of late work known as zeroes pollute my grade book.  A student failed my class for the first semester and thinks I am “mean.” Child, you have no idea what mean actually is.  Use the dictionary in my classroom; it is defined as malicious or selfish.  Neither word applies when it comes to my classroom.  I have high standards for my students in my classroom.  This is not mean. I want you to succeed in my classroom; therefore, I have rules about how you conduct yourself. If the rules aren’t obeyed, then you have failed yourself.  Another way to define mean is average.  I am above average; I am not mean.

I have some bright students who test well; work is not their concern.  I’ve been reading several articles on the Internet about underachievers and how to motivate them.  One of the best ideas I saw was to have them earn a reward one day at a time.  This sounds great from a parenting perspective; my time and resources are limited. I still take it personally if they choose to barely scrape by.  I struggle not to let them sit and twist in the wind.  In the latter part of the spring semester, I find myself cutting my losses and letting them fail themselves.  I have to let them fail themselves instead of trying to rush in and save them.  I want them to be independent in their motivation yet still ask for help when it is required.  I want them to grow up well.  Does this mean I don’t care about them? No, I seethe with rage inside, use my firm voice outside, and have one-on-one talks when needed.  My emotional involvement demonstrates my care and concern.  If I truly didn’t care, I would really let them go.  I never really let them go; the school year simply comes to an end.  I find myself wondering how I could have done something better. Like my students, I am a lifelong learner.  I am always increasing my knowledge and desiring to apply it masterfully. ¡Ciao!