Category Archives: Classroom

No Spinning!

Those horn-blasted spinners are the current bane of teachers’ existence. We have signs up around our campus as reminders to not bring toys to school. Here is one I took up on Monday and did not give back until the end of the school day. 

This meme sums up my opinion. I have trolls who will not bring their pencils to class. I am letting them suffer natural consequences: more homework, wasted work time, and some much-needed time to reflect on personal decisions about preparation for their one job. Going. To. School.


RLT

It’s Okay to Say “No” to Sharing!

I just read an article about a mother who received dirty looks when her son did not share his toys with some perfect strangers at a playground. They ran back to their mommies and told how the Toy Man wouldn’t share. Toy Man brought his toys to share with his friend, not a pack of other kids. Tsk! That struck a chord with me. I have demanded that other students share with those who chose not to come to class prepared. No longer. I will have to learn to let it go and not seethe with rage when I see an apathetic middle school student sit there and do nothing. For forty-two to forty-five minutes. If they don’t have a pencil in their lockers, then that is what they will do. If they have supplies and don’t bring them, it will be a disciplinary issue. Three strikes means you serve a consequence.

Personally speaking, I paid money for my son’s supplies. I did not buy them to be shared. Other parents pay money for their own children, not some punk who won’t bother to bring his supplies. I am not speaking out against those who have an economic need. I take care of them with school supplies I buy with my dwindling budget. I try to plan ahead for the next year each spring. It is an expectation to have pencils, paper, colored pencils, rulers, etc. because “not every child has them.” When we use technology, I have to reserve enough devices or I am not allowing everyone equal access. That is a rant for another day. I am not advocating selfishness to one’s fellow man. Each student should be able to say “No” at the appropriate time. They should not be expected to give their prized pencils and/or erasers to someone who does not care and/or would not reciprocate. Mama bought me personalized pencils. That meant they were mine. All mine to use. Mine. The change begins the next time my class starts on Tuesday morning. Believe it.

RLT

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Me and My Feet

I am absolutely notorious about being a workaholic. I constantly think about my students, my lessons, my organization skills, and my list of things to do. 

I have recently discovered I have plantar fasciitis. It hurts. I get up and keep on moving forward. However, taking moments to sit and relax are more important now. When your feet hurt so badly that you want to hobble around, it’s time to listen to them and rest a bit more. My spirit, mind, and energy are undiminished; yet, if I want to remain happily active, I have to chill. I gave my kids a test on Thursday. Usually, they would know their grades that evening. I am taking my time since this test has short answer responses that require reading. I told them they would know before the weekend ended and definitely before the Super Bowl. I will get them graded and post scores later today. It has become important to me to let go of that drivenness just this once. I may discover there is more to enjoy in life by making myself take the time to recharge.

RLT

Holiday Break 2016

I am glad to be home with my family seeing my son from college. One of my students gave me some sore throat bug that had me craving a frozen fruit drink at 3:00 A.M. I had wanted to learn “Silent Night” in Bulgarian, but this drainage made me too miserable. My Bulgarian-speaking student understood. I will have to learn “Amazing Grace” phoenetically and surprise him in the spring.

 I threatened to breathe on Papi to make him sick if he did not complete his online practice work for math class. I sat by him and ignored him trying to talk to me. He enjoys what he considers to be positive attention. He surprised me by turning in his project on time. I could not say something good because that is taken as a means to stoppage. Reverse psychology as we know it. I hope all of my students have a great holiday. I know I plan to do so.

RLT

Be Careful, My Dears

We will be completing partner work next week in the library. I chose the partners for my students. One of my more talkative students was persistent with the noise level during work time. I announced partnerships. As the Future Ladykiller prepared to leave, he asked if he could not be partnered with Watchful Wally. “We talk a lot, Mrs. Johnson.” Feigning surprise and barely restraining a smile, or was it just a baring of teeth with my eyes crinkling in the corners?

“Future Ladykiller, this will be an oppportunity for you two to focus.” He left.

Watchful Wally was so pleased to be paired with his buddy. Why such a moniker? He watches me during work time if I happen to sit at my desk or walk about. I told him today, “If you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, then you never have to worry about where I am or who I am watching.” He responded, “Yes, ma’am.”

RLT

Nearing the End

I did a little bit of detail work in my classroom with my name on the door and cutting out letters for my bulletin board. It was time consuming, but I felt accomplished. I have one more final touch to add to the bulletin board before it is finally finished. Here is a picture of the door sign. More to come next week.

RLT

Day Two of Room Preparation

I spent several hours cleaning, organizing, and decorating my new room. I am pleasantly tired as I put my feet up to rest at the day’s end.

RLT

The Work Begins

I went up to my school and began the overwhelming but exciting process of decorating my new classroom. I feel as giddy as a first year teacher with her first room. I look at pieces to display and measure them to make sure everything works according to my “artistic vision.” I posted some pictures of the early efforts. Now I can rest to restore my batteries before heading in again tomorrow. 

New Digs

Today I spent five hours working on throwing out my unnecessary items from language arts and moving my personal belongings to my new classroom. At the end, I was tired and began putting things in higgledy-piggledy and snapping pictures for future remembrance.

RLT 

Supplies

I have a few students who lose their books and expect me to make them a copy or issue them a new one. After a day of this, I begin keeping tally in the discipline log.  I believe they are to bring their own supplies. Despite the community atmosphere of some elementary classrooms—kids all bring one box of facial tissues, package of crayons, etc. that are dumped into large containers and kept for all of them to use. I don’t believe in it. I participated as a parent when my son was in elementary school, but I expected him to keep up with his homework, supplies, musical instrument, and locker combinations when he hit middle school. He didn’t have a choice since I have taught middle school for years. Bring your own pencil, bring your own pen, and bring your own notebook paper. Before you send me to the wet-noodle flogging post, remember that I am referencing students with socio-economic needs that supersede pencils and folders. I am talking about the students whose parents have the means, but the kids don’t give a rip. When they enter the real world, they will be responsible for themselves and their monthly bills. I am simply training them for a life-lesson. To just allow them to show up with nothing teaches them that the world owes them a living. I beg to differ.

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