Category Archives: Classroom

What is Sleep?

Sleep is Overrated

I tend to nap for at least two hours daily on the weekends. I’ve turned on my NCAA football games to watch one game only to awaken and find another set of teams battling on the gridiron. During the week, I have reached the conclusion that sleep is overrated. I may get six hours a night when I am fortunate. My mind snaps me awake with a brilliant idea that cannot wait to live. I rise and type when the muse inspires me. I grab a blanket, turn on the ceiling fan in the den, and curl up in the recliner. Other “nights” find me staring dully at my iPhone while playing Merged or Two Dots. At 3:13 A.M. no less. Ugh.

My students’ needs consume my waking hours and snatch me from my dreams at night. This explains my summer nap coma mode when I take serious naps daily and feel no shame about a need to close my eyes for a wee bit of rest. If I don’t find the time to bank my sleep over the weekend, I pay for it with a dearth of energy and a plethora of driven energy.

RLT

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You’re Out!

Yes, I asked two different students to leave my room today. One was being cruel to another student. The cruel one has a history of mumbling and stirring the pot. He had to get stepping. The second one has decided he doesn’t want zeroes, but he doesn’t want to work. After multiple warnings over several days to get to work, stop making noise, and to follow directions, he too had to step. He was coloring himself a canary yellow with his highlighter. Really? Hit the bricks. The other students are now coming to grips with the fact that I actually want a learning environment for the ones who want to learn. Enough tyranny of the minority who suck up energy monitoring them like little babies who cannot be trusted to stay away from trouble. My eighty to ninety percent of do-gooders deserve their education. I plan to make it known that it is unacceptable to disrupt learning to follow your own agenda. That is it. Get in line, or hit the bricks. Third strike and you’re out. I start each day anew when they let me, but bad behavior deserves its own reward: relief on the faces of my students who wanted to learn in peace. Wish granted.

RLT

A Chance Sighting

I was headed home after my hair appointment and happened to spot a group of six teen-aged boys walking along the street. I recognized four of them as former students from my campus and pulled in to the parking lot they were about to enter and said hello. They enthusiastically came over and greeted me. I was invited to their football and fall baseball games and put the times into my phone’s calendar. I would have loaded all six of them into the little Civic I was driving if I had room. How I wished I had driven my larger vehicle today. They would have been taken home safely and in air conditioning. I would have listened to their bantering and laughed until I cried. These young men reminded me of my purpose for what I do day after day.

I have two subjects this year–social studies and language arts. I was asked to take this on, and I did. My assignment gives me the best of both worlds. I had struggled with the late hours I have stayed at work these past two weeks and just had an epiphany. Because of my attention to detail, I prepare for both of them with a fervor akin to a first year teacher determined to not overlook some small detail. We are implementing a new way to reach students’ needs for enrichment and review during our homeroom time three days a week. Our students are being encouraged to participate in a positive behavior system. My son left for university on Sunday morning, and I am missing his merry eyes snapping with laughter, the ceiling fan he leaves on in my den, and the sound of his voice. I have several students whose puzzle boxes I must learn and solve quickly to establish any type of decent relationship I would like to have with them. I must have some type of connection to attempt to win them over. One of my students deeply concerns me because he cannot remember his locker combination or his daily schedule. I wrote it out and put it into his lanyard so that he could see it without worrying about carrying a steadily fraying piece of paper around with his schedule and locker combination. His locker is in front of my room, and I see him struggle to pay attention, follow directions, and arrive to class on time daily. I am searching for a way get the light bulb to click on to help him remember this most basic information.

That is why seeing my baseball boys I used to watch play four years ago uplifted my soul. Even a veteran teacher needs some encouragement and reassurance from the most unlikely encounters. Those boys will never know how much it meant to me to see the joy in their eyes and hear it also in their voices.

RLT

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All Too Human

I was at a minor breaking point and felt I should taken a rock and bashed my brains in. I had made a really cool PowerPoint for Monday for my ILA classes. I decided to delete junk from my desktop and empty the recycle bin. UGH!!!! An hour’s work. Gone. Forever!!! I am only human.

I went home with take out from Whataburger for my husband and me since our son was still at work. We ate and watched a couple of innings of the Yankees-Red Sox game. My restless perfectionism kicked in. I finished my work while listening to Love, an album by The Cult. It worked. Now I am able to enjoy both days of my weekend. Whew!

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Setting Up

Before I added words to show that I am in the best of both worlds.

After I finished adding the word welcome in several languages and showing the elements of language arts.

RLT

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Reality Sets In

I attended a workshop yesterday for 90 minutes. We were learning the intricacies of ordering using our district's Print Shop aka Copy Center. The copy center Earth Angels are worth their weight in gold. Large jobs are completed in a timely manner, and I have no complaints whatsoever about their quality of work. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone. For example, I have desired stapled copies but forgot to request it. They don't read my mind. That's just fine.

Reality has set in because I have a two day workshop next week. The hours are 9:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. I will have to use an alarm clock to get up and drive in rush hour traffic. Hmm. In two weeks, I will be a part of the sixth grade orientation at my school known as Cougar Camp. This is year thirteen of Cougar Camp for me. Wow. School is really just about here.

In the meanwhile, I will sleep in, drink my coffee slowly, and complete laundry on a week day while the sun shines instead of madly cramming my housekeeping chores into one Saturday morning when I'd prefer to lollygag and recharge my batteries. It is still summer for a while longer.

RLT

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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