Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Academic Success

Earlier this month, there was an article in the LA TIMES about a student columnist at an LA area high school who created quite a ruckus when he wrote a column in the school newspaper about the achievement gap between the Asian and Hispanic students at his school.

This LA TIMES article did mention several interesting things that I thought I'd share here with you, not highlighting ethnic differences between students but simply factors in academic success for ANY student.

1. Student choices in whom to associate with, and their associates attitude regarding school, grades and academic success.

2. The students believed that academic success was due to working hard rather than aptitude.

3. A belief by students that doing poorly in school would harm their chances for success in life.

4. Parents know how to assist their children in being academically successful and being an advocate for their children's academic success.

Thanks for reading my blog! I hope you found something of interest here. Your comments welcome !

Monday, October 24, 2005

Flexibility, A Teacher Requirement

This morning I pulled a red flyer from my office mailbox at school. This red flyer informed us that there was to be an assembly TODAY for RED RIBBON WEEK (an anti-drug thing). Several of my fellow teachers who were at their mailbox were muttering under their breath about this; that we had no prior notice about an alternative schedule, that 'so much for starting the planned science lab TODAY!", and that the kids would complain in PE because it would become an exercise only day. As for me, as I looked over the schedule, I was shocked; the assembly was to be held SEVENTH PERIOD! "AH, COOL!" was my reaction. Why such a reaction than many of my fellow teachers? Because seventh period is my 'prep period', I have no kids and will get a longer than usual prep period. The shorter class times wouldn't interfer with my lesson plans, BUT, lunch would be later than usual.

There are several lessons here for you newer teachers out there in teacherbloglandia.......first, be flexible. Maybe you heard this in Ed. school, but one of the characteristics that teachers must develop is to be flexible. Days like this happen, usually due to administrative incompetence and administrative failure to communicate with their teachers. It happens. Secondly, KNOW that stuff like this does happen and learn to 'go with the flow'. IS it really that worth fussing and foaming at the mouth about? Thirdly, enjoy a longer prep period. I got more work done there at school and didn't have to bring it home. How cool is that? And lastly, for those of you who sometimes get a bit shaky before lunch due to blood sugar issues, have a small snack handy in your desk or someplace nearby that is easy to get to.

Thanks for reading my blog! As always, your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


BLESSED are the students who had a Mom or Dad who read to them when they were pre-schoolers, who talked to them, who took them to intellectually stimulating places, who played games with them and taught them that fun was not just about winning.

BLESSED are the students whose parents talk to their teacher(s) on a regular basis, who parents provide them with healthy meals and limit their intake of junk food and refined sugars, whose parents limit their TV viewing and electronic game play time and whose parents have taught their children the meaning of the word "NO."

BLESSED are the students whose homes are filled with books, whose parents read and model good behaviors, whose parents provide for their children the basic supplies and resources to successfully complete homework and school projects, whose parents look over their childrens' homework and who hold high, but realistic expectations for their students success.

BLESSED are the students whose parents instill in them the belief that some things are wrong and you just don't do those things, whose parents teach their children that there are both good and not so good consequences for their actions and behaviors, and that as much as Mom or Dad would love to see you grow up to be a star professional athlete, you still need an excellent education because glory on the field of play does not last forever.

Many of my students are blessed. Too many are not. What blessings do you wish for your students?

Thanks for reading my blog! As always, I welcome your comments!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Seeing Something NEW.....

I have been in a classroom as a teacher one way or another for about 25 years now. Today, I saw something new. Something I'd never seen in an elementary, junior high or senior high school classroom.

My students were taking a test over the Roman Republic. There was a geography section to the test, I was asking them to label major geographic features of the Roman World on an outline map. As I was cruising about my classroom monitoring the testing, I saw something new.

One of my students was writing on her hand. Students writing on their hands, arms, legs, shoes, school texts, binders, desks etc. is nothing new in a junior high. But THIS was not a phone number, the name of some boy she liked, some music group logo, random geometric shapes or some other junior high type of body art. I stopped and quietly asked her why she was writing THAT on her hand. She'd written, on her left hand, "Adriadic" and "Adriatic". She was trying to 'spell out' the correct spelling of the Adriatic Sea. I suppressed a snicker, smiled down at her and pointed to some of the blank space on the bottom of her map and told her she could spell out words THERE before she labeled her map. Something new, something different, after 25 years.

Have you seen anything new, different or really interesting from your students recently ? Let us know, share them !

Thanks for reading my blog! Your comments are welcome !

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

She printed Lies in an Official State Document: Prop. 75

My copy of Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines DEMOCRACY as follows: (1) "government by the people, a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system."

California Teacher's Association President Barbara Kerr signed a letter in the State of California Official Voter Information Guide, "Argument Against Proposition 75,' which declares "Union members already have the right to democratically vote their leaders into and out of office and to establish their own internal rules concerning political contributions." SAY WHAT Mrs. KERR ?????? Not according to the above definition of DEMOCRACY ! As I have said in this blog several times before, IN ALL MY YEARS AS A MEMBER OF CTA (18), I HAVE NEVER, I repeat, NEVER BEEN ALLOWED OR GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO CAST A BALLOT FOR ANY CTA UNION OFFICER EXCEPT MY LOCAL UNION OFFICERS. Such a 'right' is not permitted by CTA by-laws. CTA does not openly ask its members if they wish to run for a CTA Office. CTA does not publish a ballot for its members to vote to determine who will be President, Vice President, or Secretary/Treasurer of CTA. CTA is not a democratic organization! I find it disturbing that they are allowed to publicly and officially declare that they are in a official voters information guide. Mrs. Kerr is LYING in an official State of California Publication designed to provide accurate information to the voters!

What about the other public service unions, the nurses, law enforcement officers, firefighters, correctional officers, etc., Do their members get to actually cast a ballot for their state officers ?

IMO, CTA is not worried about having money to give away to their chosen political hacks, lobbyist, etc. I would predict that if Prop. 75 does pass, most members of CTA will sign the document to allow CTA to use their dues money as CTA sees fit. I believe CTA is worried about this; in the official wording of Proposition 75, it states:

" (g) If the dues, agency shop fees or other fees referred to in subdivisions (a) and (b) include an amount for a contribution or expenditure, the dues agency shop fees, or other fees shall be reduced by that amount for any individual who does not sign an authorization as described under subdivision (a). "

What does that mean ? LESS UNION DUES TO PAY ! More money for me to save for my sons' college education, to save towards my retirement years, to replace my ten year old family vehicle, to waste on piddly little crap, to treat my wife to a dinner out more often, to buy more books to add to my big pile of books waiting to be read, money to use to improve my home, money to contribute to charities or political candidates that I chose to support.

Sadly, CTA is using my money to support their lies. And unless Proposition 75 passes, there is not much I can do about it. If you live in California, PLEASE vote YES on Proposition 75. Please encourage everyone you know who can vote in California, to vote YES on PROP. 75.

Thanks for reading my blog! I welcome your comments!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Left Behind......NCLB is Failing these Kids!

I have carefully looked around at the students of the junior high school where I teach. Sadly, I have seen that NCLB is failing a goodly number of these students. NCLB has only what, about 26 subgroups that are monitored ? What about THESE kids ?

The kids who wear their PE clothes under their street clothes. PE clothes that have been worn all week, running about and whateverelse they did in PE in temperatures over 100 degrees F. Are they recognized by NCLB? Phewthetically, NO.

A good number of our RSP kids who are also ELL (Special Education students who are also "learning" English. Are they recognized by NCLB ? ?Por que pasa dude?

Our migratory students. The kids who attend three or four different school in a school year. Are they recognized by NCLB? No, go talk to the USFWS.

The kids for whom breakfast is a large soda from the fast food place across the street from our school, or whom seem to show up at school with fancy, expensive Starbucks beverages that most of their teachers can't afford on a regular basis.
Are they recognized by NCLB ? No. Muy Grande, Petit, and Al dente are not recognized scoring categories by NCLB.

The few kids who DO NOT like Flaming Cheetos. Are they recognized by NCLB? Noooooooooooo!

The kids who are in our classes that are illerate in English and their home language. Will NCLB allow them to be tested in Spanglish? Nada for yous vida.

Are the kids living in a group home recognized by NCLB? No. But their parent figure is probably still collecting welfare for their "kid".

So, are there any subgroups of kids at your school whom NCLB is leaving behind ? Let us know ! Isn't NCLB coming up for reauthorization in 2006.....Time to let your elected officials KNOW your opinion of this matter !

Thanks for reading my blog! Your comments are always welcome!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hearing Aids and sitting toward the front of the classroom

I have must have dozens of special needs students this year. They seem to be deaf. They don't seem to hear directions given by me, their teacher. Or, from what I am hearing, their other teachers. These students do not seem to be able to follow the simplest instruction. Note, not instructions, it is singular; INSTRUCTION. Such as "Get out a clean sheet of notebook paper," followed about 20 seconds by "write your FIRST and LAST NAME, class period, and today's date in the UPPER RIGHT HAND corner of your PAPER." And we have been in school for five weeks. These are seventh graders who are acting like THIS type of request is completely new and foreign to them. AAArrrrrrgggggh. Are any of you having similar problems like this?

Do any of you have the problem of not having enough student desks in the front of your classroom for the hoard of current students who:

a.) cannot pay attention from the back of the classroom, or,

b.) cannot see because they either need glasses or refuse to wear their glasses, OR,

c.) need to be closer to where their teacher is located more often to keep them out of mischief and direct their attention to the current class activities?

I welcome your stories and suggestions for these classroom areas of concern.

Thanks for reading my blog! I welcome your comments!