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?"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back in the Saddle, Again

Well, to butcher one of the world's better known authors, "It was the best of Summers, it was the worst of Summers." Anyhow, I guess it is about time to let my remaining one or two blog surfers know that Polski3 is still around.

Best of Summer....spent alot of time with my wife and boys. Took my boys to several baseball games, which we all enjoy. Spent a day at a beach and did not get sunburned.....well ok, maybe just a tad of red showing up on my neck. Played a few games of chess and maj jong on this computer, attended a "teaching US History" Summer Institute and did not gain any weight. Didn't lose any either, just wasn't too motivated to go work out when it was 110 degrees outside.

On the other hand, this wouldn't be my normal blog unless I complained about something......had to go to my eye doctor to get new reading glasses. Bleech. I didn't read much this summer, because of more difficulty in reading. I hate that and it is depressing. My eye doctor said, however, that my need for new reading glasses to go with my heavy prescription contact lenses, was not a problem related to my diabetes; just "you have crappy eyes and getting older does not help them". I usually go through 7 - 10 books during my summer time off from teaching, but this past summer, I think I only read 3-5 books....but I found some more to add to my pile of books waiting to be read....!

Also not happy with rising price of everything. That kept us fairly close to home and nixed a planned trip to ancestral lands in the mid west. Not that I enjoy the heat and humidity of the Ozarks in summer, but I wanted to see my Mom and some 'getting older' kin. But gas and food and motels are just too expensive to be making long trips. It is no comfort to me that many also suffered with this. Damn government, big business, school boards who will not negotiate and offer at least cola to their teachers salaries. Guess I just need to learn to adjust better. BLEECH!

Oldest son is now taking Algebra II, at local high school, as an 8th grader. It took until the last friday prior to the start of the h.s. to get this done. The h.s. really did not want "junior high" students taking advanced math classes on their campus. THEN, and it is fortunate my cooler headed, less combative, threatening, less likely 'to-shoot-off-her-mouth-and-make-the-situation-worse' wife delt with much of this. My son and the other 8th grade student show up to class that Monday morning. The teacher had not been told that two eighth graders were enrolled in her Algebra II class ! I cannot even type here what I was thinking when I heard about this later that day.....god knows what my BP was at that moment.....anyhow, MEGA KUDOS to this h.s. Algebra II teacher.....she simply told the boys to sit down and do what the class was doing. Later, since they could not check out a book without a H.S. ID card or a H.S. schedule, she checked out two textbooks and gave them to the boys to use. She handled this with flying colors. I cannot understand this lack of support from the (blank, blank, BLANKITY, BLANK) H.S. District Administration. If I was Educational Czar of this People's Democrat Republica de California, I'd yank their administrative credentials for such gross incompetence and send them back to the classroom to teach some freshman required class. OH, and these boys will not receive high school credit for taking Algebra II because they are not "officially" enrolled at the high school. I heard they can take a test later and get credit when they actually enroll in h.s. We'll deal with this later.

In other news, yes, my school year began too. Usual BUSY days trying to teach incoming 7th graders procedures and other stuff they have never experienced. Our school numbers are down; our area has been hit hard by the housing foreclosures and we lost a few students to a neighboring district that opened a new school facility. I don't know exactly what level of school they have; they feature grades 4 - 8. Is that a Middle School ? But, as for life in my classroom, things are a bit different.
We (the history department, has pretty much been told to just teach the standards. IF it isn't in the standards, forget it. This is hard for me as my students arrive with so little skill or knowledge in social studies/history. Out 8th Grade US History teachers have been, shall we say, informed, that they must teach their 8th Grade US History standards, AND get in a quality review of the Grade 6 and 7 World History Standards. Why ? Because our students tested pretty poorly in the State History 8 Assessments. Yes, we showed growth, but not like our Science department who, we were told, spent lots of time meeting with each other and ONLY teaching the standards they decided were the most important for student success on the State Science Assessments.

I am tired and need to end here for now. Thanks for reading this blog. I welcome your comments.