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?"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WHY is it......

WHY is it that some students who earn an "F" on a test or project, gloat and lord it over those who earned a "lower percentage" F than they did ?

Friday, September 25, 2009

No Peace

Teachers can't walk with their better halves at local malls (mall walking for exercise) on Friday nights without several times, hearing, "HIIIII Mr. POLSKI !" from someplace not too close to where you are ambling along getting some exercise and talking with significant other.

Life for Jr. High Teachers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Priorities ?

Just what are our priorities?

* Many teachers in California have been laid off, nay, FIRED, because they are the most recent hired and there is no money to continue to employ them.

* My high school son's science class has no lab tables and will be severely restricted on what hands-on lab experiences can be performed in his biology class because there is no money to buy the materials needed for biology lab classes.

* My son's high school orchestra class has no instruments for students to use at home to practice their music. (Note, few student musicians buy their own bass).

* According to recently published School Board minutes, our School District administers attended some summer institute in San Diego this past summer at a cost of $14,000 or so dollars.

* Schools throughout California seem to have the money to train, equip, feed on the road and bus their football, volleyball and cross-country athletes on six hour round trip bus rides to find out if their athletes are better than those from another school.

* Just how many millions of dollars did California spend on a new Language Arts book adoption ? Was it really needed? Was there some huge change in the State Standards to render the previous books unusable? And why does there seem to be a new math program every two years in California ? Is this tied in with some archaic Druid calendar to spend more money for math education?

Just what are our priorities ?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Preparing Them for their future? I wonder.....

My oldest son is now in high school. He has, as a freshman, what I believe should be a fairly challenging academic schedule. His classes include GATE English 9, Geometry, and Biology. However, after four weeks of school, he seems to not have homework for most of his classes. He has regular homework and a project to work on for his GATE English 9 class, but he does not have homework for Biology or Geometry.
I know that when I was in high school, and later in college, I had lots of "out of class" work to do for science and math classes.
I attended his school's "Back to School" night last week. In most of his classes, we were told that homework was worth very little of the grade. His biology classroom does not have lab tables/desks, just student desks, and we were told that due to budgetary issues, the biology students would not experience many actual lab activities. I got the impression that work for most classes was done in class (worksheets!) and they took quizzes and tests.
I wonder if, as a staff, most of the teachers in our local high schools have "given up" on having required homework because too many of their students simply will not do it and turn it in, or if these teachers simply do not want to grade it? I do know that school administrators are "after" teachers because "you teachers are GIVING too many F's."
This bothers me for several reasons. first of all, I wonder how well this policy/attitude toward assigned homework is preparing these students, my son included, for future academic experiences? And it bothers me, a teacher of junior high students, in that we try to get our students used to the fact that homework is part of their academic life and they need to develop good academic skills here at the junior high so that they will be prepared for what I hoped (and assumed) would be more rigor and higher levels of academic expectations at the high school.

As a parent, I am wondering how much to bang my head on that brick wall of the high school in terms of what I believe they should be doing to help my son be prepared for University. As a teacher, is my expectation that my students do homework to practice skills they need to master, to learn the main concepts, vocabulary, etc., of the courses I teach, a moot exercise ?

What do you think ? Do you have a child in high school that does not seem to be rigorous or preparing him/her for University? (Has my experience of what to expect at college/university been changed?) I welcome your thoughts and comments.