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, May 31, 2006

What Next ?

You know you teacher middle school/junior high when:

* a kid gets their foot stuck in their desk. (It happened today, in Period 6).

How do YOU know you teach in a middle school/junior high ?

Thanks for reading my blog! As always, I welcome your comments....add to our list!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Torturing Students in Spanish ????

Well, I am "back to work" now.....my student teacher successfully completed his tour of internship with me and has departed. (FYI, he has a teaching contract offer already!) As I was walking about my classroom the other day, checking for understanding and to be sure my students were working on their proper assignment, I came across one who was just sitting and doing nothing. "Jane," (not her real name), "Why aren't you working? Do you understand the assignment?" I asked her. "I don't have any lead, Gimme some!" she informed me and demanded. "Whoa!" I replied, Yo soy no su Padre! Esta no mi dinero para tu, esta para mi familia!" This led to a burst of laughter from the class. Yes, I have been known to torture my students with my Spanish. I told her to check the dam cup ( a souvenir cup from Hoover Dam where I keep scrap pencils ) and if there isn't one in there, get one off my desk.

Then I noticed a boy in the back of the class raising his hand. "Yes Mario," I replied, (not his real name). Mr. Polski (not my real name either), you are embarrassing me with your Spanish! I'm Mexican and I can't speak it as good as you!" OF course, with this the class burst out laughing again. I smiled.

Just a glimpse into my classroom. Do you "torture" your students somehow ?

Thanks for reading my blog! Your comments are welcome !

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Letter from their School, AGAIN !

Wow. My oldest son, in fifth grade, brought a letter home from school today requesting we attend a meeting, yep, the same meeting that his little brother is being requested to attend, for being chosen OUTSTANDING STUDENT in his class! Their proud Momma and I are batting 2 fer 2 this year.....!

Any tips from you parents out there for parents with "normal intelligence" dealing with teen children with very high intelligence? Thanks!

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

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Son's placement....

Thanks for the advice and suggestions. FYI, I cannot talk to our counselor about it.....our junior high of almost 900 high minority, majority low socio-economic student population does not have a counselor. Not one. Scheduling is done by one of the vp's. We had a "counselor" a couple of years ago, but she was grossly ineffective and made it clear that she didn't like kids. Or any teacher that was not of the same ethnic background as she.

Also., Teaming is pretty much dead. This is due to the mandates of the almighty testing, many of our students are placed in alternative lang. arts classes (High Point) and or alternative math classes where they are part of the herd of 30+ students in those classrooms and don't get much real help from the single teacher stuck trying to work miracles with them.

I believe that when the time comes, I will ask for my son to be placed with teachers of my choosing. His educational opportunities will be limited at the jhs where I teach (lack of more intellectually challenging classes in science, math and social studies), but his mother and I will keep working to fill in those gaps.

Thanks for reading my blog! Comments and suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Starting to wonder about......

I am starting to wonder about what to do when my oldest son is ready to move on to junior high. He will probably be attending the same school where I teach, the "other" jhs/ms in our district is not an option for my children. Should he be in my class? My initial inclination is that he should not be in my class; he's heard me all his life and needs to experience other teachers. Should I request specific teachers for him? Or, should I just let the dice land as they may (as in let him get scheduled like most of the other kids, without parental input regarding placement)? We have had several other 'staff' kids come through our school. As far as I know, their staff parent did not have their child in their class or make requests to enroll their child with specific teachers. Any suggestions or thoughts are welcome. Thanks!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Letter from the school.....

My third grade son came home from school yesterday with a letter from the school. It is requesting that we come to a special school board meeting to honor him as "Outstanding Student of the Year". Cool. We are so proud of him! I don't know if this is for his class, for all the third graders or for his school. Whatever. Now, if he can keep this up for another 16 years......!

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Teaching on the Rez, Part V

Years ago, for my first teaching job, I taught in the Navajo Nation. This teaching location was good for me to get outdoors, as the four corners region of our country offers a host of cool outdoor places to explore. There was the usual touristy type stuff; visiting the various national parks and monuments featuring the Anasazi culture (Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Aztec....), places to hike (Canyonlands NP and the very cool Grand Gulch), and a river to raft (the San Juan).

One weekend, I set out from the school compound on my mountain bike to explore the neighborhood around the school. A couple of miles away, was a "unimproved" road that connected rural living Navajo families with paved roads. I decided to do a loop trip, and it was very interesting. The "unimproved" road passed through some exposed sedimentary rock outcrop. In this outcrop was a small alcove that contained a wealth of Anasazi pottery shards. For those of you knowing about Anasazi ceramics, they were a combination of Mesa Verde black and white and Kayenta black on red. No, I didn't scoop up a bunch of these shards.....that is not legal (Antiquities Act of 1906). There parts of this large outcrop that featured hills that were loads of fun to slowly ride up, then speedily zig-zag down. The sound of the tires on the sandstone was really cool.

Also in this area, was another "unimproved" dirt road that headed off to the west. I rode down this road for a bit, finding a natural arch, a sorinkling of pinon pines, a spring, a larger alcove featuring numerous stones where the Anasazi ground their corn (there were even pieces of old corn cobs scattered among the rocks in front of this alcove) and a small cliff dwelling! I was a bit frustrated at discovering this small cliff dwelling as I couldn't get up to it. I couldn't find any of the stone steps the Anasazi often carved into the cliff face to help ascend to their cliff homes, so I guess they used ladders or had a means of descent from the cliff top. But it was so cool to find this place.

Heading back eastward, I passed a windmill and water tank. Many of the rural families living in the Navajo Nation used these as the source of their water. They load up the back of their pickup with blue plastic 50-gallon barrels, fill them with water, then take them home to use. The route home also passed by a small Anasazi site that I called "Oil Change Rock", it is the ruins of a small storage room with small pottery shards scattered around, and just below it, is a large exposed slab of sandstone where, judging from the stains and slew of used oil filters, some of the locals apparently used as a place to change their vehicle oil.

Over the next few days, I mentioned to several other teachers about the places I'd discovered the past weekend. No one I spoke to had ever been out there or heard that such places were nearby. Several did express an interest in seeing it, so I took them out there. They were amazed at such things being so close to the school compound and no one really knowing much about it.

The Navajo reaction to my adventure was interesting. IIRC, "Anasazi" is a Navajo word for "Ancient Enemies" Traditional Navajo stay away from any ruins or obivious places where they lived, believing it is best not to distrub the spirits of the dead. A person could become contaminated by exposure to these spirits, and have to undergo a cleansing ceremony. It was interesting to me how many of my students were eager to tell me about such places near where ever it was that they lived. There seemed to be a divide between the traditional Navajo and those who did not follow or believe in the old ways.

IS there a message here ? Yes. It is one that I have noted in my blog before.....you new teachers, don't hesitate to accept a teaching job in some rural, out-of-the-way place. And while you are there, learn about where you are.....get out and explore!

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