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, October 15, 2008

Classroom Hazards

Today I encountered a noxious odor in my classroom. It wasn't there until period 4, when, while returning graded student papers, I was assaulted by the reek of a seventh grade boy who doused himself in cologne. I sent him to the office and away from my allergies.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Do you give your students a "Pre-test?" I usually give my students a pre-test prior to starting a new section or unit. Why? So that I have something to provide an indicator that they may have learned something. It helps introduce them to the next section or unit. It can give them a sense that they made academic progress.

However, in the sense of pre-testing for students to "test out" of having to do a unit and then be offered a more individualized, challenging course of study on that section or unit, this has never happened to me since I have been giving pre-tests.

What do you think? Is giving pre-tests a positive thing or a waste of time? Do they really matter when the vast majority of your students have never formally learned or been exposed to history ? Please share your opinions and thoughts on this subject.

Thanks for reading my blog. I look forward to this discussion.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Teacher Behavior

Teachers in the news seem to be like Catholic priests; usually it is one of the tiny minority of them who do some evil that makes the news. I have been reading over the past few months of a charter school in suburban San Diego, Helix High School, had a series of "teachers behaving badly" incidents. In the past two years, four teachers at Helix high school have been caught and convicted of having improper sexual relations with students. Not that it matters, but one of these teachers taught Business, one taught Geography and two were Music teachers.

I don't quite know how or why a teacher can get themselves into sexual trouble with a minor at their school. Maybe they try to be too much of a buddy with their students? I don't know. I was always taught that there is no room for such behavior in a "teacher - student" relationship at any level of education, including college/university. Yes, I know it has happened. And it usually makes the news and casts a negative eye towards ALL teachers.

Anyhow, now it seems that Helix High School teachers will have a formal policy instructing teachers how to behave with students. It included, "kissing a student, intentionally being alone with a student away from the school or making sexually inappropriate comments." It cautions teachers regarding "giving a student a ride to or from school or school activities without parental permission, excessive attention to a particular student and making remarks about physical attributes."

Teachers can, "give students praise without touching them." Teachers are asked to think, "Are your actions worth your job and career?"

On the occasions when I have had student teachers, I have repeatedly cautioned them about what is considered proper and improper behavior around students. I don't know how much of this they are told about or discuss in education classes at their university. But, as in any profession in which we deal with people, there are expected norms for behavior and relationships. Teachers are under these rules too.

Anyhow, you teachers out there, BEHAVE yourself ! I am sure that this is NOT a problem for any teacher reading this blog.

Thanks for reading this blog. Comments are welcome.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Why Homeschool ?

There was a letter to the editor in this mornings newspaper, regarding tax money following students regardless of where they attend school. This got me to thinking about homeschooling.

Other than the "keeping my Christian children away from the heathens" reason for some parents to homeschool their children, why else might parents choose to homeschool their child(ren)?

Here is what I came up with:

Homeschool students are usually in a bully-free, career disruptor-free learning environment.

Homeschool students can receive much more individual attention.

Homeschool students can go as fast or slow as they need to master their academic material; they are not hamstrung by their teacher being forces to teach to the "lowest" level students in a typical public school classroom

Homeschool parents/teachers have much more academic freedom than public school teachers.

Homeschool students can have many, many more enrichment opportunities, going on field trips to museums, historical sites, visiting and going outdoors to study nearby ecosystems.....

Homeschool students usually receive more character and morals education

Homeschool students usually have the opportunity for more in-depth explorations of topics of interests.

Homeschool students do not suffer from the curruiculum whims of district office personnel.

Homeschool students do get socialization opportunities as, from what I know about homeschooling, most get together with other students being homeschooled for field trips, musical events, etc. And, most are active in non-academic youth activities.

This being said, no, my son's are not homeschooled. I sometimes wish they were. I know they are not getting all they could be getting from their public school experiences because of all the crap the "top end" students have to deal with at public school.My son's are not getting a very rounded education in our local elementry schools; missing is music, art, P.E., adequate science programs and history/social studies. Just the other day, one of my sons was leaving school and discovered his bicycle tires flattened and his seat vandalized. I don't blame the parents who chose homeschooling for their children.

Thanks for reading this. Feel free to leave a comment to argue with my points, support them or add to this discussion.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

It helps a tiny bit....$19.65

Several years ago, the California Teachers Association Peoples Polibureau forced upon its members a $60.00 per year additional fee to feed the coffers of CTA's political spending. For those of you who are not aware of it, CTA does not allow its members to vote for its state officers. Or to have a say in who runs the regional centers or uniserve offices. Or to protest their dues increases. [ Yes, Darren, I know I can quit the Union and become an agency fee payer. I am still thinking about it. Perhaps I can cast more worthy dissent if I am still a member ? ]

Anyhow, Maybe, just maybe, something may be changing? This year, from the fragments of information I have heard regarding CTA and its huge deductions from its captives, we are not supposed to be paying out that $60.00 annual fee anymore. But this was not reflected in their deductions from my paycheck. I have to find out more about that. ANYHOW.....their summer peoples representative rubber stamp assembly did imposed a $20.00 fee to feed the coffers of their political spending, BUT, if any member wants to jump through the hoops, they can get $19.65 refunded. ( I considered the cost of my envelope and stamp to send for my refund ). I got my check today. Yeah.

Thanks for reading this.