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?"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Are you a Tired Teacher ?

I've read several places on education blogs about how tired teachers are....and it is just towards the end of September! Whats going on?????

School just began; teachers should be charged up and zipping along in fifth gear. But it seems that is not the case? Did that wonderful "pep you up stuff" in coffee disappear? Are we just so beaten down by testing? Beaten down by being repeatedly told "its teachers fault those students are not learning," your school is "under-performing," you are a "program improvement" school. In the mail today, we, (Mrs. Polski and I), received a letter from one of my son's schools telling us that it was in "Program Improvement, Year 1," and that if we wished, we could talk to the school district about moving him to one of the "non-program improvement schools." Is it the lack of accountability for students and their parents?

Is it the demand to do more with less resources, more students, more student needs? Is it the frustration of ever rising cost of living and paychecks that are ever being reduced by multi-years of no COLA, more taxes, ever increasing "employee contributions" to pay for health insurance (about $5000 more from my take home pay this year! Yes, $5,000.00!).

So we are tired. Is it sucking the life out of us? This used to be the UNITED STATES, the country of power, innovation, discovery and the best life on the planet. Who is doing this to us? Any ideas?

On the other hand, how do you insulate yourself from all this negativity? I am trying.....without resorting to "recreational chemicals" or lots of liquid beverage that helps some forget for awhile....which I shouldn't do anyhow with my diabetes.....But I've never been one to stick my head in the sand....

Teachers, we need to deal with this. There are still months and months of teaching to do for our students! Any thoughts?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Just checking in.....update, early September, 2o1o

No teaching tomorrow; its LABOR DAY ! Then, a L O N G stretch until Veterans Day. Today was fairly busy; got online to find some clip-art type artistic images in Native American themes for title page of next unit for 8th Grade US History. Then, shoveled and moved about 700 pounds of dirt from driveway to Mrs. Polski's new garden box in the backyard. Back inside to cool off and continue search for Grade 8 US History graphs, charts, maps and other graphic images to use with my students. You know, the Internet is really a super resource; it wasn't really around last time I taught US History back in the mid-late 1990's-early 2000's-ish years.

Spent too much of the afternoon grading student papers ("Ten Geography and History Facts about our County") Most of them used the data we explored in class using historical maps and other graphic/visual materials to find out things about the area we live. There was a bit of science stuff too, as one of the maps was a simplified geologic map of California and they had to determine what type of rocks made up a mountain range in one part of our county. I was a bit amazed at how little most knew about our local geography and history.....but I guess I should have expected that. I mean really, do parents or some adult in this day and age take their children out on a drive to see the local geographic and historical sights? Or for that matter, do the parents/other adults even know or care about the local geographic and historical things where we live? Anyhow, I digress.

Had Thai with Mrs. Polski tonight. Boys stayed home and had left over whatever they felt like from the family icebox. Then, walked a couple of laps in the air conditioned nearby mall. Then back online to look at state US History tests (why is the TAKS (Texas) US History test so much better than California's? I wonder how the new standards will change the TAKS for US History....but I am in California and there is no way in the 'cosmic-path-to-total-spirituality-and-enlightenment-peace- and-harmony-and-smoke-a-joint-to-lose-your-aches-and-pains- that is California that the History standards will change like Texas' did......).

Next week, we begin our intro to Native American cultures and civilizations. Be talking about the early hunter/gathers, early civilizations, then in small groups to create project about a specific tribe. And, for more points, each group can do a short presentation....these kids need more rhetoric practice.