“An Honest Letter to Parents” Tuesday February 28, 2017

A_guide_for_really_bad_parents_20140226_AguideforreallybadparentsDear Parents of Today’s 2nd Graders,

You suck at being parents. If you don’t like the way your child behaves, then it’s up to you to change it. If there was ever a situation where you avoided doing something that should’ve been done because you didn’t want upset your child, then you’ve contributed to your child becoming a little shit.

Do you want to know how an 8 year-old learns to yell at people when they don’t get their way? From their parents. Either by watching them yell, or by learning that yelling is a way to get what they want.

You can’t blame electronics, the media, teachers, or peers. This is all your fault. How do I know? Because there are some decent kids. Not many, but some. And those kids have good parents that set boundaries, followed through on demands, and acted like adults in front of their children.

Children are products of their parents. I know this because whether I like to admit it or not, I’m a lot like my mother. Why? Because she’s my mother. She’s the one that taught me to work hard, to be polite in public, and to respect other people’s property.

If your kid acts out in public and is disrespectful at any time, it’s because you didn’t raise them right. You fucked up. But it’s not too late. It’s never too late to do the right thing. Step up and start parenting.

Begin my modeling the correct behavior. Be the person you want your child to be.

Have consequences for negative behaviors and tell them about it beforehand so it isn’t confused. And for fuck’s sake, follow through, damnitt!

If you tell your kids that if they don’t stop knocking into people on the playground that you’re going to go home, then you HAVE to go home if your kid knocks into anybody.

This is so crucial. How many times have you told your kid to stop doing something or you’re going to leave? And how many times has your kid done that exact thing and you put your hands up, like, “I don’t know what do do? Why didn’t my threat work? I always stopped when my parents threatened me.”

Your threat didn’t work because you don’t follow through on a previous threat. You behaved when you were a kid (or not, how should I know?) because you believed your parent was going to do something if you didn’t. All you have to do is start using your parental authority and your kid will respect that authority.

Here’s another huge problem. If you ever have given into your kid when it whines or cries then you just taught them that whining and crying works. You want your kid to stop whining or crying? Then only pay attention to them if they’re behaving the way you want them to.

How many times has an adult approached a crying, upset child with the attitude of, “Ooooo, what’s wrong? Do you want some candy? A toy? Will that make you feel better? Don’t be sad?” FUCK THAT ADULT! FUCK THAT ADULT RIGHT IN THE ASS! I FUCKING HATE THOSE PEOPLE!

Sorry, sorry.

Don’t ever approach a crying child by offering to make them feel better. Let them cry and when they’re done, maybe, you can talk to them about the correct way to get what they want.

Uh. I feel better. Hopefully the whole world reads this letter and the future generation won’t be completely fucked up.

Sincerely,

Miss Sinclair.
–Second Grade Teacher

“Dealing With A Second Grade Bitch” Monday February 27, 2017

ch901020Wow. The attitude of one of my students is epic bitchy. I may have mentioned Patrice before. She’s the worst kind of human. She made Tyrese look good today.

Basically, Patrice wasn’t doing what she was supposed to do all day. She had her back turned to me during instruction, she was painting her nails during independent work, and several students tattled on her for being rude or disrespectful.

At the end of the day I kept her after class to write a note home to her mother describing her behavior and how she’s going to improve her attitude. And she just wouldn’t shut up about it. She kept arguing and saying, “Those girls lie! Those girls are liars! I wasn’t disrespecting nobody!”

I told her I didn’t care about that and it doesn’t matter. She still wasn’t following directions. Then she broke into a rant saying “I hate second grade! I hate teachers! You’re always getting me in trouble! I hate this school!”

I wrote down some of her comments on a post-it and told her to finish her note. After one minute she hands it to me:

How my behavior was disrespectful: “i wuznt listning”

How I can improve my behavior: “by listning”

I suggested we add to the first part of the letter by adding some of the things she just said before writing it and that made her flip out even more: “I dint say dat! I dint say dat! I never said nothin’ like dat!”

Then I argued with the demon-child and told her that I wrote down exactly what she said as she was saying it. Then I told I wrote down some more to her note and told her if it doesn’t come back signed tomorrow I’ll be calling home.

I think I’m going to keep her in from recess tomorrow regardless.

“I’ve Stopped Caring and It’s Made a Difference” Friday February 24, 2017

ch900512I’ve stopped stressing out about my job. It’s over. I’m not being hired back next year, so why continue to put in all that effort? And actually, things have been better in my classroom. I don’t know if maybe my students sense that I’m not stressed out and it calms them, or maybe I’m not rushing things as much, I’m not sure. I just know that things haven’t been as stressful.

Sure, most of my students are still failing assessments. However, I have seen improvement in some of them. Especially in reading. I’m also letting them get away with a lot more. I’m no longer fighting with them over bathroom breaks or going to the nurse. I just let it happen. They won that war.

All I really ask is that they’re quiet while I’m teaching and not too loud during independent work. Kids still talk, but they’re not talking to challenge my authority. And a couple of kids are still not working, but they do it quietly which allows the kids that are working to concentrate.

Also, my mind has been off of work anyway. I’m in WEDDING MODE now! There’s so much to do! I hope this weekend Johnny and I can decide on a venue and start making a guest list. I’d also like to go on a honeymoon. And it’s not too soon to talk bachelorette parties…

Cheers! Happy Friday! 🙂

“Why are So Many People Terrible At Their Jobs?” Thursday February 23, 2017

i-dont-hate-my-job-i-just-hate-some-of-the-incompetent-people-i-work-with-4ccb1Tyrese hasn’t been doing any better, but he’s not entirely to blame. In fact, when you think about children as products of their environment (or even genetics) it’s hard to blame children. Really a child is a reflection of the parents. I’ve seen this more as I’ve interacted with my students’ parents. Good parents have good kids.

Tyrese is not a good kid, and even though his mother is at fault for feeding him crap food and letting him do whatever he wants, the adults at my school are also to blame.

Tyrese’s behavior plan works on a reinforcement and check in schedule with Mrs. Baker, or if Mrs. Baker isn’t available then Mrs. Walsh. Now the problem is that there are times when Mrs. Baker is dealing with another student and isn’t available to check in with Tyrese. But, Mrs. Walsh is only in our school part-time. Her duties are apparently split between another school. Which means there are times where no one is available to deal with Tyrese.

Every morning Tyrese gets his clipboard and is given his expectation statements and reminded of his reward for meeting expectations. This morning, no one was available to check him in. I had to call the office and ask for someone to bring down his clipboard.

Which means I had to take time out of my morning to check Tyrese in. And it wasn’t long before Tyrese was flopping on the floor refusing to do any work. At which point I called down to the office to ask someone to remove him so he doesn’t distract the entire classroom. They send down one of the secretaries who comes in and is all “buddy-buddy” with Tyrese.

“Awww, what’s wrong, buddy? Wanna come down and work in my office?”

What the fuck is that? You’re reinforcing him for being defiant!

And I can’t even get mad at her. She doesn’t know what to do. I blame both Mrs. Baker and Mrs. Walsh. This isn’t the first time they haven’t been there for Tyrese. There have been plenty of mornings and afternoons where I send Tyrese down and no one is there for him.

How is a child supposed to trust and obey adults if they can’t even follow through on their own expectation statements?!

 

“I Can Fix School Standards” Tuesday February 21, 2017

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It doesn’t matter if a state has adopted the common core standards or not. States that don’t have the common core have their own (very similar) standards. It’s not the common core that’s the enemy, it’s all standards.

Think back to everything you learned in second grade. Now, write down all of the things that you think are important to learn in second grade. You should also include the best ways to teach those things, too. That’s what the authors of school standards have done. The problem is that it’s not possible to include everything you learn in school, and not every child learns the same. Also, the standard has to be specific enough to be measurable on a standardized test, but also broad enough to include a wide range of skills.

Let’s look at a math standard from second grade:

“Work with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication.

2.OA.3. Determine whether a group of objects (up to 20) has an odd or even number of members, e.g., by pairing objects or counting them by 2s; write an equation to express an even number as a sum of two equal addends.”

This standard is supposed to be a precursor to multiplication. The goal is simple. Students need to know if a number is even or odd between 0 and 20. But they can’t memorize the even and odd numbers. I’ve been teaching my students the “odd man out” method. They pair up a group of objects by 2’s and if there’s an extra object, that’s the “odd man out” and the number is odd.

Simple enough, right? But what about the second part of the standard? The stuff about writing an equation to expression an even number means that students will be able to divide any even number between 0 and 20 into the sum of two equal numbers. These are what should be called “doubles facts”: 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, and so on. But the way the standard is worded seems like a students should be able to write the equation. Which means my students have questions on their assessments like: “Write a number sentence for 12 where both numbers being added are the same.”

It’s subtle, but think about how limiting this standard is. For example, I can’t list numbers and have students circle the evens because the standard isn’t “Students will identify even numerals.” Which means students will only identify odds and evens when given a set of objects. Likewise, I can’t give a test with “Solve 6+6” because it doesn’t fit the standard. Sure, it might fit 2.OA.2 (Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.) but that’s only if a student can show me which mental strategy he or she used.

 The standards wouldn’t be so bad if they simplified them. A good standard would be “Students will improve their math skills.” That standard is not only easily measurable, but it also allows me to write math tests without having to worry if they fit a standard. As long as the math I use is the same or more difficult than the previous math test I can prove that students are learning.

It also will apply towards students working above or below grade level. We want all of our students to grow. Let’s adopt this new standard.

I also have one for reading: “Students will improve their reading skills.” Done. BAM!

 

“Sometimes a Positive Attitude Can Change Everything” Monday February 20, 2017

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Today might’ve been the best Monday of the year. I came to school with a smile on my face and I tried my best to touch everything with left hand to show off my engagement ring!

I also told my students. They genuinely seemed excited for me. Maybe they were just feeding off of my enthusiasm but I answered all their questions about my fiancee: how old he is, where we met, what he does, what he looks like, it was fun!

I think that minor break in routine and me opening up personally to them made them want to be better students or something because they were actually pretty good for me today. They got a little rowdy in the afternoon, but it could’ve been worse.

It’s amazing how different I feel. Johnny texted me this morning to tell me how happy he is and I got all giddy! We texted each other back and forth all day. We’re going to have to work out a good schedule to spend nights together during the week. Johnny’s over right now, but we’ll probably have to switch on and off. I’ll have to keep clothes and toiletries at his place. I might just move back with him. It looks like Zooey and Patrick are getting ready to move in together anyway.

Oh, and I can tell Zooey’s a little jealous. She’s supportive and all, but I can tell how she feels. I’d feel the same way if she got engaged. Anyway – I need to go now, good night!

“Now I Can Write About MY Wedding!” Sunday February 19, 2017

We-Are-Having-Open-Bar-Funny-Wedding-MemeI get to write about my wedding now! Zander and his fiancée are getting married Memorial Day weekend, so Johnny and I are thinking about getting married late July or early August. I don’t want to have the wedding during the school year or wait until 2018. We think it can be done. We both don’t have a lot of family so I think the wedding will be fairly small.

Also I’ll have all summer to plan and get in shape. I’m a little nervous about not having a job next fall, but I can always fall back on Plan B and substitute teach.

I’m so pumped! Johnny and I had a really long talk and we both agree that this just feels right. If we’re going to be together then we should be together. We know we can make it work because we already did make it work.

I felt like my mom was truly excited for me, but I felt like Lou wasn’t happy about me and Johnny. He was like, “I didn’t know you two had gotten back together.” Thankfully, my mom stepped in and defended Johnny about how he’s really matured and has a good job and truly loves me J

Of course Johnny already asked T-Bo to be his best man and I asked Zooey. Everyone’s really happy for us. They know we have a history and I think the two of us ending up together is just like a fairy tale.

Also, my life doesn’t seem so depressing any more. I’m not dreading going back to school tomorrow. I’m just not sure if I’ll want to do any lesson planning because I really want to start wedding planning! Ha!

My wedding’s going to rock!