Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's Up with People..

Earlier this week, I had another “encounter” with someone that I work with. How would you like for someone taking something you worked on without permission? Yes, just like that. Oh, by the way, you found your “work” used as a scrap paper! URGH I am to my wits end with this person! I just can’t comprehend why he/she thinks that she can just take whatever from your desk and take it as her/his own!

This time, he took the worksheets I prepared a week ahead so I don’t have to "waste" my time at the copy room .. To my surprise, I found my worksheets used as scrap papers. I found more than half my stack in the recycling bin!

I understand I can only control my actions and reactions but what will you do if it was you? I called him as soon as I found out (i've got no worksheets to give to my students), I did not get anything from that person! It's beyond me! I am aggravated but it's just me. I need to be more careful next time, as in -not leave anything on my desk???!!! It's annoying. I just hope that people will have the nerve to keep their hands off anything that's not theirs!

I can understand if students do something stupid like that because you know-they don't think at times.. It's just discouraging if I see immature behavior from adults who I personally think would be ethical!

Sometimes I wonder what would that person do if he/she is in my shoes? I am so curious now. tfr!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Monday???

Monday. I always love (yeah right!) Mondays. Seriously, this is the day I find the most challenging. Getting my ds up is a bit of a challenge lately… but that’s another story. I usually get to work later than I want to. It’s very important for me because it sets the tone for my whole week. It’s a new beginning.

I arrived to work 10 minutes than I normally would on a Monday. I was ecstatic! My day went as normal until I received a memo that I need to meet with a parent. Apparently, I have to meet with a parent of the child that I am greatly challenged. I welcome these kinds of challenges. I have been waiting for this opportunity. I was just hoping that the parent will be reasonable unlike the child.

On the way to the vp office, I was hoping that the apple falls far away from the tree. I have a lot in mind. The things I had to deal with this child is something else. I can’t begin to reason why she acts the way she does. I am certain there is a space in her heart that is good, and I have to uncover that.

Yes! My first impression was that the apple is kind of fell far away from the tree. Now, I just have to establish that. I don’t know how, but I am positive. I handed the child’s report card to the parent, after the greeting and all that. I can’t lie to you, it is bad. The worse thing about it is that the child does not even show any remorse. Well, it’s apparent that her emotions are just so mixed. I guess, it’s just normal for a kid to blame it all on someone else-and that happened to be me! It’s always me. From the way I was looking (staring -according to her), to the way I breathe. The bottom line is-I am consistent on my grounds. I established that I am in charge of the classroom, that she’s there to learn and to follow some kind of order.

In the end, she understood that she needs to keep her acts together. Now, just need to see it in action. I reassured the parent that I am in no way, shape, or form just picking on her child. I have 29 others to worry about. That I am there to help them succeed, above all, I honestly believe that her child is a “smart cookie”.

I am glad I made my Monday worthwhile not just for me but for the other lives I touched today (I am hopeful!). tfr!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday - the 13th

I am not really sure if I believe that Fri 13th is a bad day - my day at work was not that good today so I blame it on that famous "13th". My little people today are just so rowdy I don't even know what the devil made them think they can get away with not following the rules in my classroom! It only took one daughter-of-her-mother to make my room not conducive to learning. I promise you she will not get away with it. I called my “connections” (the guidance counselor and her mom) to meet with them so incidents like this will not occur again.
I know I should elaborate but I feel that it would be fair if all parties are aware before I disseminate the information.
Will an Update on this later. Tfr!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

WWW (as in Winter Weather Warning!!!)

I can't believe that we are having this "noreaster" storm this weekend. Last night, the local channel forecast was 4 to 8 inches in our area... Now, they're saying we are probably going to have about a foot of snow when everything is said and done.

I must be dreaming!!! My df and I went to the store yesterday and i did not even have a coat! The weather around here is very interesting. I just don't want to have another day off for monday. We already had 3 snow days to cover in june and I just can't afford to trade those nice, summer days over this cold, wintry, snowy, nasty day... hhuhhuhhu!

Well, I guess I can really do anything about it. I'll just worry about the weather tomorrow. Hopefully the weather guys are wrong in their predictions...


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

we will be Fatherless

My new mantra is "live for the NOW" but I could not help wondering about the future. I am talking about the future of our department, coping with the change for next year. It's now a common knowledge in our department that our “father” will be retiring.

The economy is to blame on this untimely decision. The state is pretty much showing the “older workers” the door! It does not matter that these employees are experts in their field or not. We will surely miss them.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

ttitlt intro

I am posting my "ttitlt" every week or as much as I can take time to ponder the little things I learn from students. As you may probably know, I teach in a city where tough kids reside and find comfort in their own little ways. Some people thinks that I am insane for doing so, but I believe in the goodness of my students hearts...

By the way, ttitlt means "to teach is to learn twice!"

I also learn from them!

Friday, January 23, 2009

ttitlt #1

Today is fantastic friday but not so fantastic for student a who came in crying because her boyfriend was "jumped on" by some students they don't know. Just imagine how a teenager would rant and rave then multiply that by 10times - that's what I had for my first block intro. She would not listen when I asked her to leave to see someone "to vent on" and she just went on firing "f bombs" and slangs. With my little patience and a nice tone of voice... I reminded everyone, not really directly talking to her (since I don't want anymore of her anger! I must be scared .... :) that "I understand that we can get upset and so aggravated sometimes (that it's not even funny!); but that does not give us any reason to be r-u-d-e!"

By the way, I like spelling some of the bad words they say to make a point that I really DISLIKE (instead of h-a-t-e) saying it, that I have a choice to NOT say it, and that it makes me cranky... they are starting to be aware of the words that will make my day good...

That student of mine started to cool off and went on with her assignments without any problems. She gave me a high five on her way out saying "You're a gangsta, miss!" I hope that means something good. I have to make sure I ask her what it means on monday.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

students' inaugural paper

I am a little disappointed with what my students show me for their paper on the 44th president's inaugural address (that is related to math or anything they can associate with math). I am not sure if it's the defiance among teenagers or they just don't know how to write.

Only half of them handed in their work. Others said one night is "way too tight", some said that they cannot find anything to write about math. The winning excuse was "If it's geography or social studies, or english, I will not have a problem writing even 4 pages! I just can't find math in the speech!"

I guess, they are actually looking for the word "math" in the speech... no, I'd like to call it defiance.

For the students who did their work and see the math in it, I am proud of you guys!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Classes Re - scheduled

Just for today, our principal re-scheduled our daily class schedule so we can accommodate all students to watch history in the making - he inauguration of the first African-American president Barrack H. Obama.

With the special schedule, I end up with an empty room and a tv all to myself! I must be lucky today! I sat in my desk and taped the speech. I thought that President Obama must be too nervous to take on the worst economy that both he and the Chief Justice Roberts had some flubs back and forth. They both are first-timers, so let's give it to them...

What struck me was his statement, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." I just can't wait to see it happens. I am hopeful it will happen in the near future and that he will do good as a president, leader, and father.

For my students, I expect they will live up to my challenge - I need that paper tomorrow. tfr

Monday, January 19, 2009

suicide among teens

Our school is devastated at a loss of a person who chose to end his life. It's a terrible loss for his family, his friends, his community, and our school. It's sad to think that it can be anyone... I saw him in the hallway the recently ~ he seemed to be okay... His one of the students who would always say "hi" or greet you "good morning" and ask how do you do... with a smile on his face. Before you know it, he's not able to do such a thing... It's so sudden, so abrupt.

One of his friends said that they were outside his house hanging around afterschool the day he ended it. He said he'll catch them later, he needs to go take a shower. . . he never came back out... he never will...

I could not imagine what would it be to be his friends... should I feel guilty? Should I feel mad and hopeless? They only 15 and life change in a way they're not ready for...

In my opinion, it does not help that our dp is really magnifying the whole thing. I am just afraid that kids who need "attention" realize that maybe this is the attention they need and will follow suit. I hope that will not happen.

Click [here] and [here] to learn more about suicide among teens.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

paper piles

My desk is so infested with student works and such that I really need to stay late one afternoon and get all my correcting done. I stayed a good hour each day this week but I had students asking for help or making up work that I was not able to do any of the tasks to my satisfaction.

Tomorrow is another day. . . Wish me luck! tfr

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's Jan 5, 09 - - - soon!

Before you know it, I will be in front of my students teaching them lessons (in class and in life ~hopefully). I hope that they had great Christmas break as I did. I hope that they find shelter in their parents/guardians' arm.

I guess, I will have to see them all again Monday.

Have a great 2009 ahead! Stay in school!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am Thankful too

It is a tradition in our school to have Thanksgiving Pep Rally for the Football Game they play the weekend of Thanksgiving. Students who are involved in extra curricular activities like cheerleading, dance, jrotc, band, etc are encouraged to join and participate.

I was not aware that jrotc leader advised the members to attend only one of the two pep rallies because there were so many rotc members in the gym already. If they really want to attend and be a part of the second rally, they need teacher's note to show to their leader that they were given permission to come.

The second pep rally was held on the last period of the day. Three of my students today asked if they can have a note from me. When they realized that I was giving a test, they changed their minds. I think they did because I let them think and decide for themselves. They were told that I can offer them a note to go but they have to set time after school the next Monday to take the test they missed otherwise, they will get a zero.

I was just so impressed that the three of them almost instantly said they'll stay to take the test! There's not even a little argument or grumbling or pouting! I can't believe it.

It must have been the "thanksgiving spirit". Whatever it is, I am proud that I have students who makes better choices. tfr

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the problem with ..... legs!?

For my mathematically - able readers, here's something to exercise you prefrontal cortex on. The rest of you can use a calculator but I'd like to remind you to press the right button or you'll try to use that excuse for getting it wrong. ;-)

We thought that this problem would be a good brain teaser for students in our 9th grade classes.

Here it is:

There were seven girls on a bus and each girl had seven backpacks. Each backpack contained seven large cats and each large cats had seven smaller cats with them. How many legs are on the bus?

This is the original problem. The answer to this problem was used as a password for an EXCEL answer sheet file HERE.

Our problem has a little twist to it... we wanted to add the driver's legs as well! Also, to distinguish the math nerds from the math-nerds-wanna-be's we added an extension to it. After showing proficiency that students can answer the first part, as shown above, they now have to write an algebraic phrase or a general rule for n number of legs on the bus when n girls are present on the bus, provided the pattern follows, plus the bus driver's leg!

Goodluck, tfr!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

State Visit

I am so thankful that today went well with our visitors. My students made sure that they're on their best behavior. It goes to show that they also want to impress me! Seriously, I thought that some of my "bad apples" will turn into rotten ones but I was wrong. As long as I am clear with what I expect from them, they are willing to meet the challenge ~ or is this only for today? Nevertheless, I am happy! tfr

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Back to School Again

The school week was "disrupted" by the election day. We did not have school yesterday so it made me feel like Monday once again! Well, I just have to deal with it, I guess. I am very happy that it's half the semester already!!! Before we know it, my 9th graders will be marching down the aisle to receive their diplomas! But for now, I'll just have to be contend with going to school and to proctor the 2nd day of midterm exam. tfr

Monday, November 3, 2008

Meeting with a Mom

I was sitting there with 3 other teachers, a guidance counselor, the student, and his mom. I just feel so bad for a parent (single parent to that matter) to go through this agony... His student failing through and through and looks like enjoying it! He does not have a clue he's going to repeat the same courses over again with younger students next year and he will not get promoted.

We've decided to check whether the student is misplaced. And see if we could move him to the "lower level class". It's just a little difficult to see if he's misplaced or if the material is too hard for him since he didn't even have any work to look at!

Looking back, I still see the mom face with tears in her eyes feeling the failure of his son and the frustration of not knowing what to do. I feel badly about that.


Mid Term Exams

I am so happy that all my grades are done! All I need now is to type each one in the school's system for the print out of the students' report card.

By Wednesday, I am sure I am going to be okay with regards to the grade report. To all my students who did their best, asked questions when confused, put forth effort and stayed after school for extra help - I am so proud of you. For my students who slacked and still slacking - my calling for you is to do something for yourself, you are the one losing in this game. You are failing your self... not me (your teacher), not your parents, not your friends, but yourself.

I wish you luck for the remainder of the school semester.

So far, I've been so happy that I stick to my goal - to do work at work and leave all the pressures of work at work! By doing this, I am a happier person at home, although I arrive home a little late at time since I check the papers at school and if I am not done, I still leave it there for the next day. I am happy with what I do, I wish I've done this system years back.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pay for Grades

I found this article from an education website. It talks about the students' motivator in the 21st century. Students are getting paid for their grades. It is indeed a controversial motivator, even my most unmotivated student, was urge to write down what he thinks. Oh, by the way, after I had the students read the article, I asked them to write down which side they take. Whether they agree on the program of paying students to earn passing grades, or disagree which means not having the program at all. I took pictures of some of the interesting writing they handed in. I will post them later. Pay for grades is controversial but is really happening in one of the districts in Chicago. I would like to know if it really works.

Stay tuned for my students' works. tfr

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Update. . .

I contacted the mom of the student I confiscated the cellphone from. Apparently, she is not aware that her son's phone is not with him. She sounded tired of dealing with the son's misbehavior at school that she asked me what to do. After I suggested what she needs to do, according to the book, I also set up an appointment with the guidance counselor to meet with his parent and his other teachers. It came to my knowledge that I am not the only teacher this student had problems with.

I am hoping that with 2-day suspension, the student can think what he did and be a "good" student. I know this is too much to ask but I ask it anyway.

Hopefully, the meeting will turn out okay.


Last Quiz Installment For the Quarter

I cannot believe it's halfway through the semester already! Most of my students welcome the midterm exams with open arms but others just sit there and wait for nothing. I really hope that they will realize soon that they are the ones making their grades.

Anyway, it is what it is. I tell my students all the time that their grades in my class is a reflection of their performance. They sure are worth more than their grades (if they are failing) but they don't do anything about it. I guess I just have to deal with it. Hopefully they will mature soon!

I am moving on. tfr

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cracking down on cellphones...

I can't believe how many times in a day we hear that p.a. reminding students that electronics, such as cellphones, ipods, etc etc (except calculators) are not allowed in the hallways and classrooms!

For the past weeks, I've been very "nice" about the issue. Yes, I implement the rule but I did not feel like I have to confiscate their personal possession - it's important to them - actually seems like more important than their grade!

Three days ago, I made it clear to all my students that I am not going to be nice anymore. I told them I am done reminding them to put them away and made that announcement as their last reminder from me. This is the eighth week in the semester and should be pretty much aware of the school's rules and regs. It's not that I have a lot of problems about electronic usage in my class but a few. Pretty much same students are doing the trick! When you tell me to keep it, they do but they will use it again if you're not looking. Or I would take it from them during class and give it back after class. But the handbook states to take the electronic item/s items from them and give it to the administrators for the student's parents to retrieve.

Anyway, I confiscated the 2nd cellphone yesterday. This student made it known since day 1 that he's a pest! He's one of those who just doesn't want to follow the crowd but makes his own. He's defiant and he thinks his cool! So, his cellphone was taken from him. At the end of the class wanted it back. Well, guess what I told him? Have your parents come tomorrow to get it from the principal. That's right! I said that. He was upset, grabbed my timer from my desk. He said that if I have his possession, he can have mine. Refused to listen to what I say and told me that he don't care whatever I say. Just imagine how kids around here get upset, how they use profane language - he was that bad!

I am not even done writing the report for the admin when I heard knocking on my door. Guess who? Yes, the principal. He basically wanted to hear what happened from my view, returned my timer and retrieved the cellphone. I asked him what I should have done. He agreed to what I've done, but told me I can also give it back to the student if I want to! Oh boy, I felt like that student's waiting for him to take his cell back. I thought it would be nice if they can follow their own rules!

In the end, I decided that I let it up to them to decide what happens next. I did my job, so I let them do theirs. Hopefully, the student will not brag about how he won over me. I promise you they will hear something from me.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, Common Task Day

I teach 3 classes of 9th graders this semester. There are a lot of benefits as well as disadvantages teaching these vigorous, young adults.

Students were advised and encouraged to study (do they? really?!) for their first common task for the year. This is a proficiency-based, on-demand task that students (all students) have equal opportunity to take. They have to get a grade of 4 out of 4 for this task to be called "portfolio-worthy" task. Students will then collect all these task to put in their graduation portfolio.

This would mean that I will have a lot of reading and checking to do afterschool today! I just love it. I wish all my students will meet my expectations. Seriously, I wish they studied last night.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Monday!

I look forward to meeting my students today. Their Warm-Up problem is ready and a new lesson waiting. I can't wait to see who and how many will get the right answer. I also have to make sure to reiterate tomorrow's Common Task. Their first for the year!

Well, students, I wish you lots of luck. tfr

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Welcome to my Blog

Mabuhay! I created this blog so I have a place to share my thoughts, fears, aggravations, and my joys of being a teacher. I teach high school students. Sometimes it feels like my husband alone is not enough for me to vent to. Don't get me wrong, he's a very supportive and a very good listener but I just feel that he can enjoy just me without that "teacher baggage".

I promise I won't be too over bearing. I will write all that makes my day at school so people who wonder what's happening in my "teacher bubble" will be informed. I also would like to share my experiences and joy of being a teacher to anyone who may want to become one. Warning: some experiences might scare you off too.

I teach in an inner city school where child abuse and neglect is the highest in the state, birth rate for older teens (18 -19) is the 2nd highest in the state and the birth rate for younger teens (15-17) is the 3rd highest in the state, the graduation rate is only 54% compared to the state's 70%, and the free breakfast program for all students are free!

Please don't get me wrong, I am still safe, I love my job, and I not complaining. I just thought it would be nice if you know a little background so you have some idea about what I'm talking about when you read some of my posts in the future. I know that I have a big responsibility for changing the mindset of our young adults. They need to be taught so we'll have better future.

Whew, I miss my class already! tfr

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Ok, so I signed up for this technology workshop offered by the district last summer. It's about using technology in the classroom. The state wanted to improve the ratio of desktop computer to the number of students so this is one of the ways they thought they could make up for it, I guess. We are at the bottom of the list (again) in the desktop-student ratio. I was one of the teachers who signed up to use 2 weeks of our previous time in the summer.

Today I am lucky to receive these goodies! Two brand new desktops, mimio, and my digital camera is yet to come. I don't think I would be able to receive the digital cam but I can hope for it.Here's the new desktop my students can use!

The mimio is for me to get use to. I need more time to play with that tech. I can't say that I'm confident using that thing just yet.

I have my goodies and I'm happy! tfr