So I decided to change things up for a bit with the new design. I wish I knew something about html, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over just choosing another blogspot template. Speaking of which, that's my cue. It's after 11pm. Oops. Thank goodness I got some work done tonight because I am positively swarming in paperwork, planning, and grading.
Today, I had to give up twenty minutes of my planning period calling the mother of a little girl who I discovered recently is a chronic liar. She comes to my class today with a pass written at 12:20. It's 12:45. I ask her where she was, and she told me that she was with the woman who wrote the pass. I make her go back to the woman (the assistant principal) to verify that the pass was written incorrectly. I tell her, "(Whitney), you're a liar. It's going to take some time to regain my trust with almost anything you tell me." Snap. The little girl does go back there, but never returns to my class after the woman sent her back. After the class, I call her mom. My department head, overhearing our phone conversation, says, "Aw, Epiph, you have such a nice way of dealing with people, even when it's bad news." So strange, but maybe that's why I can get away with some of the things I say to kids (and, frankly, to parents): my tone.
Tomorrow I have to figure out how I'm going to punish my 5/6 period class, who were dreadful with the substitute on Tuesday. One boy had his name written on the report, and I ran into him today. I'm pretty close with the kid, and close with his mom (I teach the kid's twin, as well). He's the kind of kid who thrives and craves my attention. I don't know if it's because I'm a male or because he's just a player with all his teachers, but he always wants to slap hands or talk hip-hop or sports with me. I like him; he's a good kid. But I had to spend a half hour in a meeting listening to his mom harangue him about grades, and I know he's screwing up in a lot of classes, so when I ran into him after reading my sub's report, I just got into his face with my finger pointing at him. He's taller than me, but I still just looked up into his eyes and before he could even say anything to me, I told him I was extremely disappointed in him and that I hope that someday he matures enough to be civil to a substitute teacher. He started making excuses, and saying that the substitute was lying, but I cut him off and told him that I didn't want to hear one more excuse out of him, that I don't care what he says to me, that it was his name on the letter, and there's nothing he can do about it except accept what is coming. Now, I have to figure out what exactly is coming. And, apparently, it wasn't just him - the whole class was off the hook. It is a bad class - I've sort of been working on them all year, and genuinely like them despite there being a bunch of fuck-ups in there (I keep telling them they have to get through this year, that high school will be better for them next year, but they've got to kick it in gear for the last few months) - but they've got to act better when there's a sub. My bribing them with a doughnut party before I left obviously did not work.
I'm all about the doughnut parties lately with my classes. It costs me twenty bucks to feed a class donuts and it gives me a couple of weeks of good moods and smiles and the ability to really work them hard without hearing all the whining. Maybe it's bribing. I don't know. I do know that I really remember the classes when the teachers brought in doughnuts when I was in high school.
Lastly, if anyone wants to go see what I'm sure will be a great high school production of The Crucible on Thursday or Friday in the Baltimore area, shoot me an e-mail and I'll give you details. Two of my ninth graders have roles, and a swarm of former students.
Writing Across The Ages - Craig Morgan Teicher finds the reasons for his devotion to poetry in the following passage from Walt Whitman: And that my soul embraces you this hour, and ...
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