Sunday, May 15, 2005

Tales From The Trenches: Classroom Teachers Speak

If it's Sunday, it must be time for another installment of our weekly visit to a few of the sites that are written by those that serve students in the classroom. We have selected each of these entries with the aim of presenting a little of this, and a little of that.

Think of this roundup as blogging that is brought to you by those that made reading possible.

This post will be updated throughout Sunday as time permits.

first visit this week is with Melinama, over at Pratie Place. Melinama is Hospital Blogging from the bedside of her son, whose been hospitalized for the past few days. Let's send some thoughts their way in hopes for his speedy recovery.

Betsy's Page is telling us about a Connecticut charter school that is
achieving great results with minority students. What's the secret to success? Self-discipline and individual accountability for academic progress. (Check out what's considered to be uncool!)

What does one do when one has a spouse that habitually uses vulgar words and phrases? Bronwen, who happens to be a teacher of modern languages,
tells us why she had to censor her husband on Mother's Day. (Sometimes, a kid only has to hear something once.)

When it comes to one's children, it's never too early to be thinking about the next school year. At The Examined Life, they point to
an excellent common sense piece called "10 Things Your Child's Teacher Needs to Know." (This is a must read for both parents and teachers.)
For many teachers, the end of the school year is often a time of reflection. For others, it's a time of thanksgiving. For some, it can be fun. And, for a lucky few, it's all three. Mz. Smlph fits into that last category.
Here is a taste:
What I've realized over the last couple days is that, without the added stress of tennis, end-of-the-year evaluations, and heaps of obligations piled on by administrators, teaching can actually not suck. I may even go as far as to say that teaching can be enjoyable.

Yes, folks, I've said it. For the last couple days, I've enjoyed teaching. I still have the same kids, the same unmotivated 3rd block, but now I also have TIME: time to breathe, sleep, run, and be a normal 24-year-old. It's beautiful.
I've always believed that the most inspirational leaders are those that lead from the front, and lead by example. This proven leadership method is lacking in many of today's leaders. The Expat Nomad is an American who is currently teaching in The Netherlands. This week, the Nomad is bringing to our attention the awful fact that even fellow teachers are not above pulling shenanigans on the athletic field. In a blatant example of cheating, the kids on Expat's softball team were obviously swindled out of the championship game that they had earned.

In a two-parter, newlyweds Rachel and Matt are celebrating a new addition to their family. They are about to give birth to a bouncing baby... mortgage. See part I
here, and part II over there. (You never forget your first refinance.)

Darren, over at Right on the Left Coast,
has had a good day. First, the parents of his school put on an elaborate luncheon in celebration of California's Day of the Teacher, which was Tuesday, May 11th. (Contrast this with my school, where the administration did nothing for the 38 teachers on our faculty.) Second, Darren spoke with Sacramento Bee reporter/blogger Dan Weintraub about charter schools.

"What would happen if someone at school found my blog, and didn't like it?" This is
the fascinating question that is posed by Coach Brown over at A Passion For Teaching And Opinions. (A teacher as well as a coach, Mr. Brown puts things into perspective.)

The graphics over at The Art Of Getting By won our hearts over a long time ago. In a recent post, Janet
touches upon a subject that should be of interest to all that work in schools. Why do so many school administrators fall into the trap of socializing with a select group of teachers? What makes an "in crowd" detrimental to staff morale is the unpleasant fact that membership in these cliques is (usually) by invitation only. (We firmly believe that all forms of favoritism is harmful to a school's culture, and as such, hurts kids.)

The Eternal Challenge of how to teach students to read well
is on the mind of Mr. McNamar over at The Daily Grind. During a recent class period, Mr. "M" had the students engaging in good ole fashioned reading, modern computerized instruction, and then direct instruction by the teacher.

Written by a high school teacher in Florida, Fred's World has assembled a curious list. Calling the list "If I did...," it's an assemblage of the things that would have earned Fred a slap from his father if he had pulled them. (Fred's number four is what really aggravates us in the classroom.)

What time is it when folks visit a school and express their concerns that kids are "unengaged" and that there is too much "down time" in class? If you said "It's accreditation time!" then you have answered the question correctly. The Science Goddess, at What It's Like on the Inside has all the details of this trying time at her school.

Finally, here at The Education Wonks, we humbly submit for your approval our take on a high school teacher's
vivisection of a live dog in class.

View last week's Tales From The Trenches right here.
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