Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free At Last-Until August 17th

Last day of school for the 11/12 school year.
It's been a very tough year. Frankly the students I had, especially in the sophomore level, were actively seeking to be as distracted and disengaged as possible. This was because of a new policy called Bring Your Own Technology or BYOT for short. It's not a bad idea, but the way it was implemented left teachers trying to monitor engagement of thirty students. And what's worse, is that next year they plan to use our evaluation system as a brickbat to punish teachers whose students aren't engaged. It's a sucker bet. I could grow antenna out of my head and turn purple and whatever is being texted by Susie in the next hall is going to get precedence. One thing I will do is stop allowing students to charge phones in my classroom. What I've observed is kid bring their smart phone to school, use up the battery sending texts and photos then run out of battery life around 1:00. Then they want to charge their phones. If this scenario plays out in every seconadary classroom, that's a good amount of money being spent to power phones which by and large are simply wireless distraction devices. Next year, phones being plugged in will be taken up. Sorry, but when my job's on the line, I get serious.

But right now, having cleared my grades and cleaned my room...I'm tired.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Does This Not Surprise Me?

Because my district is on accellerated block, we go five additional days than those mandated by the state of Texas to allow for state testing. So we are already starting earlier and finishing later than every single district in our county, in our region and in our state. For some reason, our new superintendent, the same guy who implemented Bring Your Own Technology, decided we should have MORE in-service days. I don't know about you, but after twelve or so years, sharing ones best lesson plan becomes an exercise in monotony. It's not that I don't want to do it, or can't do it, but it is rather that I have done this so many times before that it's become routine. So today, in the last full week of school, our coordinator, who I have seen for about 10 minutes this entire year, informed us not only will we have two additional REQUIRED in service days, but that we cannot comp them with other workshops. This is problematic because I was awarded a grant to study illustration at Kansas City Art Institute (not the for profit, the real art school) this summer. But I had to pay my own flight. I accepted with the understanding that it would be accepted for comp time. But now, nooooooooo, it won't.

And on top of that we once again, for the fourth year in a row, will not get any sort of raise, all stipends are ended. So now we go ten days more for the same pay. If school districts don't want unions-and believe me, I don't want them really-they need to stop pulling stunts like this.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gay Marriage vs Real News

Excuse me if I am underwhelmed. Obama's announcement of his "evolving" support for gay marriage strikes me as just a tad bit self-serving. In the past three and a half years, I have noted that these guys love the Friday night news dump. Quite often, they provide themselves with political cover by launching some noisy non-issue into the media frenzy. I think this is EXACTLY what Obama has done with gay marriage. It wasn't all that long ago that he proclaimed to a largely Christian audience his disdain for gay marriage. Now it seems he's had some sort of epiphany. Either way, it comes conveniently after Joe "Ted Baxter" Biden was on Sunday talkers blathering about gay marriage and I have to think that there's some nasty Friday night news story waiting to be dumped onto an unwary public. What will it be? Holder gets indicted for contempt of Congress for Fast and Furious? Homeland Security takes over public law enforcement in Arizona over the objections of citizens? Another attempt to force a Dream Act? Of course we won't know unless we read it in a blog because the guys and gals in the media only work during the week.