Queen of the Quadratic

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cell Phone Dependency

I am astounded how attached to a cell phone today's teen is.

I have a new mode of lesson delivery that allows me to write on the computer and project on the wall wirelessly, so I can be anywhere in the room while delivering my lesson. It is the best thing that's every happened to my instruction!

One interesting side-effect is that any cell phone use disrupts the signal and prevents me from communicating with my computer. At our school, we have a strict policy about cell phone use during school hours. It is prohibited.

Yesterday, I was having a difficult time communicating with my computer so I started scanning the room to find the culprit. It didn't take long. It was a repeat offender. Last time I took her phone, she came to me at the end of class and BEGGED to get it back promising to never let it happen again. I reminded her that those were her exact words the previous time I took her phone and apparently her promise was empty, so I didn't return the phone.

We take them to the office and the student's parent has to come pick it up. Apparently, this is the only way we can get any cooperation from the parents about their kids ignoring the instruction due to a *need* to text-message during class.

When I requested the phone, she refused by saying, "Can't you just write me up?" When I told her that she would be written up ALSO, but I still had to take the phone she said, "That's not going to happen."

I told her to wait in the hall, to which she incredulously replied, "Can we wait until after you start the quiz?" I was flabbergasted! I said, "No, go now."

I continued with the rest of the class (I was nearly finished) and they were surprised that I wasn't going to stop what I was doing to go deal with the student in the hall. I explained to them that she had already disrupted their class enough and I wouldn't allow her to steal any more time from their learning.

As they were passing in their homework papers, I called the office and asked an AP to come escort her to the office. I started the quiz for the class, and then prepared her referral, finishing about 5 seconds after the AP arrived to take her away.

What really puts the icing on this cake is that this girl's mother is apparently ALSO a teacher. Last time I took her phone, she told me this fact as she was begging and pleading. I stood there with mouth agape wondering WHY in the world she still had a cell phone to be taken away! If she were my daughter, she'd have lost it for the remainder of the year after the first time I had to pick it up.

I can't believe how attached to these little devices these kids are. It isn't a tool to them, it is an appendage. They act as though I am stealing their will to live if I make it so they won't have the phone for an hour or two (or heaven forbid a whole day!)

I am tired of this issue and the brattiness that is displayed every time I have to deal with it. I hear that the parents of younger children are doing a better job teaching their kids respect than the parents of my current crop of high school students. It is perhaps the only thing that is keeping me from running from the profession. (Well, that and the couple dozen really wonderful kids I have!)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Post Spring Break

I lasted only two days after Spring Break before my voice decided it'd had enough of my abuse and gave out. For the past two days, I've been rasping my way through school and my lessons.

This year, I've had a heck of a time with my 7th period class. There are several hyper freshmen boys in the room at the same time along with a few flirtatious girls, making the overall mix incredibly difficult to manage.

A small benefit of my laryngitis is that all my classes have been very quiet because they want/need to hear what I'm whispering.

I'm considering whispering all the time!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Student Teacher

I volunteered to take a student teacher this year. When I learned that I would be getting one, I was beside myself with joy (and I'm not even being sarcastic)!

She arrived on the first day and she seemed very shy and quiet and a little mousy. I thought, "No problem... She'll warm up in a week or two."

She apparently has trouble sleeping at night and perhaps has a sleep disorder that causes her to miss out on a good night's rest. Whatever it is, it is undiagnosed and untreated. She regularly fell asleep while sitting in my classroom while I was teaching.

I spoke with her about it and informed her that the students are watching ALL the time. It is simply not permissible to sleep while in my classroom. I saw no change, so I reported the problem to her supervisor at the university. The next day, she made a genuine effort to stay awake. The day after it was back to the same 'ol same 'ol.

It was annoying that she fell asleep while she was supposed to be watching me and learning. It was intolerable that she fell asleep during parent conferences, curriculum planning meetings, faculty meetings, ARD meetings (for special ed), and any time she sensed there was an opportunity. She fell asleep WHILE SITTING UPRIGHT IN HER CHAIR!!!!!

I suppose I could've been supportive of her until she went to see the doctor (she scheduled an appointment for 3 weeks after the supervisor chastised her) if her performance as a teacher showed any improvement. I gave her specific things to work on and she gave a half-hearted effort once or twice before giving up on the goal. When I reiterated what she was to be working on, I saw NO attempt to try again.

Her supervisor was doubly unimpressed as well and wrote very specific items on each evaluation about where she needed to improve.

Last week, I'd had all I could take and recommended that the placement be terminated without completion. The very day I was to speak with her about it, she brought it up first and said she'd decided that teaching wasn't the right profession for her!!!

I am quite sad it turned out this way. I was truly excited about helping a teacher candidate hone his/her skills and get a leg up in the career.

I am willing to try again. I'll try not to let my hopes soar so high next time.