My Thirteenth Year

A record of misadventures in the thirteenth year of teaching
JANUARY 27, 2010 11:31PM

These Kids Deserve So Much Better.

My district administrators have proposed over 20 million dollars in new cuts for next year.  Granted, I am from a large district, but these cuts are deep – deeper than I thought possible.   Most of these cuts come directly impact classroom instruction or maintenance.  None o… Read full post »

JANUARY 20, 2010 12:45AM

Why Education and Politics Don't Mix

Both politicians and educators enter their fields to make the world a better place.  I have no real evidence of this, but I am going to assume that it is true.  As a teacher, I know that I became a teacher so I could teach kids.  I like kids, I like… Read full post »

JANUARY 19, 2010 10:18PM

Phone Home

Two of my students called home today.   I have had about a month of implementing our new program for behavior, and these two students are still requiring reminders, several times a day, to follow the expectations.   So today, I had it with them.  At lunch today, I had them ca… Read full post »

DECEMBER 28, 2009 2:44PM

Where Are They Now?

I have been teaching long enough that the group of students in my first year teaching kindergarten at my current school, are now seniors in high school.  The following year, I taught second grade, and those students graduated last June.  Some of these students were also in my class when I… Read full post »

DECEMBER 15, 2009 4:17PM

Is it a Race if You Don't Run?

Our district has decided not to enter the race.  We have received unofficial word that our district has decided NOT to apply for the competitive grants under the Race to the Top program through the federal government.   Apparently, we wouldn’t qualify.   Our community i… Read full post »

A couple of weeks ago, I posted that I had ordered a new book on classroom discipline.  The book, Discipline Without Stress, Punishment or Rewards, was ordered off of Marvin Marshall’s fancy website.  I was a little doubtful, as I tend not to trust slick presentations and the ‘s… Read full post »

I don’t have a formal, structured discipline plan for my classroom.  I have a section about it in my back to school night handout, which basically says that the expectation is that we are respectful to each other in the classroom.   Students (and adults) who have difficulty with… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 23, 2009 2:23AM

Working my ass off, and still getting the blame...

Two vastly different newspapers have recently blamed me for the problems in education.  I am too greedy, too selfish and out for all I can get.  I am apparently, not at all interested in teaching… Read full post »

Grades for the first trimester closed on Friday, 11/13.  I had to turn in my report cards, completed, today for review by my principal. 

When my report cards were returned to me, they included a memo that outlined how my report card graded did not reflect the online assessment tool… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 12, 2009 6:45PM

A Race Where Nobody is Going to Win

No one is going to win this "Race to the Top".   It hurts to listen to President Obama or Education Secretary Arne Duncan talk about it.   It is wrong to set up education as a competition.  Compulsory education for everyone cannot be a race or competitive.  This sets up… Read full post »

The information, as presented to me today, was akin to someone telling me the world was, after all, flat.  And here is the proof.  And what you thought about the world has been wrong all along.  And it was presented with such assuredness, that I had to see the truth in… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 8, 2009 10:06PM

My New Hero, Calpernia Tate

I have started reading The Evolution of Calpernia Tate to my class.  I actually downloaded (uploaded - I can never get that right) it to my Kindle over the summer and loved it.  I decided then that I would have to read it to students.


The book tells… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 4, 2009 10:32PM

The other shoe

We had a meeting after school today.  The other shoe has dropped.  Even though our school has an API of over 800 (Academic Performance Index), and overall we made our AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress), we missed the mark in two subgroups - Hispanics… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 3, 2009 9:43PM

How much can we do with $100?

Today, we talked about tape in class.  We use tape (yes, the sticky kind) quite a bit.  We have notebooks that we write in and add information by taping it in.  If the tape is left on the desks, it is soon gone.  Ten year olds find quite a bit of… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 1, 2009 10:35PM

Healthcare and the classroom

One of the teachers at my school told me that she just received the h1n1 vaccine.


The CDC guidelines are as follows: 

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that certain groups of the population receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine when it first become… Read full post »

OCTOBER 27, 2009 12:40AM

College Acceptance

This weekend, two of my former students were accepted to college.  They went to Humboldt State University's early admissions day and were accepted on the spot.  I am not surprised, but it still makes me very happy.

At the end of each year, students leave the classroom and I don't… Read full post »

OCTOBER 25, 2009 9:49PM

How are We Going to Pay for This?

Whenever something comes up at school that we want to do, the first question is "how are we going to pay for this?"  It is the big question for every thing we do.

There are so many things we want to do and need to do, but the funding just… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 22, 2009 9:27PM

Achievement Gap Just Gets Bigger and Bigger

We have a new math curriculum (see previous post re: thumb tacks).  It has been a huge adjustment for both the students and the teachers. We are trying.  We are persevering.  We are not being too successful.


One of the limitations to the program is that it is a… Read full post »

OCTOBER 19, 2009 10:42PM

English Language Learners and Bad Apples

I was out of the classroom a couple of days last week.   I was helping my school assess all of our English language learners.  Every year, we need to administer the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) to every student who is still acquiring English language skills.

&n… Read full post »

I teach fifth grade.  My students are 9 and 10 years old.  They are nice kids, and usually well behaved (well, ignore that earlier post about the fight). 

This is a diret quote from my new math curriculum.  See if you can spot the potential problem. 

"Demonstrate how you wan… Read full post »

OCTOBER 2, 2009 6:09PM

The Janitor as Teacher

My school is very diverse.  There are students in my class whose parents come from all over the world, and those who were raised right in here in the bay area.  Each student comes with an amazing and rich world of different experiences, as well as the common experiences of living… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 9:59PM

Substitutes, Easels, and field trips

An entry in three parts:


I had a substitute today.  Michael is his name, and he subs at our school often.  It is so much work to have a sub.  You basically have to tell someone else what to do minute by minute for the entire day.  It… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 22, 2009 6:59PM

... and then a fight broke out.

When we leave or enter the room, I let them in the room a few at a time, to minimize the craziness when they come in or rush out.  When giving this instruction the first time, I tell the students about the Who concert in 1979.  I am not having a… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 16, 2009 11:58PM

API, AYP and not making the grade

When we were teenagers, my sister and I were on a swim team.  I wasn't good, but I wasn't terrible either.  I was fine.  My father, who hated all kinds of competition in a super competitive way, used to tell us that he knew a way we could win every race… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 16, 2009 11:58PM

API, AYP and not making the grade

When we were teenagers, my sister and I were on a swim team.  I wasn't good, but I wasn't terrible either.  I was fine.  My father, who hated all kinds of competition in a super competitive way, used to tell us that he knew a way we could win every race… Read full post »