1 more day

1 more day

One more day of freedom. I am not looking forward to the start of school - we got our roll sheets Friday - 31 kids in my 9th grade Honors Geography course, 26 desks in my room, and 22 computers in the lab. Ought to be interesting. The 8th grade US history teacher said he had recommended 20 kids for honors social studies class, so where the other 11 came from I am not sure. Our counselors tend to put kids wherever, so who knows what skills these kids will have.
That is my largest class. The others have from 25-28, and one class has 15. Several of the kids were in my classes last year and flunked. Now that they know what it takes to pass my class maybe they will do the work. Maybe not.
I must say our new principal is doing an excellent job so far. I could not get my window cleaned all last year. Friday morning I asked the janitor when that window was going to be cleaned, and within 5 minutes he was outside with a hose and squeegee. I hope everything else goes this well.

NCLB is a real joke out in the sticks where I teach. The personnel, for the most part, are caring and competent. OTOH, there are some who only pretend to work, and when they test, it is always true/false, and all the answers are true. The reduced/low expectations in some classes make it hard on those of us who demand actual thinking from students in order to pass. Somehow students have come to believe that school should be 'fun', and when it isn't they tune out and turn off. MTV and the cartoon network reinforce the 15 second attention span of these kids, so drill work is really difficult for them. Note-taking is impossible, so I spend several days teaching them how to do it. They also have no clue as to how to use the internet. Keywords are a mystery - how do you find them? where are they written? what do you mean I have to come up with them?
At least mine will have 2 more years of school before they have to pass the 11th grade TAKS test. Maybe between now and then we can raise them up to that level. Our kids don't have much trouble with the social studies test, but science is killing them. Math scores were pretty low, too.
The state claims that the test is hard enough that you can't 'teach' to it, that it is an analysis type test, but that is hogwash. We all teach to it. Fortunately there is not old-fashioned geography on it - no 'where is the Eiffel tower' question. It is reading maps and charts, and knowing the party line about the American revolution, all easy to teach. I have plenty of time to do fun stuff, where they actually learn things.
IPC will be another story. It is mainly math, which I can teach, but it is not particularly fun. It requires brain work, and the students really seem to believe their brains will explode if they use them.

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