Saturday, October 30, 2010


Yesterday was Halloween dress-up day.
I was Nathan Detroit (Guys and Dolls)
Mrs. D was Cruella Deville (101 Dalmations)
I was monitoring some students in in-school suspension and noticed that one of them was in there for the day because she does not participate in Halloween.  It reminds me that the school did not officially refer to Halloween for this spirit day, but instead (and in the theme of an anti-drug week) as "Say 'Boo!' to drugs day."  I need to find out if the full-time suspension monitor knows if that was a parental or student decision.  I'm not particularly inclined to rant about Halloween in schools — try to stifle your disappointment.

In GM, we watched "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (because we can).  I haven't seen this video in such a long time that I got to enjoy a new discovery of how amazing it is.  Off the top of my head, it's the only kid-oriented story on film that I can think of that doesn't teach the lesson, "If you believe really hard in something, it will happen."  Linus firmly believes in the Great Pumpkin and waits for it all night and it never comes.  So instead of another "Hey kids, magic stuff is real — keep at it" movie, this is a movie that seems to say, "Hey kids, it's ok if something that you really wish for doesn't arrive, life goes on anyway, and deeper beauty and meaning exists (in friendship and in nature)."  I love it.

Imagery like this makes me happy.

I ended the day by attending a specialized meeting with representatives from different teams (Mrs. D represents the arts here) and the principal and VP.  It was...boring!  Yet, also informative.  Enough of that, I have another day to talk about...

Today was a clerical day post-marking-period.  We finalized grades and began preparation for the next marking period (we fortunately get another day, Monday, for this as well).  I worked on creating seating charts based on IEP and medical information (vision and hearing, for example).  In looking at my rosters, I know I'm going to have my hands full.  There are many ADHD students in these classes and many with IEP's, too.

One class in particular is going to be the adventure of a lifetime.  Mrs. D and I have been warned THREE TIMES about this group of students, with phrases like, "this is the kind of class that could make someone run away screaming from education."  We met with a teacher who works with these students (though not all at once, is my understanding) to figure out who to avoid sitting next to whom.  He did help with this, and he also informed us (almost one by one) about the very low-performing faculties of these students and their behavioral...let's say "quirks."  He also said to us, and I quote directly, "This is honestly the lowest set of students that I've seen."  28/30 of these students have IEP's, by the way.  Fortunately, their learning support teacher will be with us during each class.  Mrs. D will be trying to let me be entirely in control of the class but will, when needed, be a valuable presence and extra set of eyes — perhaps also an enforcer if I don't cut it some day.  My expectations for this class will, and need to be, completely different than that of others; I'll be progressing in the curriculum at a dramatically slower pace.  Some of these students read at a 2nd grade level.  I get the impression that if I can make it through teaching this class, there is absolutely nothing pedagogical that would keep me from certification.

Please forgive my late-night lazy storytelling, but I need to wrap this up.  The last memorable event of the day was hearing about a situation in which some HS seniors were found to be expecting Mrs. D to drive them between two music events on a weekend without ever having asked her.  Furthermore, she had to drive them around today due to their poor planning.  SENIORS!  WAKE UP!

The Oldest Established (Guys and Dolls)


  1. IEP = Individualized Education Program

    These are plans created for students who have been determined to have special needs (of which there are 13 categories that cover cognitive, sensory, and physical disabilities). Students have a legally defined right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as well as education within the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). This (combined with other laws) means that students with impairments or disabilities are included in regular education classes as much as possible, and it also means that there is a legal demand for teachers to adhere to the demands of an IEP.