Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Guess who is visiting my blog?

I'd like to welcome the educators from my town that are visiting my blog. Evidentally, you've heard rumors that you're not getting the best press here. Do you want to know why?

Let's see, we've got the math teacher that throws screaming hissy fits on a daily basis and threatens my kid about failing math and not graduating and never amounting to a hill of beans. Plus she takes up crucial class time to throw her tantrums, and then has no time to teach. I'm pretty sure that deserves some discussion on the blog.

There's the SpED teacher who can barely write a coherant sentence and can't spell common words. He likes to give out the answers to tests so the kids get a better grade. Unfortunately, he gives out wrong answers much of the time. He's a popular contender for person I least want to blog about, but can't help indulging in his fabulous blogging material.

There's our superintendant, the guy who won't call off school if there is a raging typhoon, a tsunami, a blizzard and an earthquake all happening at the same time, because what's more important, the safety of the children or the sanctity of the school calendar? Tough call, eh? But it doesn't much matter as long as we celebrate diversity. Diversity means, become a lackey of the rich influential pushy parents and the rest of the kids, well that's just too bad. Can't help everyone, can you?

There's the incredibly racist principal from the suckiest middle school in the city, the guy who wears a do-rag and basketball wifebeaters to school. Oh yeah, he's one you really have to dig deep to find anything to respect. He's the jackass that made such trouble for the Girl last year, and miraculously, she's not been in trouble since. Hmmmm.

There's the English teacher who believes that nobody should get higher than a C in his class, and that C's are actually good grades. Sure does make that student body want to work hard in his class. I mean, how discouraging can you be?

There's another English teacher who was such a bad writer I once corrected something she wrote in bright read pen and gave it to the (then) principal, who was beside himself when he saw it. I can't find the example anymore, but I just checked out this teacher's web site and found a decemt sample of her writing. Believe me, it's about 10 times cleaner than when my kid had her. I think she might have learned that parents read the homework web sites, too. Can you see all the mistakes? Hint: which and that are not interchangable.
I hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving break and that you are rested and ready to begin a new unit. Today I am giving you a sheet called Poetry Circles which identifies the five parts of the unit. This is going to be a short letter so that I can spend most of class today explaining the unit and letting you begin reading poems. I hope that by the end of the unit, you learn how to read and analyze a poem. And I hope that you find some poems that you love and gain a deeper appreciation for poetry.
You will be working in small groups called circles in which you will practice various roles which will help you learn the analytical skills needed for getting the most out of a poem. I will assign some poems to you, and some will be your choice. You also will be writing original poems. Because the unit has so many different parts, it will continue into January. There will be due dates for homework and projects as well as quizzes. It will be important for you to check the white board every day and to use your assignment notebooks. As always, hold onto this letter and look at the dates on the bottom.
Fridays will continue to be our reading workshop days; book shares and independent requirements will proceed almost as usual. The next checkpoint for an independent reading book is December 9, with an independent reading log--worksheet only--not a final draft(!) due no later than December 16. (Book read between 11/11&12/9) Note, I am checking the worksheets only this time. You will all have a lot to do for the poetry unit, and I saw a lot of improvement on the last set of logs. I will give you a different assignment for the book which will be due on December 23. You’ll like it; food is involved.
I am going to end this now so that we can start the poetry unit. As always, let’s have a great week (s).

In their defense, there are also some good and dedicated teachers who encourage the kids, who make learning fun and enjoyable, and who have not yet gotten so burnt out that they can't stand being in a classroom. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough of these teachers in our middle schools. I know it's the hardest age to teach. These kids aren't a piece of cake to live with, either. But if you are paid to be in a building with them for 6 hours a day, can't you at least make an attempt not the hate the kids? Can't you at least try to make them feel good about themselves? Can't you attempt not to yell and scream at the kids for talking in study hall or for not having an assignment handed in on time?

My middle-schooler has enough learning differences that just listening and trying to master the material is physically and mentally exhausting to her. There are days when she comes home from school, lays down on the sofa and passes out from sheer exhaustion. In the meantime, she's got teachers that refuse to honor her IEP, that demand more of her than she's able to deliver, and that refuse to learn about her learning disability in order to understand why she is so verbal and talks incessently. This is part of every teacher's job, and the only way I seem to be able to get this point across is to threaten them with my educational attorney. Yes, I do have an attorney that just handles special education issues. Isn't that a sad statement?

I often wonder what happens to the kids who don't have parents to advocate for them. I wonder what kind of crap them have to put up with from vicious teachers who find it fun to cut down kids and make them feel badly about themselves. What happened to the job of boosting self-esteem? Why isn't that still a priority?

I know I've ranted on and on about middle school lately. I realize that it's not all that interesting for those of you who don't have kids in this age group. But I'm telling you all this stuff so you'll go into the middle school years with your eyes wide open. You'll need every ounce of your emotional strength to get through these three years. We've only got 4 more months and then it's behind us forever. My advice: start hoarding your antisepressants now. You're really going to need them once middle school invades your life.

I promise this will be the last middle school rant for at least a couple of weeks. We do have that upcoming team meeting!
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Blogger Chaotic Mom said...

Yes, yes, YES!!!!! My kids are still young, school has been easy. But two of my three are deaf with cochlear implants, the youngest w/additional "issues". I HATE navigating the educational system. FREAKS ME OUT every time I have to deal with it. The boys are in a private, parochial school for the deaf, but I'm still going to have to deal with the public ed. dept. Ugh. I dread it.

14/2/06 3:18 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

Blogger is dragging its feet today. We should compare notes on the school system sometime.

I hear your pain.

btw I read your absence of love post and just in case you don't see the comments, I was really touched.

Ann (from the world of Blogging Baby)

14/2/06 5:19 PM  
Blogger nita said...


this post is awesome and shows you for the force of nature that you are!

i've long held that teaching salaries should start at 70K and it should be really hard to get a job as a teacher. it's the most important job in this ridiculous country and slobs like those you write about are holding those jobs. unbelievable.

15/2/06 7:56 AM  
Blogger MomToJandE said...

You are inspirational to me on this subject, and a good reminder of why I need to advocate to the best of my ability at my child's school.

15/2/06 10:04 AM  

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