Thursday, September 24, 2009

I love my job

Chemistry is doing their first real lab. Chemicals, goggles, glove, the works. Its a simple one because inspite of law and policy, they have never done a lab before. The lab is designed to let them practice an actual lab. They mix chemicals in a baggie and wait for a reaction. This way even through the bag and gloves they can feel a temperature change along with watching for bubbling and color change.

The first set nothing happens, its a control to let them see what one powder does in water. The second one, the powder dissolves into the water and heats it up. The expression on their faces when they realize what is happening. "its hot..."...

buddy "what?"

"really here feel."
buddy feels bag too and passes bag to rest of the group as they feel the exothermic reaction.

Students together..."what happens in the next one?" to me

Me as I walk away to check on other groups. "guess you better find out."

Hear voice behind me..."okay we need 2 tablespoons of calcium chloride."..they are setting up the next test.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

circle the wagons

Minor science teaching joke.

In science there are independent variables and dependent variables. The strength of an acid is a good example of an independent variable. I can easily use different strength acids to change the speed of a reaction. The speed of the reaction is the dependent variable. Stonger acid, faster reaction. The independent I can change. The dependent variable _depends_ on what the level of the independent variable is. Its not a good definition, I hate using similar words to define things but it is the best I have found.

Test on this stuff, theory, how to measure, scientific method, definitions. No muss no fuss.
"What is an dependent variable?"

"a dependent variable depends on the independent variable for survival."

*blink* *blink*

I really wish I could ask the student who wrote this..."lemme understand this, the constants and the units attack the variables. The independent variables get on the outside to protect the dependent variables from harm..."

More than one student gave me this answer, and no they didn't copy, different sides of the room.

small town living

Phone rings.

"Hello"...the voice on the other end identifies herself as our UPS driver. She says she saw a dog just like ours near the chamber of commerce building.

I tell her I don't think so I just let him out and it would be a long jaunt to that area, but I would check. Nope, he's home.

She and our loyal puppy are buddies. He hears the truck, goes on full puppy alert. If a person is home to open the door for the package and greet her; he is happily presenting himself for a pet and a rub. She will talk to him and rub his ears before going off.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

days I love my co workers

At my school we have an extra period. Ideally it is for clubs or counseling or other extra time for things that may cut into instruction time. This Friday is a pep rally so that is what we do the extra period. When it is not those it is an extra period, so everyday I teach some class twice (1st period then later 1st period again, next day 2nd period twice) Yes it can be confusing, first thing in day I tell them which class they will repeat .

There are a bunch of guidelines such as no tests or quizzes, use it for remediation, do not introduce new material. And it is not a free period or a study hall.
but some new students don't understand that

English teacher during lunch relaying a story
"so my 9th graders said 'what, we gotta do woooork?'
I told them 'I'm sorry the clown canceled yes you have to work.'"

I could never get away with something like this

Or another teacher who wears many admin type hats as well as a class on essentially how to life in real world.

"So Carl asked me why I was writing him up and I was picking on him. I explained that my contract said I get a bonus if I pick on him."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

things unsaid

From parent teacher night to parent

"god has a plan for your child, and its my job to help her get there."

(it may be to say "do you want fries with that." but hey, who am I to go against the Almighty's will)

actually is very good child who is doing well with my class

not this time

Last year my seniors got away with too much. I let them because I had them the year before and they were so doggone earnest puppy eyed. Not this year batch. I am not letting them mess up. The large class settled down into their comfort zone seats. Monday I reassigned seats. Some was random, just breaking up their cliques, others got moved to the front because they did poorly on last test and I know from last year what they are capable of. Some grumbling but I learned to take it in stride, they just have to grumble.

"my mom won't like it if you move me to the front."

*blink* *blink* okay take a breath before you say something smart

"okay, you have my school and home number, she can call me anytime." (and I will explain and show her notes about your last test, the three days you did no work and either studied for another class or drew and ignored my orders to do my work. The only way you are getting what you want is if the principal tells me to move you.)

chapters of stories

I drive the same 40 plus miles one way for the past two years. Since I have a regular patterns I generally see much of the same thing. I mean "I know the roadkill on a first name basis." I know where the police like to wait. The areas where the logger trucks come from. Where in the road the deer like to cross and what yards they hang out in where its safe. I slow down in one township, right after it are several trailer homes. There is often a van from a school for developmentally disabled preschoolers and adults. Sometimes I see the van in route. Sometimes its parked in front of one of the trailers. I see a man walking with a gait of those who are slow, (deliberate, stiff legged) holding the hand of a small child. Are they both going? Is he going on the bus and the child is "helping" a loved relative? Is the child going and the adult simply has a bad back?