For realsies

It’s All in How You Look At It November 1, 2015

Filed under: humor,nurse,school — peachyteachy @ 1:00 pm
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Consider my colleague, who teaches some youngsters who tend to see things from a different point of view.  On top of the usual requests to go see the nurse because “My finger hurts,” or “I have bumps on my face,” she found out last week that one of her kids (we’ll call her Princess I’m Telling) suffers from an even more serious condition.

This affliction is characterized, according to the student, by the presence of “blue marks all over my arms.”

Markers! If you guessed that markers played a role in the onset, you would get a sticker for good thinking, but you would have missed it by just a smidge.

Upon closer inspection, it became apparent that PIT was suffering from circulation.  Which is to say that the telltale blue marks turned out to be none other than the veins in her arms.  It would seem that she had not detected their presence in her previous eight years of life. Neither, I guess, had she noticed these strange markings on others of her species.

Suffice it to say that we are quite prepared to put money on the odds of her nailing the state tests in the spring. It’s right in step with the odds of winning the MegaMillions.

Because, hey, you never know.


Creating a learning environment, OR My post-apocalyptic classroom September 4, 2013

Filed under: education,humor,school,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 8:37 pm
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Last week:

I am a friend of the custodians, really. I contribute to their holiday cookie tray and everything.  However, the shine on that relationship is a bit tarnished at the moment.  No cleaning pun intended.

First, the good news: I am changing classrooms! More specifically, I am teaching a younger grade level this year!  I am quite happy with this change, but it has led to some complications in the classroom preparations department.  School begins one week from tomorrow.  Our building opened for teachers to prepare their rooms TODAY.  I will be in workshops and unable to go in until Friday.  I am moving stuff from the old room to the new, different grade level room.

The reason for this delay is that the custodians were unable to clean the building any earlier.  Apparently, they have been directed to clean all surfaces very slowly, using cotton swabs.  As a result, I am poised to have the most minimalist classroom ever (yes, I considered that word choice carefully).

This week:

My classroom has evolved into its minimalist self. There is a calendar.

This is good news, when you consider the fact that there was every likelihood that this room was going to wind up resembling this:


The jarring reality is that the room has a fragrance reminiscent of nothing so much as the swine barn at the fair. This despite the painstaking, cotton swabbing, scrub-o-mania undertaken by the custodial staff.  Luckily, I know where the Febreze store is located.

Please pray for me, that my first day with students doesn’t resemble my anxiety dreams.

I thank you.


My Boss, the Bubble Sheet April 16, 2013

Filed under: education,humor,life,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 5:50 pm
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There was a period of time today when my classroom and its inhabitants were quiet and trying super hard to do their best on the first session of their state exams.  Multiple choice. No one had a meltdown (until later), and even the ones who I thought might not try—they really, truly did try.  

As I slowly paced around the room, taking care to speak only of procedural matters (“This bubble is not filled in.”) for fear of invalidating our school’s test scores and putting all of our careers in peril, I read the passages (which seemed endless to ME) and questions that my students were attempting to answer.

Make no mistake—like many teachers, I am blessed with a proclivity toward test-taking. I am just lucky; I have excelled at standardized tests my whole life.  Please believe me when I tell you that I am not a teacher who is skating by intellectually.  I haven’t tricked anyone into erroneously believing that I was intelligent enough to teach a curriculum placed before me.  I probably walk the tightrope of being an obnoxious intellectual more than I like to admit. Because, really, who cares that I know the Latin name for that flower?

Still, the following is true: I cannot tell you with any certainty that, had I sat down to tackle this test, given the same time period allotted these ten- and eleven-year-olds, I would have been able to a) complete it, or, b) attained a passing score.  Forgive me for the annoying use of lettering there.

This test was constructed with many plausible distractors for most questions. A typical guide for construction of distractors states something like this:

“Do not do write complex distractors that require high level logical thinking. You are testing the question posed in the stem, not the student’s logical reasoning ability.” Pedagogue Solutions

This is not suggesting that we avoid high level logical thinking; just that we are clear in tests about what we want students to do.  Critical thinkers tend to be at a disadvantage with such questions, simply because they can find arguments to support both possibilities.

I cannot think of one individual I know, of any age,  who would sit down with this test and feel confident that they had chosen the correct answers intended by the test-makers.  And I know some freaking brilliant people.

One might construe this as a teensy bit problematic.  A LOT of people are alarmingly willing to drink the school reform Kool-Aid these days. High standards! That sounds great!

It’s my opinion that adults of many occupations (especially parents, policymakers and school reformers) should have to take the tests before they sign off on the millions  that finance them. Just for kicks, you know.

All that aside, I also found it personally problematic that I had to shut down kids’ questions about what happened in Boston, because we had to begin in exactly 4.6 minutes, and we never made it back around to that discussion. As soon as the test was over, my class was required, by the laws of physics, to return to their usual loud, angry, paper-launching selves.  Otherwise, they would have all turned into pumpkins.

Five more testing sessions.  Go team!

Image source:,d.dmQ&psig=AFQjCNHwr_dYO-pyVvscMv8rw7LvOv5XPw&ust=1366235105042521


Awaiting Combat Pay February 7, 2013

Filed under: humor,school — peachyteachy @ 8:04 pm
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People, give me a reality check.

There is an unspoken rule that you don’t throw pencils at your teacher, right?

Well, whatever. Geneva Conventions are lifted in the no-man’s land where I try to teach.

What exactly IS the appropriate response to this situation?

Should the teacher:

A) Use “I” statements to express disappointment at the lack of respect displayed by the student.

B) Assign a higher order thinking question to the class, asking them to describe why someone might choose to whip a pencil across a classroom at one’s teacher, providing details to support their position. Be sure to provide the state rubric to guide their response.

C) Go to one’s desk and put on one’s coat.

D) Start a firestorm of chalk, pens, crayons and don’t stop until they provide a motorcade out of there.

Write-in votes are welcome.


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