peachyteachy

For realsies

Mice, Lice, and Everything Nice October 22, 2016

Filed under: humor,school,teaching,Uncategorized,urban schools — peachyteachy @ 9:37 pm
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Peachy, end of June:

School is still in session.

We’re hard core. We like our students pissed off and confused. The lunch menu is “Chef’s Choice.” Come on!

Peachy, mid/early/late October:

School is in session, again, and this year is clearly slated to consist of 472 days rather than the customary 180. Some things cannot be altered or resolved by upping one’s coconut oil consumption.

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the iconic image of the traditional teacher, hair pulled back and up in a severe bun, cloudy spectacles perched on face? It’s not rocket science.

The bun goes up right around mid-September, at the exact moment when teacher spots tiny and tenacious members of the animal kingdom creeping up her students hair.  It used to be that school nurses would advise parents that their kid would have to be cleared before returning to school, and the remainder of the class would be lined up for the “head check.” No more.  These days, I send a kid who is visibly crawling with critters, along with a note to the nurse: “Head check?”  Six minutes later, the kid comes back with the scrawled reply: “Yes,” and a letter to take home.  Most parents in my school do a less-than-thorough treatment, supporting record levels of lice at any time of the school year.

It’s even worse when one is ambushed at head level by several kids a day, sweetly bestowing hugs before a teacher can establish a safe distance from hairdos.  At this point, teacher scalps feel perpetual itch until the end of the school year.

Let us not overlook our furry friends, the mice of the urban school.  We are provided with sticky traps, which are gory gadgets that can trap a family of mice who are out for a stroll, at which point they usually tear themselves apart in the attempt to escape. Urgent calls to the custodian result in less-than-urgent responses.  In one classroom, a teacher confiscated a note being passed from one student to another, after the entire class had been whipped into a frenzy by the squeaks of trapped rodentia .  The note read, “I tuched the mouse.”

Oh—and the glasses? That teacher’s got pink-eye.

 

 

 

My Role in the Revolution May 5, 2016

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 8:04 pm
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Where’s Peachy and what’s she doing? She’s busy doing her best to single-handedly dismantle our educational system, that’s what.

Exhaustive data analysis reveals that, if I administer what we call a pre-test, run detailed genetic error analysis of the test, teach for a few weeks,  then have the cherubs take it again after this period of targeted, data-driven instruction, the scores generally support the following:

A. My instruction sucks all knowledge out of the brains of children.

B. My instruction  makes children believe that they are track stars and champions of English as a Second Language (their first language: profanity).

I live to serve.  You’re welcome.

 

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.

 

Check It Out August 1, 2014

NEW BLOG ALERT

You can help to build a blog that will explore some of the issues surrounding the standardized test score-based school reform movement.  It will also look into how we can support kids to navigate the educational waters these days.

http://biggerthananumber.wordpress.com/

 

Math Mastery November 24, 2013

Filed under: education,humor,teaching — peachyteachy @ 8:17 pm
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Perhaps you have heard some of the uproar over our latest curriculum dictator, known as Fidel Common Core. Things need to be more “rigorous.” Here’s a second grade example. I was going to include a photo of this student response, but you are going to have to take my word on this one. The photo looks like it was written on one-ply bathroom tissue (incidentally, I cannot recall the last time I referred to toilet paper as “bathroom tissue”).

Assessment question:

Ms. O’Hara has 21 students in her second grade classroom .  All of them have 10 toes and 10 fingers.

a) Write the total number of toes of the students using hundreds, tens and ones.  Explain using words, pictures or numbers.

My kid’s response: 

“The students have 10 toes and fingers because they are a person I now (know) why they have 10 toes and fingers cause they eat food a lot these students are they eat good food. ” In a box in the same space, she wrote 1020.

WTF?  I assure you that I have taught no connection between number of toes and the correlation between that and food.

b) One day, three students are absent.  How many students are in Ms. O’Hara’s class that day? Skip-count to show the number of their toes. Explain using words, pictures or numbers.

Her answer:

“The students all have ten toes and the students have bones on they toes.”

Off to med school.

 

Fired Up for State Testing! April 10, 2013

Each and every day for the four weeks leading up to THE TEST, I hand out practice test books.

Each and every time I hand out the booklets, at least three students say, “Is this a test?” Then I push the button on the continuous loop that says the following, “No, sweetheart.  This booklet, like all of the twenty three booklets that I have handed to you, is just for practice.  So that we can look at it together, and practice our skills so that we can do our very best on the actual test.”

Attempting to make this task “engaging”—letting kids work in partners or small groups, or placing  small candies on their tongues for every four-minute period during which they remain on-task—slightly less than successful, as my students quickly break down into pencil larceny vigilantes, ready to take justice into their own hands, until they realize that their pencils are  in their pockets or under their papers.  Then they get even more pissed off in the face of the embarassment, and commence cussing at anyone who looks at them.  “What are YOU looking at? ShutupI’llpunchyouintheface!” Yes. It is one word.

After we complete the exactly nine hours of testing in the next two weeks, I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting a “Burn the Test Prep Booklets” event on the playground.  I have found no prohibitive language in my contract, nor in the Code of Conduct of the district (which is, by the way, a rare document and very tough to find. Presumably, there was either an earlier bonfire event, or students and families used them as a stopgap method during the toilet paper shortage back in November 2012.  Times, they be tough).

I think it’s a go! We can roast marshmallows and hot dogs and, with any luck, attract some emergency vehicles that will act as a de facto field trip, since those frivolities are frowned upon and require a professional grant writer in order to procure their funding.

My posted learning objective for Bonfire Day will read as follows:

*We will explore the combustive properties of gently used test-prep booklets.

*We will not write a five-paragraph essay including an introduction, three paragraphs of textual evidence to support our answers, and a conclusion.  

*We will write goodbye notes to our soon-to-be-dismissed teacher.

Image: blog.karendillard.com

 

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.

 

I am breaking up with Staples August 26, 2012

Filed under: education,humor,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 7:58 pm
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And by that, I do not intend to imply that I have stapled anyone’s anything to anything.

Staples. Up until this year, a teacher’s friend.  Especially if you teach poor kids.  You know how, in the ‘burbs, kids score about 70% higher on high stakes tests?  If you didn’t know, trust me.  The return on school supply lists is approximately the equivalent of the percentage of passing test scores.  That’s not a high return.  We understand that people are choosing, sometimes, between food and pencils.  Just write me a note and it’s cool.

The upshot of this reality is that I buy the notebooks, folders, pencils, and everything else that I NEED them to have, just to have a prayer of teaching (imagine saying daily, “Take out your Math notebook,” and having a quarter of the students say, “I don’t have one.” I can’t afford to have even less instructional time, really!).

Staples has crazy deals in the summer. “Extreme Deals,” they call them. You have to buy $5 worth of stuff to get the really good ones, but up until this year,  Staples allowed teachers to get up to 25 of the extreme deal items.

Fast forward to some horrible day this spring when Staples sent me an email about their exciting new program for teachers!!! Instead of having the extended limits on the Extreme Deals (notice how I capitalize them as if they were deities), we could purchase the remaining amount past the regular limit (usually 3-5) at full price, and we would have all of that amount credited to our Staples Rewards! Oh. My. Glob. You mean that I get to spend way more at Staples than I can ever afford or need?

Staples! The last time I checked, you didn’t sell wine!

The number of cars in our family=674 minus 673.

The number of incomes in our family=3459 divided by 3459.

I went to Teacher Appreciation Day at Staples and got my cute little tote and my FREE one subject notebook.  Teacher Depreciation Day came to mind. The manager was apologetic about having to “deliver the message” about the new policy.  I wasn’t abusive. I didn’t go into a Post-It flailing fit.  I handed over my $5.30 plus tax to purchase my three composition books and a new stapler.  Which I don’t need.

Customer support is 1-800-STAPLES

 

Report Card Comments Redux June 7, 2012

Filed under: education,humor,school — peachyteachy @ 8:24 pm
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Has it really been an entire marking period since I started this blog? One of my earlier posts centered around actual report card comments as compared to more candid comments that will never be included in the real thing.  See   http://wp.me/p2bGLu-2j

Have my charges made incredible progress?  I think that you will be  surprised horrified. But you be the judge.

How is our beloved Eustachia doing, you wonder?

Actual comment: 

Eustachia has shown potential for growth when she gives her best effort.  However, in order to be successful next year, she will need to control behaviors that seek peer attention. Good luck in sixth grade!

Unwritten comment:

Eustachia has repeatedly extended cordial invitations to other students to “suck my d—.” Our school counselor has reminded her that, as she does not possess a d—, she may not wish to invite others to it. I may have thrown her gum out of the window at one point. Good luck in sixth grade!

What about Skippy?

Actual comment:

Skippy has improved his reading fluency by twenty-three words per minute.  He should read daily in order to prepare for the next grade level. Good luck in sixth grade!

Unwritten comment:

Skippy has improved his reading from a first grade to a second grade level, and would need to read R. L. Stine‘s complete works this summer in order to approach readiness for his new grade level.  This would require reading more than three sentences at a sitting.  He also might enjoy the ever-popular Capitals–Not Where the Dudes Make Laws!   Additionally, he may wish to avoid addressing boys twice his weight thusly: “Hey, don’t drop the soap!” Good luck in sixth grade, and in whatever institutional setting you may explore in the future!

Actual comment:

Ricardo will need to focus on his organizational skills next year, and will need to be more efficient in starting and completing assignments.  He is an active young man and may benefit from athletic activities outside of school. Good luck in sixth grade!

Unwritten comment:

Ricardo is a hot mess, has lost every paper I have ever given him, and his name has been submitted for an episode of “Hoarders-Buried Alive.”  However, we have all enjoyed the months-long development of his hallway interpretive dance rendering of the classic Cervantes work, “Don Quixote.”  The little girl has recovered nicely from the “windmill arm spin” injury unintentionally inflicted by Ricardo. Good luck in sixth grade!

Excuse me while I get back to writing report cards. . .

 

Xena and Jethro: the Cologne Wars February 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 11:22 pm
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You will be so proud of me.  Since we just learned that our State Assessments are going to be even longer and more difficult, I decided to add a new component to my otherwise test prep-oriented teaching world.  Of course, I will transform formerly dull, failing scores into shiny, passing ones.  But, just in case that doesn’t pan out, Plan B awaits.

So today, I stepped it up at work–I started career grooming a couple of students in earnest.  Their future, world-competitive occupation?  Perfume snipers!  Inspired, I know.  I can’t take full credit for this, truth be told.  I can, however, take credit for the vision needed to see their hijinx as a veritable job aptitude survey!

Behold the magic–while at specials, the girl in question (let’s call her Xena), produced a sprayable fragrance from I-don’t-want-to-know-where and took aim at the boy in question (we’ll call him Jethro), effectively emasculating him and rendering him unable to carry out any guyish pursuit he may have planned for the day.  But that Jethro! What a self-starter! He responded with retaliatory spray from his own cleverly concealed cologne cannon, even whilst smelling like a girl!  After which he categorically denied any involvement–until it was discovered that he carries his cologne in his shoe, which is a terrific sniper thing to do, as far as I am concerned.  What are the odds of having two future perfume snipers in one class? Talk about gifted and talented.  Xena and Jethro may not be able to determine the theme of a realistic fiction passage, or read the word “unfathomable,” but they can hide and spray fragrance, dammit! And I, for one, applaud them. Who says they will wind up flipping burgers?  I see a much sweeter future for them, with light floral undertones.

 

 
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