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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"You're the Mad Hatter of Teaching." KK

I had a good day today with the usual sort of problems and opportunities. I had a student tell me the above statement.  I take it as a compliment. She said that I did not ever give her a real answer to a question, just another question or idea for consideration.  It's probably the hardest thing for a teacher to do, move the students to think for themselves.

Anyway, here is what today's learning was all about:

AP Lit: Finished King Lear.  One student said, "Everybody in this play dies!" Yep, that Shakespeare for you.  Bill kills.

AP Lang: Rhetoric. We read a speech by a US Congresswoman complaining about fellow House members texting, tweeting, and tapping on their phones and I-Pads.  I guess we teachers aren't the only ones facing the electronic menace.  We used a graphic organizer called SOAPS to analyze the speech.  English teachers will know what this is about. I may explain it some time to the laity.

English III: Dramatic Monologue Poetry, specifically "Lucinda Matlock" from Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology.  This is a part of a series of poems of people who lived and died in the town of Spoon River.  They tell us from the grave what their life was like, and what we need to learn from them. Lucinda was one of the happier ones. She lived into her 90s, was married, had kids, took long walks out in nature, and then passed on when it was her time to go. The kids could learn a thing or two from her.

As far as this day went, not bad.

I had many absences in 2nd hour, 7 out of 23 on the role. That's a big problem with teaching my students because it seems as though I am always trying to get them caught up with the rest of the class. It makes it hard to do assessments over content, so I mainly test over skills, which really does prepare them for the state tests and test like the ACT and SAT. Language Arts education these days seems to be long on skills but short on content. The class was well behaved. Too bad I have to have so many gone to make it easier to teach.

In 3rd hour, the following student behaviors were noted:
T had his earphone on though he was told not to do so.
AT had his phone out most of the hour.
J was texting under her desk trying to hide it from me. (Seriously guys, no one looks down at his/her lap and smiles.)
I called C's home about his language in class yesterday. He complained a great deal.  We made a deal that if his behavior was good all the rest of this week, I'd call his mom and give a good report.
Y had her head down.  She does this nearly daily. I took her out in the hall (it's a co-taught class) and told her that she could not continue to do so. I would call her mom if she did again. She did not, today. I won't call mom if she does not do it again.
F had a phone that made an annoying sound when he got a text. I told him to turn it off. He claimed that he could not.  I took him in the hall and opened a locker I have for purposes like this. When he saw that I was going to lock his phone in my locker, he suddenly remembered that he could  turn it off. 

4th hour
This is AP Lang. The students were rather chatty. It made it hard to get through the interference and teach the lesson.  One student told me, "Mr. Green, you're a comedian." Not sure what she meant.

Lunch with my wife
I got some good news that several of my students did well enough on the PSAT test that they will be exempt from the state tests at the end of the year. One of the high school counselors told me, "Mr. Green, you're a stud muffin."  I do believe that she meant that in the intellectual sense. 

Department meeting.  
During 5th hour, we have a department meeting of the high school English teachers.  We are basically planning on how we will teach the skills and objectives that our students will face on the state tests. Everything in this education era goes back to the state tests one way or another.

6th hour
Smallest class. Biggest or at least most constant problems. A couple of girls think they are very funny and laugh at about everything the other says.  This time, at least, they got the giggles over a line from "Lucinda Matlock" where the speaker says that she goes out into the wood to gather "medicinal weed."  Another girl went up to the board to check some news on the bulletin board. She noticed one of the boys observing her backside and said, "Better stop lookin' at these cheeks cuz you can't have them." Nice to know that she has some standards

After school
I take part in an after school program where I have some kids come in and play chess. Only had two take part today. Hope I can get more.

That's about all for today.

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