Sunday, March 22, 2009

2 weeks gone...

Sorry folks. We had spring break wicked early and then it was back to the grindstone in serious fashion to get the kids ready for AIMS. This, for the uninitiated, is the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards test. In other words, for parents, students and teachers, it is known as Hell Week.

Teachers diligently, lovingly, forcefully or by some other measure, try to prepare their students for this test. What is sad is this; far more hangs in the balance for the schools and the teachers than for the students when it comes to this test. Unless that student is in high school and has any hopes of graduating; if that is the case, the poor kid really DOES need to pass AIMS. Without those passing marks, sorry dude - no diploma for you!

One of the problems we, as teachers, encounter, however, is the thoroughness with which we prepare our young, impressionable students. We do a bang up job of teaching them that everything they need, their complete and total Raison D'├Ętre, is to take AIMS and do well on AIMS. We do this so well, in fact, that as soon as the test is over, our classes turn to us, bewilderment and puzzlement on their faces, as if to say, "But we took the test. Certainly you have nothing left for us to DO this year??"

Oh, my deepest apologies, my dear, youthful mind... we still have 7 weeks of school left. We have scads and scads to teach you.

If only we'd not done quite so well making you believe the be-all and end-all for in your career in education *until you go off and find something that actually PAYS you well* is this stupid test.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What is this world coming to?

And, for once, I mean that in a good way!

Last night I had dinner with my friend Jill. We arranged it on Facebook. We enjoyed a fun night at Pei Wei for yummy Chinese food, a cold beer and tons of catching up chatter.

What made this night unusual and noteworthy is that Jill and I have not seen each other in 26 years. Without question, that is a lifetime!!! She and I were great friends in grade school; I have pictures of her at birthday parties and fond memories of antics from those tween years!

But, like many friendships from your 'formative youth', Jill and I drifted apart when we attended different high schools and more or less, no - completely - lost touch.

Until Facebook. A few clicks, and VOILA! All those people you shared your life with and promised to be Best Friends Forever are still there! As close as your keyboard with technology and social networking!

Yet another reason to, if you have not already, go sign up right away!! I have heard many folks say "well, we lost touch for a reason; perhaps I don't want to get back in touch with soandso...". Fair argument, but how do you know until it happens?

Last night, I think both Jill and I discovered, or realized, were friends back then for a reason! We laughed and giggled just like when we were kids. We spent an equal amount of time playing "do you remember...." as well as getting to know each other again, this time as adults.

Hopefully her job will bring her back to Arizona again soon. It was a delightful evening, and I look forward to having more time to visit the next time she comes out.

We both wondered, out loud last night, if our next reunions.. another mile stone one - 25 (Eeegads!!) will be different than the 20th because most of us have now joined some sort of networking site such as LinkedIn or MySpace or, my personal favorite, Facebook. Will attendance be better? Will there be less of the "tell me what you have been up to for the last howevermany years.."? I suppose so.. I think it will make it a lot more fun!

Remember the saying from when you were a kid?? Make new friends, but keep the old.. one is silver and the other is gold?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

"Not My Child!!!"

Why do these three words create in me such a full and complete sense of rage?

Let me explain...

I preface this by saying that, on some level, I hope this is a phenomenon that is localized rather than pervasive, and yet see the comfort that would come from knowing that we are not the only school, district, city or state to encounter "this" parent.

When my sons' school calls, the first words out of my mouth generally are "What did he do now?" I adore my boys more than words will ever express and I am so unbelievably proud of them that at times I fear I might burst, but I am also realistic and I know they do things.. things they wish I didn't know they did.. things I'm sure they pray their grandmother never learns of... They are young, they are boys, and they are sometimes foolish. They can, and will, do stupid things from time to time.

I expect that the school will alert me to these goings on, should they occur, and the the school and I will work out how to deal with any consequences for their foolish behavior. I get this; its a partnership. They cannot do their job as teachers if I will not do my job as a parent. And while protecting my children with my very last breath is the first, second and last thing on that "job description", so is giving them a good whack upside the head or on the bottom should they need it. (figurative or otherwise)

So who has been telling parents, perhaps a few years separated from my age, that it is never Ok to see/say/believe that your kid is/can be/was a jerk?

I've seen it more times than I can count. Parents call because Johnny got into trouble at school. They don't call to say, "Opps, sorry - he will know better next time" or "Thanks for letting me know.." or "Crap.. Again??" Nope - they call to say "You have it wrong, because Johnny is an angel and would never ever do what he is being accused of doing and you just don't see his brilliance or his heart and you certainly will not tell me how to raise my kid and your teacher who called him out on the carpet will certainly apologize to him or I will go to the district and make sure that teacher is reprimanded."

And - what is more disheartening than the fact that we have parents (lots of them - this is not isolated) who do this, but we have a school/administration/district that allows them to get away with it.

Want to stop the bullying problem in schools? One first step is to call the bully out for what he is, and to respond when we hear "Well that can't be MY child doing that" with "Oh dear mother, it not only can be your child.. it IS your child."