Go Ahead, Call My Boss!

Dear Readers,

Bad teacher:parentThe title was too long to finish writing how I feel, so I’ll write it here. “Go ahead, call my boss. I have nothing to hide,” is what I thought as I gave this mom my number to call the head of the SpEd department. She’s one of those “shoot first and ask questions later” kind of people.

There’s such a big backstory on her and the situation I’m currently experiencing. My first meeting with her started off friendly enough. However, my thoughts about her changed once I saw how she attacked the 9th grade English teacher over her son’s grades which he earned. Little did I know that I would be the next one.

During our meeting, she was cordial enough. She then took me totally by surprise when, out of the blue, she began launching accusatory questions at me about a “C” grade. Even when I showed her his grades, she was still not satisfied. It was at this point that she stomped out of the room and apparently went straight to the Assistant Principal’s office. She told the AP that I attacked her, was unfriendly, and that she didn’t want to deal with me. I could tell by the AP’s voice and intonation that she believed the parent. I was insulted for a hot second until I realized that I didn’t care. I went to speak to the AP in charge of SpEd and let him know her M.O. He let me know that he had my back and that he would defuse the situation if it came down to it. I thanked him and went on my merry little way.

Did it end there? Of course it didn’t. That would have been too easy. The REAL problem began when the 311 report was run and the SpEd Director noticed that two students were assigned behavior intervention services. Wouldn’t you know that he was one of them? I sent home notices that she would not return. I called her and she would not answer. I even tried to schedule meetings with her that she would agree to and not show up. She began insisting that he receive the services even though she didn’t even know what they were. She began to try to bombard me with e-mails. That’s when I promptly told her that she could speak with my boss or one of the SpEd coaches if she would feel more at ease. I gave her both their numbers and wished her well. You know what, she never even gave them a call. In fact, she hasn’t even shown up for any parent conferences since then. It was not a surprise to me. I knew that she was one of the those people who try to bulldoze their way through to get their way when they know that simply asking will work. Those types of people puzzle me. I just don’t understand it. Has she never heard, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

I have not had to deal with her since then but his IEP is coming up in May. I’ll keep you updated on that. Bye for now!

The Little Engine That Could!

Dear Readers,

little-engine 2I am pleasantly surprised with my students! I’m seeing leaders emerge with strengths they, or I, in some cases, didn’t even know they had. What am I talking about? I’m talking about my students coming alive and developing their life skills.

One of the activities I introduced to them when we came back from break was jigsawing. In one of my last post I stated how I put the onus on my students for asking for extra time and getting their missed work from when they were absent. I know they are only in the 9th & 10th grade but within the next 3-4 years they will be young adults in charge of their own lives. So, they need to have certain skills. Two skills they really need and that are very important to have are self-advocacy & self-reliance. They are beginning to do well with self-advocacy skills, so now I’m training them in self-reliance. Many times during the last semester, the work would be right in front of them but they would not take to time to try to uncover it. I thought and thought about how to help the overcome their learned helplessness but it was tough. Let me tell you that learned helplessness runs deep. They were so used to believing they couldn’t do it that they stopped trying.

Well, by lecturing them, supporting them, and helping them realize that they can do it, they have begun to advocate for themselves and to rely on themselves. It’s one of the best feeling in the world to see that light bulb go on and have someone realize they can do it. I always think of The Little Engine That Could when this happens. I should read it to them. They’re so young they probably haven’t heard of it. I’ll see. Back to the lecture at hand. I’m happy to see them blossoming. I’ll keep you updated.

Techy Me! or Challenge Accepted!

Dear Readers,

I work at a Blended Learning School.barney-stinson-challenge-accepted It’s a format that combines technology with traditional learning. When I took the job I was so out of my league. However I issued myself a challenge to get into that league. CHALLENGE: Learn and incorporate as much technology into the classroom as possible within the next couple of months. At the time I was hired, I hadn’t used much technology in the classroom except my classroom blog and iFilm.

However, I knew at this school I had to step up my game. So, I did! I accepted the challenge. Not only that, I saw the challenge and upped the ante a bit.

Usually, I can’t see my progress as it’s happening. However, in an earlier post, I briefly wrote about my Quickening process (click here). I also wrote about some of the programs I was using (click here). If I can think of anything else, I’ll post it. For now, here are the programs I’ve learned.

  • Kahoot! online quiz program that automatically compiles correct & incorrect answers for me,
  • Edmodo to post my power points, make quizzes, and display instructions,
  • Haiku, used by our SpEd. department,
  • Pinnacle to take roll & track grades,
  • Class Dojo for behavior management,
  • my school website to upload digital agendas,
  • my other school website to download important documents & answer PD surveys,
  • Google docs,
  • Google sheets,
  • Google forms,
  • Google slides
  • Online stopwatch for tracking time,
  • Weebly website to post links and work from core classes.

Not sure, but I think that’s all. One last thing I’m very proud of is how I’m using Google sheets to make my exit slips for the month. I was using Google forms to send them daily, but discovered it was quickly filling up my Google drive and causing too much work for me. I knew I needed to find an easier and more efficient way to get the job done. I played around with Google sheets and figured out how to do it. Happy to say that I’m no longer creating daily exit slips; I’m now creating them monthly. If you’d like to know how, shoot me an email @ specialedandme@gmail.com.

 

 

My Threshold!

Dear Readers,

I discovered something about myself last night. It was always my belief that I could take a nap later in the day in order to last long into the night. Well, I discovered that I was wrong. Even though I took a long nap and woke up at 7:30 p.m., I still tapped out about 10:30. I thought I could write and complete other work, but realized that I’d reached my threshold. I was beginning to do Midnight thinking. That’s when I realized that I needed to throw in the towel.

-Signed, No Longer in Denial!

 

***WATCH THE VIDEO from 19:17-19:37- This is what my writing is like when I’ve reached my threshold.***

 

 

Nerdy Me!

Dear Readers,

I feel like such a nerd!

“Why?,” you ask.

Well, I’ve just recently learned Google docs, Edmodo, Kahoot!, and a host of other online & tech programs I was previously UNable to use. Well, I spent the better part of Saturday morning organizing my Google docs, making folders for them and being happy doing so.

One of my favorite things to do is have my students share their work with me via Google docs. On Friday I was actually editing my student’s work as he was working on it across the room. One thing I like about Google docs, forms, & sheets is how it’s real time. One other thing I’m really enthused about is Google forms. Over the Veteran’s Day four day weekend, I took that time to create my monthly self-assessments for the rest of the year with Google forms. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Since my decision to go paperless, I’ve been so gung-ho about all things tech, and I am loving it!

Dear Readers, what are you doing to incorporate technology into your classroom? Drop me a line and let me know!

Detox Time!

Dear Readers,

I’ve been so overly busy the past couple of weeks that I have not had time to detox. One of the main reasons is that my classroom is never empty. I have the class for 1st & 2nd period; the 11th/12th grade Resource Teacher has it 3rd & 4th, and the Spanish teacher has it 5th & 6th. Not to mention that the Spanish teacher tutors on Mondays & Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, we have PDs; on Thursdays, I have tutoring; Fridays are free, but who wants to stay on Friday, right? Couple all of this with the many demands of my church and you have a very burnt out me.

Because of all this, I’ve bee feeling like I could star in one of the  Snickers commercial because I wasn’t myself. I could not center myself, so I stole some time today. There’s a storage closet on the 2nd floor that no one’s using W-F. This will be my go-to spot when it’s not in use because I am so refreshed. I took lunch + my prep period = 2.5 hours. When I tell you that I emerged sooooo refreshed from the storage closet, I mean it. I was able to think clearly. Now I can think of solutions to problems I’ve been having. So, let me get to it. Bye for now!