Note to a Junior High Student

This is everything I want my students to know.

This is why I leave comments and not a grade.

And when I grade the final draft, I don’t leave comments (the rubric is all we need at that point).

(Source: englishmajorinrepair)


Racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, according to comprehensive data released Friday by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

In the first analysis in nearly 15 years of information from all of the country’s 97,000 public schools, the Education Department found a pattern of inequality on a number of fronts, with race as the dividing factor.

Black students are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students. A quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students do not offer any Algebra II courses, while a third of those schools do not have any chemistry classes. Black students are more than four times as likely as white students — and Latino students are twice as likely — to attend schools where one out of every five teachers does not meet all state teaching requirements.

“Here we are, 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the data altogether still show a picture of gross inequity in educational opportunity,” said Daniel J. Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California at Los Angeles’s Civil Rights Project.


The New York Times"School Data Finds Pattern of Inequality Along Racial Lines."

In twenty fucking fourteen.

(via inothernews)

Not surprising, but still disappointing.

EDD: How have you changed since the beginning of your teaching career?


Veteran teachers, imagine your first year of teaching and consider how you (or your teaching) have changed since then. First-year teachers, how have you seen growth since your first day of school?

I am more patient with myself and my students. I have realistic expectations for myself and my students, and if we don’t meet them, I don’t stress.

I am able to be present at home and I’m able to manage stress.

I am generally more confident in my abilities, which allows me to be open to changing, growing, and adapting.

I’m not a veteran teacher by most peoples’ standards, but at my school I’m trusted to be a leader and to take risks that are in the best interests of my students, even though I’m only in my third year of teaching.

This year I feel comfortable. Not complacent, but comfortable.

One Good Day

Today, we had a staff meeting this morning and I didn’t have to be in charge at all. It wasn’t our department, or my PLC, or our accreditation process, and I got to sit and be a normal staff member. It was amazing.

Today, I wasn’t prepared for class, so when my kids came in in the morning, I said, “I’m a bit unprepared. I know you aren’t normally allowed to work on homework during SSR, but today I’m going to let you since I’m still working on mine. Enjoy.” And they actually did it. And I think they respected my honesty.

Today, we did Socratic Seminars for the first time, and I warned them that the first one is always awkward and that they should just embrace the awkward. And during one of those moments one of my students said, “Just embrace the awkward, guys. It’s OK.” And it made me smile for so many reasons.

Today, I loved being a teacher. And I feel that after more than a week of hellish days, and before our big committee visit next week, this good day should be memorialized.

I have to attend an all-day meeting this week to work on course outlines with the other high school and middle schools in our district. I don’t want to because of difficult personalities and philosophical disagreements. At first I was like, “well, at least they’re feeding us.” And then I realized that means we can’t leave. I was lamenting to my principal today that I would probably need an afternoon coffee to get through the day.

In this situation, a good principal would say, “You’ll be fine. Just text me and I’ll bring you afternoon coffee.”

A great one would say, “Remember, stay away from those philosophical situations. Let the assistant superintendent deal with them. It’s not your battle to fight.”

And mine said both.

My pen package was amazing, and came all the way from Australia! Thank you, hisnamewasbeanni!

Also, thanks to heykkkkatie for organizing!

My pen package was amazing, and came all the way from Australia! Thank you, hisnamewasbeanni!

Also, thanks to heykkkkatie for organizing!

Has anyone had experience with Teachers Pay Teachers?

I was sharing resources recently and someone said I should put some of my stuff up on TPT because people would buy it. Flattered, sure. But I could actually use the money.

I just looked at some of the alleged 9th grade materials though, and they look so childish. And so many things are marked as appropriate for grades 3-12, and that just doesn’t make any sense to me. I know it’s because those people want their materials to be viewed as much as possible, but it’s hard to find materials that my 9th graders wouldn’t be insulted receiving.

My materials don’t have fun fonts and pictures on them. There’s no comic sans or marker or handwriting fonts, and no fucking clipart. There are no fun shapes, unless it’s an arrow on a graphic organizer.

I know my materials are solid. Not perfect or amazing, but useful. Will they sell? Is it worth the time?

Bad Days Evolve

Third year bad days are different from first year bad days. First year bad days are more extreme, more obvious. The kind that scrape the skin and sting and draw a bit of blood. Today was one frustration after another, and was more like a bruise that got bumped into over and over. These are dull pains. Deeper pains.

- a student who, no matter how much scaffolding and prompting, could not write any of his own ideas and thoughts on his paper. After a 20 minute discussion and several opportunities to write, turned in a blank sheet of paper. I say could not because he has a processing disorder (and an IEP), and my co-teacher was out today. I don’t know what she does to get this kid to attire usually, but it’s magic. I can’t tell if it’s learned helplessness with him, or if I’m not helping him. Either way, I’m sad about the lack of thinking being displayed.

- a student who has such a bad attitude about my class that she infects those around her. This doesn’t normally happen in my classes because when I see it start, I talk to them. It doesn’t always end well, but it’s usually better. But not with her. Every effort ends up being a slap in the face.

- watching a group of 11th grade boys appear to be joking around with one of my autistic students during a rally, and knowing they’re probably making fun of him, and knowing how easily-influenced my student is. And when I moved him, the students were later, loudly, saying I’m the bully in this scenario. It takes a lot for me to dislike a child, and I dislike these privileged children greatly.

- the normal group in my room during lunch horsing around and bumping into desks and generally driving me nuts. I was hungry and frustrated and I snapped at them.

I thought the doozy would be staying late at the school for a yearbook deadline, but that was actually fine. We’re behind, but my editors are so wonderful and funny, that many laughs were had. Of course I would rather have been home sleeping, but I really love my yearbook kids. They were the ice on my bruises today, and I didn’t have that my first year either.


So, I had this great idea for my students to do a research project about some form of intolerance that has occurred in history and/or is occurring now. This is a broad topic that allows them to choose from anything from the Holocaust to current rape culture. I gave them several suggestions, but also left the topic open for them to choose their own angle.

Since I teach 9th graders, and for many this is their first taste of research, I wanted to provide some reliable sources that they could use in their paper, in addition to a source or two they find on their own.

I’m looking for a scholarly article that outlines the basics of intolerance or oppression, possibly from a psychological or sociological point of view. 

And I’m having a hard time finding one. And now I’m wondering if I have assigned a research project that I wasn’t prepared to actually implement, and I’m kind of hating myself a little bit.

So, have you tried to tackle these topics in class? Do you have any social justice or other resources that might have what I’m looking for? Or do you have other ideas of where I can go with this? Or you do just have a ridiculous gif that will make me smile?

Benchmark fail

I’m sitting at the hubs’s Starbucks while he works, grading a benchmark assessment the kiddos took last week. And they’re not looking good. So I’m wondering:

- Why are they doing worse on the benchmark than they did on the benchmark practice?

- Why did I not do a last-glance at the benchmark graphic organizer before I sent it to get copied? I probably would have noticed the boxes were too small for thorough responses, and that might be why my students aren’t explaining themselves thoroughly.

- I hope my colleagues don’t hate me for the small boxes (we’re all giving the same one) and for the typo I should have caught that I forgot to email them about.

- Why is the warmest corner of this store also the darkest?

- Why did I ride with the hubs and basically force myself to stay here for four hours with these miserable papers?

- Time for more chai?

- Should I give them time in class to revise so they can increase their grades? Or should I just give them a different version of the same thing to try again (after feedback from this one)?

- Of all the things I expected to blow up in my face recently, this wasn’t it. Touché, Life.