Friday, February 20, 2009

Letter Game

Okay, here's a fun game you should play...If you want to play, leave a comment on this post letting me know, and I'll assign you a letter. You post ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on. My cousin Felicia assigned me the letter S. So here it goes. S's are really hard.

1. Stan - this is my Dad. He is strong, silly with his grandchildren and once wore a banana peel on his head when we went to Wards. He loves, cares for and protects his family. He is a wonderful Dad, Husband and Grandfather.

2. Silence - something I totally enjoy when I have the house to myself. I don't even turn on music.

3. Scrapbooking - my new hobby now that quilting and cross stitching have become very difficult for me.

4. Students - my favorite group of people. They come in all sizes, shapes, colors, intelligence levels and they are just enjoyable to be around.

5. Siblings - I have two. A brother and a sister. They are both younger than me and they mean the world to me. My sister is one of my very best friends. I do not to get see either of them as much as I would like to.

6. Spiral Diner - the Vegan Resturant in Fort Worth. This is a fun little place with a personality all of its own. I like it so much because in the middle of "Cowtown" and "Where the West Begins" along with the "Chisolm Trail" stop we can have a Vegan Resturant.

7. Savannah, GA - We went here for the first time in the summer of 05 and I fell in love with this city. We were only able to spend a day there. I would love to go back for at least a week and I would not mind living there if the opportunity came about.

8. Sonic Drive-In - Even though I do not eat meat anymore I still love Sonic. I love their drinks and there soft-serve ice cream. I love that I can get iced tea all year long not just in the summer.

9. Singing - even though I can not carry a tune in a bucket I still sing in the car and I sing in church. I'm pretty sure God doesn't care that I can't carry a tune in a bucket. I also love to listen to my youngest son sing. He has a beautiful rich deep voice.

10. Shayna - my wonderful niece that is more like a sister than a cousin to my two sons. She is beautiful, talented, confident, smart, sweet and funny. I love her openess and how she embraces life. She is a blessing and I am so lucky that she is a part of my life. I wish I could see her more often than I do.

That is my list it was harder than I thought it would be.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Second Semester

I like the start of the 2nd semester almost as much as the beginning of the school year. Part of the reason I like it so much is my students have a new beginning with the arrival of the new semester. If they did not do well in the first semester they have the chance to learn from their mistakes and fix it.

This new semester has already seen so many steps forward for my students and some recognition for me; both of which have given my spirits a boost even as I battle the crud.

With the arrival of the new semester I give my students the “talk”. I tell them what happened in the first semester is water under the bridge and that if they work hard this semester they will only need to make up a half credit not a whole credit. This is also where I tell them that if they don’t get it done here it is summer school or a repeat of a year with me and that they would not want to suffer me twice. This usually gets a laugh or a groan from most of my students.

I had many students battle with me in the first semester but I have one in particular that I will tell you about. This one student battled with me all through first semester. He did not turn in most of his work, was insistent that he was not smart enough or that it was too much and too hard as well. None of this was true but it is what he perceived to be true. He also believed that if he failed I would have to let him out of the class. Boy was he wrong because not only does he need my permission. He also needed the academic coordinator’s permission, the principal’s permission and his parent’s permission. This is where he underestimated my powers of persuasion. I contacted his parent’s at the end of the first semester to give them a fair warning of what was to come. I had to use the stay-in-school coordinator as my interpreter I am fluent in ASL not Spanish. Once they realized that this class will help him go to college and be successful along with the fact that he could earn up to six credit hours while in high school that was all they needed to hear. He would not be allowed out of my class and he would complete my work. I can tell you he was not happy with me at all. The first day back in class he just glared at me but then he turned in an assignment and got an 81, he just wrote a great essay and it scored a 6 on the AP World History scale. I knew he could do it and now he knows he can do it. I have seen an attitude change in this young man and the fact that his girl friend “doesn’t want to date a dummy” her words not mine sure does help. It also helped that I gave him gift advice and his girlfriend loved what he gave her. The girls in the class gave him advice that was way too expensive. It pays to have teenage sons I use what I have learned from them to help my students.

Here is another change I am seeing this semester: after school tutoring. I am after school Monday – Thursday until 5in the evening and since the second semester started I have at least seven students in my room every afternoon for help or to work on assignments. I really like this part of my day actually I love this part of my day because I get to spend more one-on-one time with my students. I also get to know them on a personal level so that I better understand them and what drives them.

By the second semester I really do know my students well and I become very protective of them. I work with their other teachers, administer, and their parents. They are my AP babies. I am the first AP class they have. Everything to this point has been Pre-AP or regular classes. They have actually asked me to talk to our principal about having AP shirts made that say AP World History Ms. Penny Candy’s AP Babies. I am not sure that it will be approved but I think it is great that they want to be known as that.
The recognition for me this year came as a surprise to me and I am honored and touched that I was named Teacher of the Year at my school. This also means that I am a candidate for Teacher of the Year for the whole district.