Monday, March 2, 2009

Silver Linings

Some people are very organized. I am not. I write that in my PDAS every year that one of my goals as a teacher is to be more organized. I will admit this year I am a little better because I have actually put papers, documents and such in binders or folders. I did even better at the beginning of the year when I had a student assistant. He left me after three weeks because there was an opening in the advanced art class so he switched into that and I went back to organizing myself. So where am I going with this train of thought all over the place I think because it has been a rough week both on the work and home-front.

I am not one of those people that is so organized that I can compartmentalize my life; thus I only keep one blog and work and life both show up in the same blog. I know several people that keep two or three blogs I just can not do that. So for those of you that only like to read about educational items I am sorry that not everything I write is education based therefore you will be surprised at times by what you read. I hope you will continue to read and comment.

As I said in the opening paragraph this past week has been very rough not only at work but on the home-front as well. Messy part number one is too complicated to go into but it involves the lack of health insurance for a young adult in the family. From where I sit “socialized medicine” does not seem like such a bad thing if it means coverage for those who need it.

Messy part number two as if part one were not enough to deal with. Work, specifically my concern for my students’ ability to write well for the AP test and the amount of class time I am losing because of that wonderful required state assessment we must give. By this time the students’ that are taking the AP exam in May should consistently be writing at least 6s. That is not the case at all many of my students are still getting 1s and 2s. For those of you in the non-education world that did not take AP classes in high school, I didn’t my school didn’t even offer them, a 1 is equal to a 57 a 2 is equal to a 62 you get the idea. So if they are still writing 1 and 2 level papers their chances of passing this test is not good. So once again I find myself wondering what more can I do to help them get the concepts that they are missing and I look for the silver lining. The first one is rather silly but it helps: the have stopped using things and stuff in their essays. It would go something like this: “the French they had things wrong in their country so they did stuff to cause a revolution.” This was enough to make me want to pull my hair out. The other silver lining AP baby number 890, I give them made up names and numbers, that usually only wrote one or two paragraphs wrote a full essay and it was a 9 yes I said a 9 the highest score you can get. I am losing 2 days with them this week to the standardized test requirements so that is two less days of content and writing. Can the State make this any more difficult? Please do not tell them that I asked that or they just might.

Messy number three is not really messy but it is something that I hate doing. FAFSA! Ugh the paper work is a pain. Our youngest child is a senior in high school and we need to get FAFSA done and finding the time with everything else that is going on makes it very stressful. The silver lining is that he has already received one acceptance letter. We are waiting to hear from two other schools.

Messy number four is something that Bone wrote about in his blog a few posts ago. Bone’s post was excellent and once I can figure out how to link it I will. He wrote about parents growing older. Both of my parents will be 70 this year. That wouldn’t be so bad in and of itself the problem is that they live in Yankee land which for those of you in the South does not mean everywhere North. Yankees live along the East coast. Michigan for example is not Yankee land it is the Midwest. Yankees do not like being lumped with just anyone that is north of the Mason-Dixon Line we are a unique breed and not everyone can be a Yankee just like not everyone that lives in Texas is a Texan. TC I thought I would help you out with that one. I of course am a transplant because I now live in Texas so I only get to see my parents about once a year. My Dad has been under the weather for a while and I am considering making the trip home to see them during my spring break. My silver lining is I will get to see him for myself the down side to that is I am sure he will tell me I did not need to come and that I should not have wasted my money. I of course do not think it would be a waste of money but I know my Father it is what he will say. The silver lining is I know that deep inside he will be happy I came home. He wishes I would not live so far away even though he understands why I do.

So my semi-organized overlapping life is not real smooth right now but I just keep hanging on and moving forward as I hold onto those silver linings.


TC said...

#1: To link. In blogger, highlight what you want to link. Then, on that taskbar where it says font, then has buttons to the right of it... go to the 5th one to the right. It's like a green globe, with a figure-eight on it. Click that. It will open a new window-like thing (technical terms are beyond me) and enter the hyper-link there. Click enter and you're good to go.


Sorry to hear you've had a rough week. I appreciate the Yankee distinction :-D I'll be giving out your blog url to my Georgia friend. (Not that it will do any good: the boy is determined.)

Regarding your AP students... I think you're putting a little too much pressure on yourself. AP classes when I graduated were a luxury. They still should be to an extent. These kids are smart. They are in there for a reason. They should be WORKING for it. They need to work for it. I understand your point, wanting to be the best teacher you can be, but you also need to make sure you expect the most out of them.

PennyCandy said...

TC Thanks for the support. I know I am hard on myself but I guess I want to be sure I did the best I could to get them ready for the test. Most of my kids start out behind the 8 ball so I need to get them in front of it so they have a shot.

HeidiTri's said...

I can feel the stress in your writing. Hang in there.
Consider yourself hugged. By me, and every one else in this home.

PennyCandy said...

Yeah I saw the stress in my writing as a reread it. I have typos that I did not catch the first two times I read it. If I get the time I'll fix them. If not oh well.

TC said...

Don't they have to meet certain qualifications to take the AP courses?

PennyCandy said...

TC they really don't college board believes that if a student wants to be in an AP or PreAP class they should be allowed to be. They only "need" desire. I understand the thought process but if a student does not have certain skilss they will not be successful in my class. But I teach the children I have and they either get the hang of it and stay in the program or they get out of the program after my class. I am hard on myself but I am also very hard on them as well.
You would shocked at what my students do not know.
No Child Left Behind is leaving everyone behind because rigor is not important a standarized test is.
Sorry for my soapbox speech.

Bone said...

It's long past time for something to be done about the health care crisis. I'm paying for insurance that I can't really even afford to use, the deductible is so high.

And I think it's your blog so you can blog about anything you like :) It usually helps me a little just to write things out when I'm stressed.

TC said...

Wow, things are sure different from when I was in high school! I had to earn entrance into Honors Courses.

I agree: NCLB has only hurt kids, not helped them.

Student Handouts, Inc. said... biggest memory of AP classes was the feeling of having been cheated when I got into college. No college history course was as hard as AP US History. I came to college fully prepared to have my brain taxed, and nothing happened. I took a midterm and a final and wrote a few short essays in between.

As much as part of me wanted to strangle my old AP high school teachers, I was grateful for the experience. College was a breeze (mostly) after AP courses. My classmates who hadn't done AP in high school found everything more challenging.

I guess I'm rambling here