Tag Archive: Tomfoolery


‘Tween Knight

This episode was good……

 

Not as good as the one that had aired a day before though. That previous episode had the youngest competitior in Tween Jeopardy and she didn’t fail to deliver. At 10 years of age, she fumbled through the entire Jeopardy round- she couldn’t get her answer button pressed and eventually by the end of the round, she had achieved in the red ink.

But then the Double jeopardy round was just where she became the Belle of the Ball; answers she gave were correct. The best she was that she gave all the answers.

And then I read about this brat, who complains about his misspelling of the “Emancipation Proclamation.”   Sour apples.   The unseen judges on Jeopardy generally are fair about their rulings, and so with this child and his parents protest his answer, I think it teaches nothing.  Had it been an essay he needed to write, I would be more lenient but since he only had to write a short proper noun answer, they can suck on eggs.   Hopefully he’ll learn that there are consequences to checking your answer.

Yes, yes, I KNOW THAT WE KNOW WHAT HE MEANT.  So often kids are able to slide by on meaning, because we know what they kind of mean.  However, this is is Jeopardy (I couldn’t resist) and as such, I expect the cream of the crop to be extra sweet.  There line must be drawn.  What if the game had to start taking slant answer?  I can see the slippery slope now.  Answer.  The name of the first Black President.  Question – Who is the guy after George Bush, maybe?  or Question – Who is Michelle’s husband?

Try Wheel of Fortune kid.  Oh wait, that needs spelling too.

Chester Kent

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Been doing prep for work tomorrow. Rather research about the school. Even found a nice website with staff pictures links to tumblr pages, blogspots with homework, group discussion pages and I’m like jackpot except the teacher that I’m in for doesn’t have anything online. Hell the official school page don’t even have a photo. They have photos of all the paras, subs, special Ed Teachers….everyone but the bitch I’m in for.

Which means she probably quite and these kids haven’t had anyone all year.

I’m looking forward. According to the website I’ll be one of 4 minority teachers at a high school in the Bronx. In fact I’ll be extra as the teacher I’m
In for isnt even listed on the official unofficial website for the school.

Looks like a great school though. Scored an A. They even have a foreign exchange program with china. Everything is fine. Except the teacher
I’m in for apparently never existed.

I blame whatever wrong that happens tomorrow on subcentral.

This letter is to serve as a response to a letter to file dated January 17th, 2012.

 

When I began my time at Lean on Me High, the 10th/11th grade English classes were absolutely in disarray.  School support staff, and the students informed me that they had several teachers during the year, two somewhat long term, and several ATR’s. Despite the lack of any formal structure or objectives, I assumed role of lead teacher for several weeks until MJ arrived as their formal appointed English teacher, and I could finally concentrate on learning the subject matter and concepts of Forensic Science and then teach it, to the two sections that I would assume lead teacher in.( A moment of note here applies as well, as in that subject, and classroom, I too was thrown into a situation where students had basically wasted a marking period.)At that time, I had been informed that two of the classes were to be ICT/CTT classes, which came as a shock because for the duration of the time I served as the students teachers, I worked alone.  After handing over the classroom to MJ, I often times worked with her  in the 5th and 8th period classes. The 5th period class became more of a regular mainstay because the 5th period class was problematic, in more than one way.  In the subsequent paragraphs, I will detail a few.

The most major problem with 5th period was the impossible task of teaching a class with 44 students (see attachment.)  Room 409 does not have adequate space for that many bodies.  Sometimes we didn’t have enough chairs. Other times, classroom management was quite frankly impossible;  circulating the room was nearly impossible, and being attentive to the needs of the various groupings that I had planned for the students was  near impossible, and any sort of group work for the students often times broke out into deafening proportions, even when it was good talk.  The arrangement of tables was not mine or Ms. Jones to define as we were only in that room for one period of the day.  Clearly, that decision would be for Ms. Santana, as we all acknowledge that to be her classroom.

The second problem with period 5 was the high concentration of serviced students.  I had not been informed of which students had any IEP’s.  At the original roster of 44 students, there were at least 21 students receiving services.  As it were the array of IEP’s or serviced students ranged from ELL students to some students with IEP’s clearly stated that they were defiant to authority.

Finally, the only time that MJ and I shared in common were during Professional Development or during the classes we shared together.  Even when we both stayed late after school, there would be no time for common planning, and even if there had been, it would be futile, as I would provide coverage for teachers who were out. Inside the classroom, this also became something tough for the children students to comprehend as often times, two strong individuals were weakened because a lack of unified  direction.  The lessons I prepared, which I gave to MJ with annotated points, and reference materials often were not reviewed, and rarely would MJ take the lead for a multitude of reasons that I can not speak to.  In any event,

When things somewhat become consistent, I and MJ etched out a plan. The only way to achieve a more functional, and meaningful environment was to lessen the number ofI asked AP Razor if I could locate a classroom not being utilized would it be ok.  Had I known that the AP’s had different tasks under their purview, I would have also sought out Ms. Cleo’s permission or assistance.  However, with the chain of events as they were, being such that with Mr. Razor’ s oral approval, and having identified room 413 as available, a plan was devised to separate the students into two groupings based on what we found to be our strong points in instruction.  While the students under my charge receiving instruction in lessons designed primarily focused on literature and creative writing based lessons, and Ms. Jones focusing more on grammar, and shorter literature pieces.  At some unidentified point, we would rotate groups, if were felt that it would be beneficial to the students.  Thus, I spent a few days looking at the list of students, and with Ms. Jones approval or requests for students, the groupings were cemented.  The matrix of students would include all levels of students.  To reiterate, each grouping would have similar numbers of mainstreamed and IEP/serviced students.

In room 413, my students were put through their paces, with an intensive unit I had crafted about the perception of self in society.  Students under my charge were given challenging, and socially relevant readings and assignments that allowed them to explore themselves.  In the smaller setting, the 17 or 18 students were given the chance to read aloud, ask meaningful questions; they could really roll back their sleeves and dig into the materials.  Every student was included. 

Thus the direction to unify the groupings was both disappointing, and quite frankly impossible to plan considering the pacing of each unite grouping.

At the meeting of ICT teachers (which did not include teachers of all classes that should receive ICT instruction,) I voiced concerns about class size and room to instruct, lack of common planning, lack of adequate teaching materials, and access to the files detailing what the student”s IEP explicitly were.  After Ms.  Morgan offered suggestions as to models of Co-Teaching,  I again voiced concerns regarding the level of planning that the model of Alternate Teaching would take, considering mine and Ms. Jones’s schedule, but this again was unanswered.  After the meeting of ICT teachers, we attempted two instances of unifying the classes, and each time was an utter disaster.  I acknowledge that on these two occasions there was a disappointing lack of instruction, and the students pleaded with Ms. Jones, and I to separate the groupings.

During this time, I was finally granted access to the IEP folders in Ms. Special Special Ed’s office, and discovered information that was left me in a quixitic situation; several of the students IEP’s state explicitly services that would simply not be possible in the unified class.  While they may be recommended for ICT services, their IEP’s directly state that large classroom settings such as the one that would occur in room 409 would be completely damaging to their development and goals.  Also, until Ms. Jones was apprised of the specific needs of the IEP/serviced students and what differentiations and adaptions would be needed to lessons (which had not even been discussed nor mutually planned out) well joining the classes would be harmful to all students, gen-ed and disabled alike.

Furthermore in regards to Commissioner of Education’s 200.6 Continuum of Services, it is declared that in an ICT the number of students with disabilities should not be more than 40% of the classroom or  at a maximum limit of 12, or in extreme cases, 13 if granted state notice and approval.  The number of students on the original class roster totaled 20, and never dropped below 15 for the entire semester.   In this situation, there was not a clearly defined “right” answer.

That is to say, on one hand, It would have been much easier and less of a  risk to my career to rejoin the groups and do my best to avoid the deplorable situation that lead to the split.  While on the other, I could continue the less obtrusive approach of instructing students while continuing to search for a method of instruction that would best service all the students in the classroom.  While I would have still searched for viable options to instruct students in the unified classroom, I fear that by the time I found one, the damage may have been done.  As it stands, the past four days in room 409 have been a nightmare for everyone involved (as I feared it would.)  Despite requests for MJ’s lesson plan,ideas, concepts or time, I’ve to date received none.  I would have designed something but  as I assumed that as the Gen-Ed English teacher that she would take point.

Given the directions received and the level of support I received, I decided to choose the that allowed me to create a learning environment that provided meaningful and positive impacts on student learning  This was not a decision made to be oppositional or defiant.  It was not a decision made without angst or careful personal evaluation.  Had I received more assistance in strategies that could feasibly allow me to follow instructions by my supervisors, and effectively achieve the best educationally fostering space of the students in my charge, I would have chose differently.

march wrap up

The phrase says “beware the Ides of March” but really March was what I should have been wary of. Despite the images and ideas of Green, growth and hope- I found myself thwarted by the children I had eagerly dressed myself for in the AM’s.

My problem in the past month was not situated to just one location and or with one, singular population of schoolchild. Meaning I didn’t just interface with just high schoolers or just middle schoolers. I didn’t just monitor sections of regular,  CTT, inclusion and/or self-contained classes exclusively. Nor had I been just situated in just one borough.

Yet, the amount of attitude or the things that came out of these kids mouths were, well, in their own vernacular, “OFF THE HOOK” or my personal favorite “O.D!!!!!!”. Friday, I probably had been cursed at more times than metro buses that are missed, stop signs that exist or maybe even those yellow cheese schoolbusses with their flashers out (when all you want to do is get home.) However, the main difference is that all the anger and disrespect sent towards me was completely uncalled for.
In the past week alone, an 8th grade girl at a middle school decided to brand me a “rapist” because I pestered her about having her cellphone out in gym class.  Yeah.  She did.  Yes.  Seriously.  Other kids jumped on that disrespect train, and it caught me off guard. I kind of wanted to cry but I had other classes to make it through.   Overall, the school day was great but the rapist cloud hung over my head.  I would return to that same school aon Friday afternoon, and my fingers would be crossed hoping that all that jazz would be forgotten.  But then she walked in third period.

Two statements were made from her.  One  of her statements utilized that term towards me and I had to throw her out.  Which was a struggle as it was.  She fought with every ounce of her strength that she could muster to disrespect me and claim the room as her throne.  Yet, I refused to engage her.  I could explain my reasoning behind it but as I told her- “for the next forty minutes I am your guest teacher; Not your actually teacher. They called in. And as such I have my own set of rules which may or may not be the same Z your regular teacher’s. But they are in line with the board of education.”
However I continued by saying “I am an adult And your teacher and you will leave this room. An you will not address me in your manner of choosing. But you will leave this room.”
And she didnt and so I had school safety called to remove her from class.

Un-April Fool’s Day

Returning back to the school I went to on Wednesday.  Listing classifies it as “Special Education” – My favorite….ha.  Wednesday wasn’t that horrible, so I’m going to try to give today and honest shot. Let’s see how it goes. Not really sure what to do with Special Education kids when there aren’t any notes to tell me exactly what subject or classification of special ed it is.

I know it sounds like rambling, but as long as I don’t end up having to deal with 2 of the little “Bankers” (note, my use of ‘bankers’ is a substitute for another word, I digress.)  These “bankers” were unnecessarily unruly thus I had to squash their attitudes and put them into their places in  on Wednesday.  Their places being  child to my adult, and student to my teacher, iu the whole child-adult, and student-teacher dynamic.  One banker referred to me as a rapist, and the other who threw a football at my head.

The rapist comment came as a result about me pestering her to put her cellphone away.  I could see how I was being annoying, considering I was in fact being annoying in response to being annoyed that she clearly violated school policy and my own personal policy about cellphones in school.  Her response warranted me having her thrown out of class.  I also responded in a firm, masculine and clearly not pleased tone to any of the kids who dared even  tried to spark that incident again.

The football banker.  Not even worth getting into. Or rather it would infuriate me even more than thinking about being called a rapist.

I have no issue throttling both of them today.   Let’s hope I don’t have to.

It’s a late start…8:50-3:50….Ugh.  I hope it’s not really til 3:50. Anyway, I’m going to pick out something nice to wear on this cold April morning.

-Chester Kent

Teaching Thursdays-

So Thursdays seemingly are my sweet spot for Subbing. Last Thursday, at a school that I seemingly knew and had visited as a moderator on field trips well….well…it was different.

Rather, the 8th grade went crazy because most of their their regular teachers were out on a professional development.

Wild, Wild, West. Children, here, there, everywhere, like old McDonald’s farm but not in rhyme. Not just scores of slang, and rude comments. Oh, and disrespect.

While essentially co-babysitting this one section with another Guest Teacher, I listened to them berate her for her job, and education. This from an 8th grader. With ghetto-licious nails, and an IEP.

Where is the parental discipline at these days?

Tomfoolery [1]

Seen at a grocery store on Lenox Ave in the Harlem Section of New York City.  Had to do a double take. Noticed it posted throughout the store at multiple displays.  Was embarrassed for the printer and advertiser.  Persuaded to buy Pepsi products for a day.

What is wrong with this?

Seriously...

How many errors do you count?

[Posted picture can be viewed at original posted site of http://www.chesterintherye.wordpress.com]

-Chester Kent