I am lagging in so many areas lately, so don’t take it personally that this blog is one of them. Here’s the latest…

1. I had been thinking that this year’s crew was too nice and gentle and friendly to offer much comedy relief/material, but I was wrong. They are still seventh graders after all. The other day I was berating a kid who was trying out random answers to a warm up question. After he tries out a third non-sequitur on his partner, I can’t cope. I ask him if he needs some help with the question. His response? “Oh. I guess I should read it.”

2. The first question on the vocabulary pretest this week was, “Many rappers “sing” the praises of “bling” and _____ consumption.” The word we were looking for was conspicuous. I gave them a visual hint with a picture of a diamond encrusted, 1.27 million dollah cell phone, asking why anyone would want such an item. Half of them spent the next five minutes jabbering about how it looked like a banana. One Latino kid was very quietly reading the question over and over and finally raised his hand, rather concerned. “Umm. About the second word in the sentence, eh. Is that ‘rapers?’ I don’t get it” Let us all silently visualize what the general reaction was.

3. I had an education student from Cal Poly (our local university) watching the show today trying to get her 40 hours of observing in. I guess they make them do that to make sure they know what they’re getting themselves into. (Unlike those TFA morons.) She had been at a high school in a nearby district before, and this was her first junior high experience. I asked her if she wanted to teach at this level. She said that she at first wanted to teach upper level high school, but then she watched some ninth grade action and started thinking that she might like that better. So then she started wondering if she might like ’em even younger. “They’re just like puppies,” I whispered. “I know,” she said, “they’re soooo cute.” At this point two girls near to my desk turn around and grin sheepishly. I thought they might jump in her lap.

4. I came across another indictment of TFA:

5. Oh yeah, and another, from Diane Ravitch , the one who finally saw the light and stopped being a corporate shill. Here’s an excerpt:

TFA has become the handmaiden of the privatization movement. Without TFA’s ready supply of eager and inexperienced young college graduates, willing to work long hours without a union and with meager wages, it would be impossible to expand these private-sector schools at such a rapid clip.

Since the projected hiring of many more TFA corps members coincides with the layoff of large numbers of Chicago public school teachers, it is safe to say that TFA is helping not only to privatize the Chicago public schools but to bust the union.

This may fit right in with the far-right ideals of the Walton Family Foundation, which gifted TFA with $50 million, but it somehow does not sound all that idealistic.

Here’s the link: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/09/09/chicago-bombshell-tfa-plans-to-staff-52-new-charters-as-50-public-schools-die/

6. Got roped into going to a professional development thang on Monday. Something about non-fiction and binders. It’ll probably get its own post later. I usually flake on these kinds of things, but we have a new district head of curriculum and instruction and I have a new principal, so I figured I shouldn’t make a bad first impression on the FNG’s. I’ll wait for the second one before I flake. Anyway, since it was a last minute decision–and I guess we are chronically short on subs this year–I ended up with a different member of our staff subbing for every period. Whoa Nellie. Period One: VP running the show. Goes waaaay long with activity #1. Finishes only half of what I was shooting for. But at least he read the plan. Quote from the kids: “He talked A LOT.” Period Two: Our bilingual SS teacher who does two periods of history in Spanish. One of my BTSA training proteges. Needless to say, he came closest to doing things right, but he wimped out on the part where I told the sub to read Outsiders aloud to the kids. He told them to do it silently. He batted about 85% on the plan.  Period Three: As near as I can figure, it was the school psychologist. She abandoned ship, and said she couldn’t read my writing. Several of the kids told me that she actually said there was “too much” writing. Quote from the kids: “She talked A LOT.” Another quote from the kids: “She didn’t yell at all, like you. It was boring.”  Period Four-Video Production: Principal as sub. I think it best to remain silent here.  Period Five: My prep. They all forgot I have an aide, and she sat by herself for 54 minutes. She said it was kinda weird. She drew a picture of a horse. Sixth Period: A fellow English teacher. Gave them the chapter quiz before finishing the chapter with them. ‘Nuff said.

7.  I am starting to realize that after five+ years of doing this, it gets a bit difficult to:
a) remember what I have already said (you all know what I am talking about there: “Did I say that already? Or was that last period? Or year?)
b) come up with new material without repeating myself too much. This ain’t rocket science people. 

8. Re: #7. I just realized that this post just passed 900 words. I should have chopped it into two, and milked another day outta it.