Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teacher Tuesday! (Very Long)

Typically I am a happy blog writer. Life isn't crappy for me, most of the time, and I usually have something positive to talk about. However, today is a little different. I have a lot to say and so if you are worried about my being a "Negative Nancy" rubbing off on you, I suggest you close out this blog now and go read one of my other happier ones.

For those of you who have known me a long time, you know that I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in the 4th grade. I had an incredible teacher, Patricia Devine, who taught me a lot about life and a lot about myself, all while teaching me everything I could possibly ever want to know in the fourth grade. My goal in life has always been to become just like her. To teach my students as much as I possibly can, all the while having fun and helping them grow into productive members of society. However, as of late, I have pondered if I have made a wise career choice. Here are my reasons:

1. Teachers don't "teach" anymore.
~ Now don't read this statement and think to yourself, "What does she mean teachers don't teach? That's their job right?" And to all of you teachers out there reading this, I don't want you to think, "I teach, what's she talking about?" I am not saying that we aren't teaching the students things they need to know, but simply saying that we are not "teaching" the way we were taught.
Teachers used to have activities and lessons that were based on the material students should know by their fourth year in school and whether or not they got it was not strictly placed on the teachers shoulders. Parents were required to help their child at home and a teachers job was not based on what some stupid standardized test says their kids know, but what the teacher can prove their kids know.

2. Using a standardized test, written on a collegiate level, to assess students.
~ The people writing laws and creating standardized tests for schools nowadays are telling teachers that they aren't doing their jobs because the students aren't learning the required objectives as mandated by each state. And the way they assess the students learning is by giving them a comprehensive test based on these standards, which is fine except for the fact that it is written on a college level.
Let me tell you what, I am a college educated person. I spent four years working on a degree and I can write a paper that would blow your mind, but to read some of these questions that these students have to answer, I even have to go read them two or three times to get the meaning. No wonder these fourth grade students are freaking out, this test is too hard to understand. But according to the law makers, students should know the material and be able to take this test to prove that.
I can't tell you the amount of parental phone calls I get because even the parents cannot understand what on earth the practice tests are asking. I guarantee that if I could take that test and put it in language that is familiar to my students, my students could answer the questions with no problem. But no, the law makers want to make it the teachers fault if the students do poorly. That is garbage! Make the test readable!

3. People who have never taught a day in their life telling teachers how to do their jobs.
~ This is the biggest pet peeve of mine. People who have never taught a single day in their lives, telling me how to do my job. I believe that if you can make a law for schools, then you should be required to have taught at least one year in each level of education. That means you must have taught a year at the elementary, the middle, and high school level.
It is so easy for someone that has never spent a day in a classroom to stop by a teachers room and say, "This person doesn't know how to teach." or, "You should be doing it this way." It's a completely different thing for a person who has never been in a classroom to spend a day in a teachers classroom and see that there is far more going on than meets the eye.
Sure, some of the things that lawmakers have passed sound good on paper, ex: No Child Left Behind, but in reality it is just a HUGE mess that teachers have to deal with and is not good in practice. I'm a huge fan of "If it's not broke, don't fix it" and "If it doesn't work, find something else that will." (No offense to anybody who tutors through this program. It is different for you than it is for the classroom teacher. You are not held accountable for the child's success or failure. The classroom teacher is.)

4. Teaching is such an easy profession.
People who say that teachers have the easiest jobs on the planet have no idea. Teaching is the equivalent of three jobs. Not only are you responsible for making sure that your students learn, but you have to play nurse if they are sick and don't feel good, as well as playing disiplinarian to those who choose to act out. On top of your regular duties of teaching, you have to write lesson plans, discipline students, do duties, show up to events at the school, parent teacher conferences, faculty meetings, grade level planning, grade papers, Tier plans, small groups, remediation for low students, etc. Sure, I might get paid from 7:20am to 3:20pm, but I'm typically at that school from 6:45am to 5pm most days. And guess what? I don't get paid extra for all the extra stuff I do!

5. People who say, "I can do it better."
~ Well by all means, please come show me how to do it better. I can't stand when a parent tells me that I'm not teaching something correctly or they don't like how I run my classroom. By all means, if you think you can walk a day in my shoes, then please come on. I'd love to watch you do it. And if you do a great job, more props to you. Go get a degree and get your own classroom. That classroom door has MY name on it. So nobody can run MY CLASSROOM better than ME.

6. The continual cutting of teachers pay.
~ Teachers are some of the most underpaid professionals in the world. But why? If it weren't for teachers we wouldn't have electrical engineers, doctors, lawyers, dentists, astronauts, psychologists, nurses, etc. They all had to be TAUGHT how to do what they do. We should be some of the highest paid people in the country, but yet, here are teachers who are the ones that TEACH these people how to become what it is they want to become and we are all barely making enough to scrape by.
I'm a third year teacher. After they take out all of the taxes, insurance, social security, medicare, etc out of my check, I'm down over $900 off of my gross income. Because of all of the tax increases and the recession causing prices to go up, I currently make less now, as a third year teacher, than I did as a first year teacher. I MAKE LESS NOW THAN I DID WHEN I STARTED! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Who wants to work hard at a job that pays you less than what you started out making?

7. Not having updated text books.
~ This is no lie when I tell you that I am currently teaching out of the same books that I was taught out of when I was in 4th grade. We are still using the same history books, science books, english books, math books, etc that I did when I was a kid.
Seriously? I was in fourth grade in 1996 and even then, the books we were using were old and outdated. Are you telling me that I am teaching my kids out of a book that has been around over 16yrs! Why the hell can't we afford new books?

8. Education being put on the back burner.
~ How many times a week on the news do you hear about another cut to the education budget? How many teachers are working minimal wage jobs because they lost their jobs due to pay cuts or are working second jobs to try and supplement their income because they have had to take a furlough day or other pay cut? How many laws are put into place to help these "disadvantaged children" but yet there is no funding to actually do anything to help them? How many extra curricular classes like art and music that give the kids an outlet to grow and release some tension caused by the constant strain of teachers having to teach to a state test are being cut because "there just isn't enough money?" How many more children will be at risks because class sizes are so big that a teacher can't take the time to work one on one with a child that is struggling? How many more kids are going to drop out at age 16 because they don't have someone there to push them and feel like learning a test is a waste of time? Why are there less and less people looking into teaching as a career and more and more looking into things such as nursing and computer technology? Why are more teachers leaving the field to pursue other careers because they are burned out, or tired, or frustrated, or feel like they aren't able to do their jobs because of too much red tape and paperwork?

9. Extending the school year.
~ Our current president has said that America's students do not go to school long enough. That for us to be the most powerful country in the world, our students are lacking in education. I think this is crap. Extending the school year is only going to cause more stress on teachers and students. We rely on that break of summer to recharge the batteries. I can't teach 12 months straight. It's not possible. If it comes to that, I will certainly be going back to grad school and figure out another profession. I can't do this my whole life at the rate it is going.

I'm sorry that this blog has been so long and negative. I just had an epiphany today and I realized that teachers truly are mistreated. There is so much going on in schools that nobody realizes. I just wanted to put that out there for the world to see.

I want to encourage everyone out there to write to their state representatives, senators, and even to the President himself. Tell them how you feel about education and the teachers that work so hard every day. I know that my one letter won't make a difference, but perhaps if we get several people writing, that might get some attention. And granted, I know that there are teachers out there that don't do their jobs and what they are supposed to, but don't penalize all of us that do for their mistakes.

Thank you for reading. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blah...Another Monday

Today was one of those OMG days! Things just weren't the way they should have been. I actually had a student pass out from low-blood sugar and overheating. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I about had a heart attack. We had to videotape the entire school singing this "Twelve Powerful Words" song and it was HOT and only 9am. We got back in around 9:15 and on the way inside she tells me that her stomach is hurting and then begins swaying. The next thing I know I've got a student laid out on the floor and unresponsive. Needless to say, I freaked out. I managed to get a wet rag on her neck and get her woken up enough to answer some questions. The nurse and principals raced down there and she ended up going home. I won't lie when I tell you that I was terrified. Thankfully I managed to stay calm through the entire thing and get her taken care of.

Then in our planning meeting I feel like I'm still as confused about what to do with social studies as ever. Not to mention I feel like we kind of got fussed at because there was a misunderstanding. Ugh...what next?

What a Monday...

So this weekend I did some research to help assist me with some extra weight loss. I read online that if women want to lose more weight they should focus 3 days a week on weight training and some light cardio and then do heavy duty cardio 2 days a week and rest for 2 days. So therefore, I am revamping my weight loss routine to fit this. I think the change up will help me get past this wall I have hit. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Today started week 6 of the workout/diet plan and I must say, I am noticing many changes. I was so excited this morning when I was able to fit into a pair of jeans I haven't worn since college and they fit perfect! My waist is getting smaller, my legs, arms and thighs are too. It is such an amazing feeling when you start seeing these changes no matter how small they are.

I can REALLY tell in my legs. They are looking better and better by the day. Hopefully soon my arms and my abs will follow suit. I'm just going to keep pushing. I'm motivated to do this and nothing is going to stand in my way. :)

That's all for tonight...until later, this is Jana off to find another adventure...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

10 Pounds in 5 Weeks?

So after 5 hard weeks of working out and dieting I have managed to lose, and keep off 10lbs. While it might not be what I wanted to lose in that amount of time, I have to realize that losing weight slower is actually better because you are more than likely to keep it off. I'm truly enjoying my daily workouts (5 days a week) and dieting isn't as hard as I thought it would be. However, I have spent the day online looking up ways to jump start my metabolism and some new foods to try because to be honest, the food is getting a little old.

I'm trying to reach my goal of 100lbs gone in a year and after a month of working out, having lost 10, I'm pretty sure that I will be able to do that. I've been setting mini goals and currently my goal is to lose 15lbs by October 23. I have a Halloween party to go to and I want to look cute in my costume. If I lose that 15, I'll be down 25 for 10 weeks of working out. I'm pretty sure that is attainable.

Life has been going pretty good lately. I'm just working a lot and trying to be the best teacher that I can be. I've been a little more tired than usual lately, but I think it has to do with me not sleeping the way I need to. I'll def have to work on that.

I don't have much to update on, so until later, this is Jana off to find another adventure...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life Recently...A Summation

Greetings Readers. I am so sorry I have been away for so long. A special apology goes out to Erin and Amber, both of whom have questioned my whereabouts and asked, "When are you planning to write another blog?" Here I am, fulfilling your wish! :)

The past two weeks have been so jam packed with things to do and illness and travel that I really haven't had much time for updates. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I am downing a bowl of frosted flakes because I am STARVING! I'm having to find time to get a bite to eat along this crazy and busy road.

Let's start where we left off...two weekends ago. As most of you read, I was gearing up for a weekend in Atlanta, GA where my friend Monique was having a ring ceremony for her marriage with her now husband Clark on Saturday. (Congrats again you guys) It was one of the most beautiful ceremonies. It took place at sunset and the colors she chose were yellow and deep blue. A beautiful combo if I do say so myself. :) Before making the trip to Atlanta though, Austin and I stopped in to stay with my friend Sara Beth, who was kind enough to let us sleep on her pull out couch so that instead of a 7hr drive, we would only have to drive 4 the next morning. (Thanks girl!) So let's see, Friday spent with Sara Beth...Saturday was the Wedding...now onto Sunday. On Sunday, my whole group of college friends that went to Moe's Wedding and the Bride and Groom, all met up for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. It was nice to share one last meal together before everyone headed their own way. Austin and I went with two of my friends Anna and Benson to the World of Coca-Cola. If you have never been, you should def check it out. Make sure to try the Coke from Italy called "Beverly"...or better yet, don't try it! It's AWFUL! Following the Coke Factory, we all headed our seperate ways home. Anna and Benson to Tupelo, and Austin and I back to Columbus to stay with Sara Beth. Since Monday was a holiday, we didn't rush to get back to Jackson. We milled around with Sara Beth and met up with my college friend Jenny at Chili's for some much needed lunch/supper before heading back to Jackson. We got back to Jackson around 10pm and headed straight to bed. We were exhausted!

..................................................................* Big Breath*................................................................................

Tuesday morning set us back into the swing of things. I headed to work bright and early on Tuesday morning having accomplished absolutely nothing that I NEEDED to accomplish. All that grading that I planned to do while we were driving was still ungraded in the back seat of my car. *Sigh* I got to school and we had a LONG day of teaching and teacher meetings.

By Wednesday I really started feeling awful. I had some really bad sinus stuff going on. Even though I felt bad, I still had to go to meetings from 1-4, not to mention dealing with students from 7-12. All in all a pretty crappy day for me.

When I woke up on Thursday morning, I quite literally could not get up out of bed. I felt like a sledgehammer had hit me. I called in sick, but still had to go in long enough to set up my classroom for a sub. I spent the remainder of the day either sleeping or cleaning house in between naps.

Friday I returned to school and much to my dismay my sub left me a bad note. However, after some investigation I found that the sub was to blame for the behavior. She did not follow my lesson plans, nor did she take my students to the restroom. It was ridiculous. After school let out on Friday, I headed to my apartment and packed my bag. Once Austin got to Byram, we left and headed to see my family in Alabama.

Saturday was so much fun. We spent the day with my parents and then went to my God-Daughter Daveney's birthday party. It was amazing! I was so happy to get to spend it with her and her family.

Sunday we drove home and just chilled in the pool and went to bed around 11pm. It was so nice just to relax and do nothing.

........................................................................* Mini Breath*.......................................................................

So all of that leads us to today. Today was pretty good. Just very busy. I feel so behind in my lessons and can't seem to catch up. I have so much I need to be doing, but I just don't feel like I have time to squeeze it in. My students and I work from the time we come in the door until the time they leave at 3:20. Then I get to work some more. There are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that I need to get accomplished.

For those of you who have been wondering how my diet is going, it is going pretty well. I'm down a total of 10lbs. I have been working out religiously (except last week due to illness) and am going to continue my workout sessions today. As a matter of fact, I am typing this prior to my session today. :)

Following my workout I will be grading/filing/sorting/etc papers and getting my desk fixed from where my sub tried to "help" me by cleaning up my desk area. I have a lot to do and not enough time to do it. I promise an update again soon. Until then...this is Jana off to find another adventure...


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