Caught like the Dog that He Is
M.C: I used to do a lot of backflips.
M.C: I even backflipped with my ex-girlfriend.
F.A: Hahaha. That sounds stupid.
M.C: I was better than her.
J.B: How many blackflips can you do?
Class: Hahaha. BLACKflips?
D.G: Can only black people do those? What are blackflips?
Teacher: Quiet down. I am sure she made a mistake.
Teacher: But really, compared to backflips, are blackflips harder?
LOL!! Yes, M.C. is black.
I haven’t posted in a while. I apologize for the neglect. I’m not even sure if anyone noticed!
Despite my absence, my life has not stopped (as proven by the post) nor has the many crazy incidences that have occurred during the time lapse.
So here’s a recap of some highlights:
1. My seniors are about to graduate in 6 more months!
2. 4 seniors have honored me by asking for a recommendation from me! This is quite exciting for me because they must be going to a pretty good college if it requires letters of recommendation AND it also means they trust me to give them an accurate analysis of their character and work ethic. I am not sure how other teachers accept or reject rec letters, but I turned down a student this year. I made a mistake last year of writing a rec that I did not fully support. I regret it now that I have seen this one particular alumni come back to the school to visit. How do other teachers turn down recs? I said, “I do not believe I would be a good teacher to ask. Perhaps another teacher would give you a better recommendation.”
3. Out of 5 science classes, students in 3 classes are ALL passing! The Freshmen need more discipline, skills set and attention span. Have you noticed that the younger the generation, the less skills they acquire before reaching high school or college? I have some theories on why… but that might take up another post.
4. My class was picked for the District evaluation and check-up! That’s a personal success and the type of affirmation that motivates me to do better and to do more.
5. I am now engaged! So this has brought a lot of excitement for the students. Mostly the girls actually. I thank God, because more than just the obvious blessings of being engaged, I get the chance to share more with the students. With this new turn of events, my students feel they have a topic to discuss with me. It opens up dialogue. I thankful for that.
6. I have truly seen my students grow from last year into this school year. Despite some difficult and stubborn ones, the good ones are more than plenty and they help me push on into the remaining year.
I wanted to act relaxed and cool to work the Tuesday after the engagement. Didn’t talk to the students and walked to my class to set up. One or two students came in to congratulate me because they had heard on Monday from another teacher and I said “Thank you” and went back to work.
During Homeroom I could see the students turning their heads and whispering to one another about the ring on my left hand. I was taking roll call on the laptop. No one wanted to ask me. They were just whispering, shaking their head at the impossible thought, or nodding that yes, the 4th finger on the left hand does indeed maen you are engaged. After the last name, I couldn’t handle the whispering anymore and just said, “Yes, I am engaged.” The class started to clap! They asked me what the story was and how I felt… it was chaotic.
Through the rest of the day it was hard for me to continue with the lessons I had planned. The kids wanted to see pictures, hear the story and look at my ring. I obliged, but only for a little bit. The girls oohed and ahhhed at the story. The boys started making up their engagement plan, trying to do one better than my fiance. Some were actually pretty good!
Classroom Plan as said by student:
I would sneak into her classroom and sit in the back. When she asks, “So does anyone have a question?” I’m going to say, “Why yes I do!” She’s going to be so shocked as I ask, “Will you marry me?” There’s going to be signs and a big rock.
In the last period, some of the office workers (my students) came into my class to make an announcement. It was a rap made for me about the engagement. After two lines, they had to stop because they ran out of ideas. As the class clapped and the students were leaving, one of them turned around. “I have another announcement to make! After school, come bring your pads, your gear, your hockey sticks and the pucks. Because we’re going ice skating on Ms. Chu’s ring!” The class burst into laughter and it’s now the new quote for the kids.
Whenever they see me they say, “Miss, it’s ice skating time!”
This week has been a hard week. I can’t pinpoint one big reason why it was hard, but the small obstacles of teaching this week seem to keep piling against my mental capacity to keep my cool.
For those who are thinking of teaching, here’s a small reminder of the things to look out for. For those who don’t, here’s a a small morsel of all the things I think about on a daily basis.
*Even as I type this, a student decides to look across the table to cheat off a test. Right as I made the announcement to keep their eyes on their own paper, he asks, “who?” - You of course! You obviously know who I’m talking about! And yes, I said that.*
1. Who’s cheating
2. Who’s sleeping or zoning off and not paying attention
3. Who’s bullying others
4. Who’ texting under the table
5. Who’s having a bad day- they might be high strung and have a temper in class
6. Who’s forgetting to write down their homework
7. Who hasn’t done their homework in a long time
8. Who’s parent do I need to contact for updates on their kids’ performance
9. Who was absent and needs a reminder to pick up work or to turn in absent work
10. Who has been missing school that I need to report to the counselor
11. Who needs an encouragement to do better or to keep up the good work
12. Who’s taking drugs/substances and needs intervention
13. Who needs me to slow down the pace and review a lecture
14. Who needs to learn using a different modality- visual, oral, kinesthetic, written
15. Who’s subtly being defiant and how do I modify the behavior
It can be very hard to teach life in a very liberal world. Being a Biology Teacher, or just a teacher of Science, we base a lot of conclusions on evidence, objectivity, data, research, the good of mankind, minute technicalities… Life is so complicated, can we ever define it based on the number of nerve synapses, skeletal development, and tissue formation?
Life, a gift from God.
A picture began circulating in November. It should be “The Picture of the Year,”… or perhaps, “Picture of the Decade.” It won’t be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the U.S. paper which published it, you probably would never have seen it.
The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon named Joseph Bruner. The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother’s womb. Little Samuel’s mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr. Bruner’s remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.
During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr. Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon’s finger. Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile.
The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, “Hand of Hope.” The text explaining the picture begins, “The tiny hand of 21-week-old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother’s uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.”
Little Samuel’s mother said they “wept for days” when they saw the picture. She said, “The photo reminds us pregnancy isn’t about disability or an illness, it’s about a little person.” Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful. Now see the actual picture, and it is awesome…incredible….and hey, pass it on! The world needs to see this one.
Thank you for teaching us this year and helping us with the Juniors recycling. You are a great teacher and good at what you do.
Your “okay” students
Attached to a Christmas gift and signed with the names of my students. I initially laughed at the “okay” part. This means they knew they are passing with acceptable grades or might be aware of their satisfactory effort. Does this mean they understood they are capable of more? The idea was a little sad, but also humorous. I mean, at least they weren’t in denial or lying about their greatness but producing nothing.
On my wall I have a couple of rules. One of them being: Do not think you are smart, be smart.
So I decided to ask the gift givers. What did you mean by “okay”? Their answer… We know you want more from us. We are working harder than last year.
Well, they’re getting it. :) I made sure to write them a thank you note.
|Teacher:||I will be calling students to my desk. Listen up!|
|Teacher:||E.A, S.C, A.U, E.R, S.J, and K.D, please come here.|
|S.C:||Miss, did you call my name?|
|Teacher:||Yes, please come up.|
|S.C:||You know, I'm beginning to think this is for a reward, not a punishment.|
|Teacher:||It is! You got a high grade on your test!|
|S.C:||My name has never been called with these group of people before!|
|S.C:||I thought I was in trouble, but then you said those other names...|
|S.C:||I feel so proud! [stands and bows as he walks to the front]|