A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

All You Zombies*, Or why do I keep chasing my own tail?

Subtitled: When is consistency just a hobgoblin of little minds?

Do you ever feel like you are the only person who expects kids to abide by the very simple rules of the school? I feel absolutely crazy for saying this, but yes, I do ACTUALLY expect students to:
1. wear their IDs;
2. put up their headphones during the school day;
3. stay off their phones;
4. keep their britches pulled up and their unmentionables covered;
5. not call each other the "f" word that rhymes with bag, the "s" word that rhymes with but, or the "n" word that rhymes with bigger but sometimes is pronounced with an final "ah" sound;
6. be on time to class;
7. remain awake for the entire class period;
and so on.

I am bugged because:
--twice today, I actually asked a kid where his or her ID was-- while an administrator had been conversing with his or her for several minutes each time and had not been saying a word.
--I had a kid tell me that he didn't know he couldn't listen to his headphones in the hallway because he sees so many other people doing it-- and I looked around, acknowledged his point, and reminded him that there is only so much of me to go around, and that nonetheless the policy is clearly spelled out in his handbook on the inside front cover.
--I had to insist for the fifth time that I was NOT going to give a student credit for an assignment that he copied from another student.

Yes, I am obviously trying to make myself crazy.

What things are peeving you right now? Let's dish! Shared misery is therapeutic. Or, as one of my favorite movie characters said: "Express, not repress."

* Title from a Robert A. Heinlein short story



At 2/20/07, 11:35 PM, Anonymous SciGuy said...

Student to teacher: "Why did I fail your test?"

Teacher to student: "Did you study?"

Student to teacher: "No."

Teacher to student: "Next question."

At 2/20/07, 11:48 PM, Anonymous Alsoomse said...

Teacher to student : "Do you have your worksheet / homework / administrative paperwork that had to be filled out by parents / ..."

Student : "No".

Teacher : "Well, you know the consequence for you not handing it in today. You will ....(fill in with detention / extra work....).

Student : "But that's not fair, I don't have because I forgot. It's not MY fault."

Sorry to break it to you kiddo, but if you forget, it's definitely your "fault" or as I'd rather say, your responsibility. So stop complaining, face up to the consequence, and next time, check your homework planner if you can remember to do that.

At 2/21/07, 3:32 AM, Blogger Diana said...

My students are currently writing mystery stories. We are at the third draft stage. Some students haven't handed in a first draft. One day I asked the class: "How many of you want to improve your writing?" All hands went up. "How do you go about improving your writing?" They offered various suggestions, such as "writing more" and "checking your spelling." Finally someone mentioned revision. "Aha!" I said. "And how can you revise, if you have nothing to revise?" They seemed stumped, stunned, and surprised.

At 2/21/07, 7:32 AM, Blogger M-Dawg said...

I don't even know where to start with this list:
*Students wearing IPods (not allowed in school-stated in student handbook).
*Inconsistency among faculty that ALLOWS certain students to listen to their IPods during class.
*Students talking on cell phones in the hallway (again, not allowed in school).
*Students not doing homework (but then ask me if they can do extra credit to bring their grade up - here's a thought - DO YOUR HOMEWORK!).
*Students not studying for tests or quizzes.
*Administrators NOT doing their job on so many levels (mainly discipline issues such as class cuts).
*Parents not returning emails or phone calls regarding the concern of their child's grade.

Warning: I could write a book! :-)

At 2/21/07, 8:24 AM, Blogger MommyProf said...

Students parking in faculty parking spaces because they are running late.

At 2/21/07, 8:53 AM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

Faculty parking spaces? Now I have something to be upset about.

I share your sentiments about all of the above, Ms.C., and every parent and teacher knows rules mean nothing unless they're enforced. A lot of administrators, though, know enforcing rules could make their statistics look really bad.

It's a paradox. Or if it isn't, we need a new fancy word to describe it.

At 2/21/07, 10:02 AM, Anonymous mrschili said...

Did you SEE the blog entry I wrote about the email one of my lovelies sent to me? I just can't stand it - and these are supposed to be ADULTS...

It's epidemic, and I'm feeling like I might explode. The problem is, though, that I REFUSE to give in to it all; I fear too much for the future....

At 2/21/07, 5:31 PM, Blogger Ms. George said...

Ms. George to Slouching Lovely:
"Where is your verb homework?"

Slouching Lovely: slouch, half-hearted attempt to raise shoulders in a questioning manner.

Ms. George: "I guess you don't have it. I'll see you at lunch."

Slouching Lovely: slouch, slight jerk of head in upward manner.

Note that Ms. George is the only one speaking in this converstation. (Good thing she studied
middle-school, non-verbal
communication strategies and earned an A! She must have completed her homework)

At 2/21/07, 9:37 PM, Blogger MsWhite said...

I could write a whole blog about this sort of thing (wait - I have)! Of course, I'd have to abandon it for fear of being discovered (wait - I did)! This is the sort of thing that can drive a teacher to leave a building (wait - it has)!

When this year is mercifully over, I probably WILL write a book, but it will most likely be sold as fiction because no one will believe the crap that goes on in my building. The only student who is held accountable for ANYTHING is the poor kid who happens to be my son!

At 2/22/07, 9:36 AM, Blogger Zipi said...

May I ask what is the rationale for forbidding iPods or headphones in the halway? They certainly should not be allowed in class, but I understand this means also in the halway during non-class times.

At 2/22/07, 11:08 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

I believe the rational is A) it is a safety issue: students can hear alarms sound for fire or other
B) it is a discipline issue: it doesn't allow students to walk away from a teacher who tries to stop him/her in the hall because "I didn't hear you."
C) it is a respect issue: it presupposes the idea that school is a place of professionalism much like a job and professionals don't usually wear Ipods in the halls.

At 2/22/07, 12:22 PM, Blogger graycie said...

Teacher-tour of brand new building under construction last year (everyone wearing their snazzy purple hard hats): "They're putting open atriums between the second and third floors? That has got to be a joke! What idiot thought of that?"

Administrators this week about the open atria (see, I do know the proper plural: "They're dropping liquids onto the kids on the second floor! They're throwing candy up at the kids on the third foloor? All of you teachers need to deal with that!"

At 2/22/07, 3:58 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

OHHHH, this measn that EVERYONE here teaches at my school-- I guess I'm no longer anonymous.

But then again, you can't all teach at my school, because THEN people would be enforcing the rules.

All I ask-- really, really-- is to not HAVE a rule if you are not going to enforce it.

But please, principals, don't have a rule becuase it looks good and then not back it up, or fail to back the hapless teachers who assume your whim is law....

At 2/23/07, 11:34 PM, Anonymous Teacher with a Toddler said...

Of all the teacher blogs out there, I can count on Ms. Cornelius to sum things up on a Friday night. And OMG, does this post do it.

We, like other schools, have a no gum policy. None. Zippo. Zero is not a hard concept to master. Yet one year we had the colossal misfortune of having an administrator who decided that Blow Pops (which have - take a step back now - GUM INSIDE) make a really great "reward" for misbehaving students. As in, kids jerking around. SHe called these kids in for an assembly, warned them about the right behaviors, and then... (insert drum roll which announces the No-bell Poop Prize) she hands each kid a Blow Pop. And then tells them they can eat in class! Which they did, with much great smacking.


At 2/24/07, 6:55 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

Every school, in every town.....it all seems to be the same crap happening. To the decline of our nation, the buck just gets passed. Hey, everyone who has a principal or other administrative experten making teaching more diffcult, send a dollar to Ms. Cornelius so she can retire, buy a ranch back in OK and write her memoirs. :-)

At 2/24/07, 10:29 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

AWWWWWWWW..... Thanks, Polski and teacher with a toddler....

At 2/24/07, 10:59 PM, Blogger QuakerDave said...

Peeving me right now? Got an hour?:

- Having a "no gum" rule and finding gum stuck under the top of virtually every desk in my classroom.

- Helicopter parents (hoveringhoveringhovering...)

- Kids who want "the grade" w/o doing any of "the work."

- Colleagues who have legitimate, grievable gripes (I am the union building rep), but who "don't want to rock the boat." So they go along with whatever is thrust upon them (sometimes in clear violation of the contract) without telling anyone, so then the violation becomes past practce and we are all... screwed.

- Administrators taking polls to see what staff think about something (we know something big is coming, probably block scheduling), asking us for input and opinions when we all bloddy well know that they (the mullahs) will be doing whatever they bloody well want to do no matter what we say.

- Stae-mandated/NCLB legislated testing, arriving at my door in three weeks. Pass the Pepto. For the kids, not me.

Thanks for the ranting space. I feel so much better now.

At 2/25/07, 2:29 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

The gum thing drives me nuts as well (what a moron for an administrator giving out blowpops). However, we have an administrator who's formed The After School Gum Scraping Club for offenders who get caught with gum. It makes a heck of a better impression on them than detention. They're given globes, putty knives and assigned a classroom to clean all desk and chairs. Many of them are so grossed out that they swear they'll never chew gum again. Interestingly enough, I've never seen a second time offender in the "Club".

At 2/25/07, 9:32 PM, Blogger QuakerDave said...

And about why we should ban all electronics from our schools:


Read all of it.

At 2/25/07, 9:33 PM, Blogger QuakerDave said...


That's the rest. Sorry.


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