May 18, 2007
May 14, 2007
On another note.....Ben has been umpiring games out at the ballpark and making some pretty good money. It is fun to watch him because he is very animated and very loud when he makes his calls. It is good, though because I am so tired of having umpires on the field who never make a sound when someone gets thrown out. I always wonder if the player is safe or out....with Ben making the calls, there is no wondering!
Ben has been diligently trying to finish up our house so we can sell it. It is time for us to move on to something bigger and better.....well, BIGGER at least! I hope it is better! I love our house and we have been here 9 years now, but we are too big for this little starter home. This past weekend Ben put a covered deck on the front of the house, and I think it looks pretty darn good. I am hoping we will have our house on the market by the end of this month, and I also hope it sells quickly.
May 13, 2007
May 10, 2007
This is an interesting take on "No Child Left Behind". Teachers will enjoy it, parents will be informed and politicians should consider it.
No Dentist Left Behind
My dentist is great! He sends me reminders so I don't forget checkups. He uses the latest techniques based on research. He never hurts me, and I've got all my teeth. When I ran into him the other day, I was eager to see if he'd heard about the new state program. I knew he'd think it was great."Did you hear about the new state program to measure effectiveness of dentists with their young patients?" I said.
"No," he said. He didn't seem too thrilled. "How will they do that?" "It's quite simple," I said. "They will just count the number of cavities each patient has at age 10, 14, and 18 and average that to determine a dentist's rating. Dentists will be rated as excellent, good, average, below average, and unsatisfactory. That way parents
will know which are the best dentists. The plan will also encourage the less effective dentists to get better," I said. "Poor dentists who don't improve could lose their licenses to practice."
"That's terrible," he said.
"What? That's not a good attitude," I said. "Don't you think we should try to improve children's dental health in this state?"
"Sure I do," he said, "but that's not a fair way to determine who is practicing good dentistry."
"Why not?" I said. "It makes perfect sense to me."
"Well, it's so obvious," he said. "Don't you see that dentists don't all work with the same clientele, and that much depends on things we can't control? For example, I work in a rural area with a high percentage of patients from deprived homes, while some of my colleagues work in upper middle-class neighborhoods. Many of the parents I work with don't bring their children to see me until there is some kind of problem, and I don't get to do much preventive work. Also many of the parents I serve let their kids eat way too much candy from an early age, unlike more educated parents who understand the relationship between sugar and decay. To top it all off, so many of my clients have well water which is untreated and has no fluoride in it. Do you have any idea how much difference early use of fluoride can make?"
"It sounds like you're making excuses," I said. "I can't believe that you, my dentist, would be so defensive. After all, you do a great job, and you needn't fear a little accountability."
"I am not being defensive!" he said. "My best patients are as good as anyone's, my work is as good as anyone's, but my average cavity count is going to be higher than a lot of other dentists because I chose to work where I am needed most."
"Don't' get touchy," I said
"Touchy?" he said. His face had turned red, and from the way he was clenching and unclenching his jaws, I was afraid he was going to damage his teeth. "Try furious! In a system like this, I will end up being rated average, below average, or worse. The few educated patients I have who see these ratings may believe this so-called rating is an actual measure of my ability and proficiency as a dentist. They may leave me, and I'll be left with only the most needy patients. And my cavity average score will get even worse. On top of that, how will I attract good dental hygienists and other excellent dentists to my practice if it is labeled below average?"
"I think you are overreacting," I said. "'Complaining, excuse-making and stonewalling won't improve dental health'...I am quoting from a leading member of the DOC," I noted.
"What's the DOC?" he asked.
"It's the Dental Oversight Committee," I said, "a group made up of mostly lay persons to make sure dentistry in this state gets improved."
"Spare me," he said, "I can't believe this. Reasonable people won't buy it," he said hopefully.
The program sounded reasonable to me, so I asked, "How else would you measure good dentistry?"
"Come watch me work," he said. "Observe my processes."
"That's too complicated, expensive and time-consuming," I said. "Cavities are the bottom line, and you can't argue with the bottom line. It's an absolute measure."
"That's what I'm afraid my parents and prospective patients will think This can't be happening," he said despairingly.
"Now, now," I said, "don't despair. The state will help you some."
"How?" he asked.
"If you receive a poor rating, they'll send a dentist who is rated excellent to help straighten you out," I said brightly.
"You mean," he said, "they'll send a dentist with a wealthy clientele to show me how to work on severe juvenile dental problems with which I have probably had much more experience? BIG HELP!"
"There you go again," I said. "You aren't acting professionally at all."
"You don't get it," he said. "Doing this would be like grading schools and teachers on an average score made on a test of children's progress with no regard to influences outside the school, the home, the community served and stuff like that. Why would they do something so unfair to dentists? No one would ever think of doing that to schools."
I just shook my head sadly, but he had brightened. "I'm going to write my representatives and senators," he said. "I'll use the school analogy. Surely they will see the point."
He walked off with that look of hope mixed with fear and suppressed anger that I, a teacher, see in the mirror so often lately.
May 8, 2007
8:00--Roger enters classroom calmly and eats breakfast.
9:00--Class goes to cafeteria for Cinco de Mayo celebration.
9:05--Roger kicks chair of kid in front of him and tells him he is going to blow his head off since he can't see around him. He then continues to kick chairs and boo the performers.
9:15--Roger leaves cafeteria kicking chairs on the way. I follow him to monitor his behavior. He wanders aimlessly through the school, janitors closet, and into another classroom knocking over desks before he safely locks himself in a stall in the boys bathroom. (While he is wandering, our counselor is looking at me with the "don't get me involved in this" face and does not offer to help). I get a hand from another staff member on campus and she asks for the principal. I get the principal who talks Roger into coming out of the stall and then puts him in her office.
10:00--assembly is over and Roger is put back in my line to return to class with me.
10:05--class meets with Spanish dancers who teach them how to dance and yell. Roger is ok during this activity, but does not participate much.
10:30--we return to class and Roger tucks himself under the table in the front of my room yelling at the students to "go suck a turtle" and "shut-up" and many other things about their mama's. I get the same staff member from earlier to call the office for me and the principal comes and removes Roger from my room once more.
12:30--I pick class up from lunch and Roger is allowed once again to return to class with me. He climbs on my other students and hits them. I get the Special Ed teacher to take him with her and he reluctantly goes.
1:55--P.E.--Roger is told he cannot attend PE since he has been in trouble, so the Special Ed teacher says she is taking him to the office. I am not in my room since it is my conference period, but I have 2 boys who are in the room cleaning it up for me and getting it ready for dismissal.
2:30--one of the boys in my room comes running out yelling because Roger has come in and is hitting him. I remove the boys from the room, Roger climbs on top of them and continually slaps them in the face. It takes me and another teacher to pull him off of the boys and get him back down to the office.
3:20--Principal tells us our TAKS scores are in for the second round of reading and I go to look at them. I am a bit disappointed at the outcome, and am very overwhelmed from the events of the day so I start crying. The principal gives me a pep talk about how I need to accept that Roger is just a "quirky kid". I go home exhausted, frustrated and angry.
4:00--sleep until 6:00 and then go to my boys baseball game.
Monday morning was about the same as Friday with Roger coming in calmly and eating his breakfast calmly, then came restroom break.
8:30--Roger refused to get up and get in the line for restroom break. He threw 3 pencils and a shoe at another student, so I went and got the principal. She took him to another classroom and left him there.
11:50--Roger joined my class again for lunch. He gave kids wedgies on the way down the hall and continuously slapped them in the line.
12:30--on the way back to the classroom he continued the wedgie giving and slapping of other students. He then refused to enter the classroom and when I closed the door he beat on it and kicked it repeatedly yelling that he was going to "kill us all". I got him back in the other classroom he had been in earlier and left him there.
2:25--it is my conference period and I am out of my room, but I return for a paper and find Roger on top of a table throwing baskets across my room and barking at me like a dog. My lifesavers are also missing from off of my desk (they were given to the teachers for teacher appreciation week). Man, I need to start locking my door.
2:45--dismissal time and Roger puts another kid in a headlock and throws him to the floor. I have another teacher watch my class while I walk him to the office for parent pick-up. He throws himself on the floor in front of the principal and I go back to my class.
I also had my summative conference today where I found out that I need to learn to be less emotional when speaking with the students and get a little tougher (meaning don't cry like I did on Friday). I don't know, but I figure that in just these past 2 days I have described, I put up with more than most people would have put up with in a year.
8:05--Roger enters class.
8:20--Restroom break. Roger fills his hands with staples from the bulletin boards and proceeds to stab other students and me with the staples. He refuses to give up the staples or follow any directions given by me.
8:35--Roger runs around the classroom stabbing other students with staples and asking them if it hurt. If they say no, he scratches them with the staple and laughs. He put the staple in one kids' eye and told him he was going to scratch his eye. I got the staple from him that time before he could do it.
8:40--I evacuate my classroom and wait for help to arrive. He is taken by another teacher.
10:30--He returns to class and continues stabbing others with staples and pencils this time. He runs through the classroom and will not follow directions. He then leaves the class and cannot get back in because I have locked my door, so he kicks the door and beats on it and yells that he is going to kill us all (sound familiar?) When I try to open the door, he pushes it back on me and stomps on my foot.
10:35--another teacher calls for help and Roger leaves the building. He walks across campus and out the gate at the back of the school. The principal comes out and starts talking to him and I go back in to my class.
11:55--lunch time...Roger comes and lines up with my class. He has ink marks all up and down his arms where he has drawn on himself. He then starts to draw on my other students. Another teacher is able to take the pen from him. He then puts another students' head between his knees and jumps up and down pushing the other child's head into the floor. He is laughing the entire time. I finally get between them (there isn't a teacher on duty at lunch line) and am holding Roger off of the other student while the principal comes to get him.
Thankfully, he did not come back in my classroom today during my conference period, but that could be because I had my door locked today.
On top of all this, we got our Math TAKS scores and found out we will be academically unacceptable this year. This is not good news, however I am not surprised by it. It is almost impossible for me to teach with days like this, and I have only described 3 out of the entire year.
If I have bored you to death, I am sorry, but I actually feel better having written it down.