Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tourette’s


Somebody noticed. Finally. One of our teachers finally emailed the “team” last night…
“We had a long night with (student). Hopefully, some good came out of it. He was angry about doing homework--as usual. He also spends a lot of time telling us that our information about his homework is wrong—another words, he is backed in a corner and he tries to lie his way out of it. Long story short: he tore up the Civil War letter he was writing; blamed me for driving him to it; I got in his face, like you told me to (teacher) :) and said that I am fed up. I began looking up information online about military schools. He broke down and cried so hard that he could not catch his breath. He agreed to talk but only wanted to talk to me.

I had a LONG discussion about what is bothering him--it is all personal problems between Alex and some people from (excelerated) Program. Something happened over the summer that he has been upset about all year. He said that it is on his mind constantly and he cannot focus on anything else. He was very vulnerable and honest during this conversation. He even told me that by the end of the day, he has so much pent-up frustration that he ends up taking it out on me.

After all of the drama died down, he willingly worked on the Civil War letter and finished it. Glad it is done but once again it will be turned in late. He really did study for the science test that he failed. I do not know what went wrong there. I thought things were improving in English but now he has a D.

Tomorrow, (his dad) is calling (student)’s doctor to get (student) back on ADHD medicine. We took him off it because his Tourette’s seems to flare up when he is on it. Also, he was not showing any signs of being more focused. The ticks are noisy sometimes and drives other people crazy. Yet, maybe it will help pull him through the rest of the year. He does not think it will but said that he is willing to try--even with the tick issue.

We'll see...Thanks for all your support. I would be completely lost without you.”

So it was – and never has been – just me but I was getting the blame. For all of it. I am going to save this email because it verifies my own case. I WANT to help this young man. He and his dad have talked several times in the past about his son. The mom and I have been friends for years and my wife has known her for years. I am not trying to crucify him; I just want to get him to work and on to high school.

But it seems EVERYONE has had problems. As I have talked to other teachers, his work as suffered big time and in most of them he currently has a “U” – mine too.

I really like this young man and he makes my day everyday. He jokes, laughs, and tells some great stories. I hope he gets the help he needs.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

SpEd or not to SpEd


What do you do when you REALLY want to help some students but the administration will not let you? From past experience, I know what they need and I know OW to help them, but I am being turned away every chance I try to do something. I know what a REAL 504 plan looks like and WHAT it does, I know what a REAL SpEd form should do but according to my school “we don’t have special education students”. I KNOW better but my hands are tired.

I know that when these students hit the public school system next year they will be referred and evaluated but according to “OUR” school they are not SpEd nor are they listed as 504. Sure we have a 504 form but it is not the same form the public school uses nor is it accomplishing what it SHOULD accomplish!

My hands feel so tired every day so I just have to make the best of a back situation. According to my school “we have the post top students in the area” but I know that is not so. We have the most academically motivated students in the area”, which I know is not true. “Our students will all go to college and become doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc, I also know that is not true”. It might have ben true years ago but over the last 10 years or so they have filled the enrollment with whoever will pay the bills.

They need to open their eyes and smell the roses and the stink weeds. Look around you. We have the same student population that the public schools have, drawn from the same students the public schools have. Maybe not as many of the ones the public school has to deal with but we DO have them!

Sooner than they want to, this school better open their eyes. I have only been here a year and a half and I see students that in my ‘old school’ would have been classified as special ed or at least lebeled as 504 and helped through the system. I don’t have a problem helping. I started in SpEd and over the years I have always worked with Sped teachers because they knew I would help these kids get the education t hey would need. But here I am being told to shut up and just go with the flow. I don’t like that.

Last year I had a students who is now paying for her educational problems in high school. This year I have four students will pay big time in high school if they get there. Which is another thing. THEY WILL GET THERE because we are not allowed to fail them because mom and dad have paid big money for them to get an education.

This is so sad but what can I do? I can only do so much before I am the one to lose my job. And that would do the others any good!
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As I read thru many of the other blogs here I keep finding that most NEVER post anything. Now some do, but MOST don't.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tweaking


I have been shopping around TpT for the last couple of weeks looking for things that I can “tweak” and make my own. It is not because the items are not good enough; it is because NONE of them fit my needs. You know that feeling. At least that’s the way my own brain works. I? NEVER tweak them then post them back on TpT but after I tweak them I may sent the “tweaked” item to a colleague for them to try out and use.

I am sorry but if I bought the item, spent my own time tweaking them and making it fit Louisiana history then I figure I will share it. I have done the same thing for the Civil War projects I have found, explorer’s projects, newspaper items, graphic novel ideas, etc. They all seem to have worked well with my own class but I want someone else to try them. Most have been successful with them also.

There are so many on TpT and some I have found on the elementary side and tweaked them UP and some I found on the high school side which I had to tweak DOWN just a bit. They all have work well. Some I have used and then I had to tweak them again because they just did not work well in my own environment but “hey, what can I say”. It is “live and learn”.

It is a lot like this blog. I wish I knew what would make people read and learn from it but people don’t so I just go on and do “my thing” and help the other teacher here in Louisiana – and there are lots of us who need info about I state and projects worksheets, lesson, power-points, etc and I just keep on sharing them. At some point in the future I will pass on to the classroom in the sky and people will have to do without my assistance.

But for now I will just keep on ‘reinventing’ and ‘tweaking’ thing I buy and making them fit Louisiana history.