Showing posts with label Students. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Students. Show all posts

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Are YOU Privileged?

A few weeks ago as I was visiting many of the teacher blogs I have on one of my blogrolls at History Is Elementary I saw The Privilege Meme over at Confessions From the Couch. I thought it was interesting.

Miss A explains this meme is to help examine privileges/social class. The meme comes from What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University.

If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright. To participate, copy and paste…then unbold my responses to make your own.

Bold the items that apply to you:

1. Father went to college

2. Father finished college

3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers. (same)

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.

9. Were read children’s books by a parent.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 (art, piano)

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18. (had one with Dad’s name)

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs. (before I got married)

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

16. Went to a private high school

17. Went to summer camp (flag corp)

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home

25. You had your own room as a child

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18

27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course (I don’t think they existed in the olden days)

28. Had your own TV in your room in high school

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16

31. Went on a cruise with your family

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

I bolded 22 out of 34. I guess that would make me priviledged, however, I didn’t always feel that way as I went through school. I didn’t live in a subdivision like all of my friends. We didn’t drive the newest cars, and we ate fairly simply. The home I lived in sat in the middle of lumberyard where my father worked as the manager, and I had a railroad track running 500 feet in front of my house---a craftsman style bungalow built around 1929.

There were no hallways in my home that sat up on stacked bricks, and the heat came from a gas furnace with only one grate. Most cold mornings would find me huddled with my sister over the furnace as the hot air would blow up our flannel nightgowns. It was so warm, and we’d stand there giggling telling each other we were pregnant with our nightgowns all blowed out.

Privileged? I guess….according to the list and when placed side by side with others I guess I was, HOWEVER, doesn’t it really depend on your generation?

If my father played this little game he would leave many items unbolded yet his family during their heyday were very priviledged and had many things others didn’t. They had land holdings, they owned their home, they ate off their own land, and today he can do anything he wants. He made an extremely good living without a college education.

Looking at this from his generation’s point of view I guess the definition of privilege changes every so often as our society changes. I do this this sort of exercise is helpful to get an idea where people you deal with everyday might be coming from. These types of things can be a help when trying to deal with children from poverty backgrounds…..backgrounds that are very foreign to me.

One of the best resources (books and tapes) that I have ever used to help me get my head around the implications of poverty and its effects on education is Dr. Ruby K. Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Not only is she a very entertaining speaker the exercises in her book and workbook gave me a totally different mindset regarding some of my students.

If you've never experienced Ruby Payne I highly suggest you get your hands on some of her videos......The experiences she relates are simply a scream at times. Since most of us find ourselves in difficult situtuations most of the time it is helpful to have a giggle.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Name Calling

As I get older I find that I can’t remember names like I used to. Seating charts and assignned seats help, but when you make the August transformation from the serenity of your home cave to the rowdiness and confusion of the first few days of school it’s difficult to get a fix on five different groups of kids.

No matter how how I try I always end up saying things like,
“Hey, you….Hey kid……you there in the yellow shirt…” or “Yo, blonde girl…”, or my personal favorite name calling fiasco…

“Jim, will you answer number 3?”


“Jim, what about three?

“Yo! Jim?”

“Earth to Jim…”

I finally walk over to Jim. Jim looks up. “Jim, now that we have your attention, can you answer number three for us?”

“Sure, Mrs. EHT, but my name’s not Jim.”

I barely get out the word “Oh”as I slink back over to my stool amidst titters and downright guffaws.

How cold and cruel can they be? Somebody had to know his name wasn’t Jim. I know I have a Jim around here somewhere.....Why didn't he speak up? Is it May yet?

Well, my fine young charges had drawn a line in the …..carpet…..and I couldn’t let them continue to get the best of me.

While we finished going over our lesson questions I just pointed to students as I called on them and mentally hatched out my plot. I vowed to never forget a name as long as the school year lasted, or until I die, whichever should occur first.

We had a few minutes of time left before the end of class so I dove into my closet and pulled out my box of old, used file folders and the brand, spanking new boxes of Crayolas I had unpacked during pre-planning. I really hated to pull those Crayons out because I knew in mere seconds I would never see the boxes again, and the poor stubby sticks of color would wind up in the huge bin of forlorn and broken crayon pieces in the back of the room.

It was my mental health or the integrity of my Crayolas. My mental health won....

The kids, of course, erupted into choruses of “Hey, EHT, what cha’ doin’?” Some of the more antsey ones were already up on their knees trying to get a better view. Then the guessing began.

“I bet we’re gonna draw.”

“What are we gonna color?”

“Can we do it the way we want?”

“Are these going in the hall?”

“Do we have to draw?”

I grabbed a pair of scissors and began to cut each side of the file folders into neatly trimmed rectangles while they continued to throw out guesses. Finally, I sat on my stool…mainly to see if they remembered one of the quiet signals I had gone over earlier. Within seconds they were quiet, and I picked up a rectangle and began to tell them what we were going to do.

Yep…..we made deskplates, and here are the results….

I tell students they can keep them in the pocket of their folders, and at the end of every nine weeks those students that still have their nameplates will receive an ice cream on me from the cafeteria. Many still have them at the end of the year. They think they are smart because they manage to get four free ice creams out of me, but I like to think I’m the smart one because I don’t have to say, “Hey….Hey you…..!”

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Good and Bad...A Week Before Christmas Break

The Bad…..they’re dropping like flies. Some sort of stomach ailment is traveling around giving bad tummies, fevers, and headaches. I wrote so many passes to the office this morning I was afraid somebody would think I was trying to empty my room. I’ve been on the fringes of the travelin’ crud myself, but since it’s a near impossibility to secure a sub I’m trudging on……

The Good…presents! So far I’ve amassed lots of sweet homemade cards, hugs, a mini-snowglobe and bear figurine from the dollar store, raspberry vanilla and cherry blossom products from Bath and Body Works, a bag of fruit, and a nice watch. One gift was particularly unusual…..I received a battery operated pencil sharpener in the shape of a monster. You put your pencil in his mouth to sharpen it. When you’re done he burps. The young man that gave it to me said, “I gave it to you because you have a good sense of humor.” Another student spoke up and said, “Yeah, you’d get it….you’d think it was funny.” I did get it. I did think it was funny. What my gift giver didn’t realize is the best gift he gave me was telling me he thinks I have a good sense of humor. My students understand me. After the thirtieth burp, however, I don’t know if my sense of humor will still be intact.

The Bad…tempers are short. Kids who have tolerated each other suddenly have had enough and are telling each other off right and left. This leads to shoving desks, shoving chairs and shoving each other. Name calling is high on the activity list, and being in a state of constant alert for everyone’s safety is a little exhausting.

The Good…I have earned a new reputation among students, especially the boys, as a tolerable linebacker. Earlier this week one of my young men became a bit too aggressive during a friendly game of football. He didn’t like the way a play had gone and pushed another boy rather hard two or three times. I began walking towards them telling the first boy to stop several times. The boy being pushed puts his hands up and backed away, but the pusher kept after him. I basically ended up tackling the pusher from behind and held him in a restraint hold to get him to calm down. Once things calmed down one of the boys hollered, “Nice tackle, Elementaryhistoryteacher! Ya wanna play?” The news must have gotten around because several students in other grades mentioned hearing about my “tackle”. I won’t hold my breath….I don’t think the Atlanta Falcons will be calling anytime soon.

The Bad…coordinating a pizza order for 100 students for our non-party, movie watching event on Friday, sweating out the delivery of our presents we ordered for students on-line, end of term paperwork, grading, coordinating exams when students are absent from school more than they are in, and adding the extra load of completing 96 certificates for students throughout the entire school who had exemplary behavior during September, October, and November. These were awarded at our PTSO meeting Tuesday night. They took me three days to complete. How do I get roped into these things?

The Good…Our reading teachers have determined our fourth grade has risen an entire level in reading scores since the beginning of the year. Approximately 90 of 100 fourth graders have 10 Accelerated Reader points or more. This is fantastic since none of our students had 10 points during the first term…..our reading teachers pushed the program, motivated the kids, and they surpassed our wildest dreams. In 9 weeks many of my homeroom students have amassed 20, 30, and even 40 points. Most important of all we have noticed that fluency is increasing and comprehension is improving. What a Christmas present!

The two highest students are in my homeroom. One has 69 points while the other has 70. These points for students represent many minutes of independent reading. Today we recognized the top three in each homeroom with pizza. It was nice to have this small group for a special lunch in one the classrooms with us to acknowledge their hard work. Here is a couple of pictures of our top students.


The young man on the left is my "pencil sharpener guy".


S0….it’s finally here. The final day before break, and I haven’t even started my shopping yet.

The Carnival of Education---Edition 97 is up over at the Education Wonks. Go see the best and brightest in the edublogosphere!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Moment

As a teacher of nine and ten year olds I understand the importance of gaining and holding attention in the classroom since this is the crux of a successful lesson. Unfortunately, classrooms are filled with many different kinds of attention stealers.

Students tune me out while they communicate with each other by covert note writing, facial contortions, hand movements, and blatant talking. There are noises in the hallway and outside the window. Special Education students who are emotionally disturbed mimic every word I say under their breath or speak out constantly. There are Johnny Jump-Ups who try to visit their book bag or approach me for passes to the nurse or restroom. Then we have the constant wigglers and the standers. Finally, there is the self-appointed Trashman in training who must throw away his/her collection of paper wads during my lesson instead of taking care of it as they go out the door.

Even with all of these interruptions there are moments, however fleeting, when I have them, ALL OF THEM, in the palm of my hand. The moment comes suddenly and with such force I am instantly rattled. Since I am used to doing up to ten things at a time during a lesson I carry on my lecture while I frantically make sense of the moment. My mind registers that the room is so still I can hear my own heartbeat. Can they hear it? Every child's eyes are on me. The shear responsibility of the moment is almost too much to bare. My mind tries to figure out what it is I said to grab everyone's attention. Maybe I can use it again.

The moment is both exhilarating and scary at the same time. This is my time to present the best nugget of content I can. It's time to step up the plate, be all that I can be, and aspire to other assorted cliches.

Suddenly the classroom phone rings. The Trashman is being called to the office for early check-out. The moment rapidly begins to unravel with frightening speed, and then it's gone leaving me in the chaos of my classroom once again.