When I think about the horrible teacher I was forced to team-teach with for six weeks



Bahahaha ohh man I know that feel.

My co-op had children my age, so she treated me like a child.  She talked in this little voice that made everything she say sound passive-aggressive.  She criticized the way I sat at the desk and how messy my handwriting was.  The students left at 3:30 and she told me that teacher’s don’t leave after school and wouldn’t let me leave until 5:00 at the earliest even though the building was empty by 4.  She only let me leave early when I had collegiate choir, and even then she huffed about it saying that it “wasn’t as important”, even thought I got a grade for it.

Once, She sat me down for an HOUR AND A HALF after school to criticize my wardrobe!  She told me that I’m only allowed to wear flats with hose, I cannot wear the same color pants more than once a week, and I cannot wear a scarf more than a few days because I needed to wear necklaces!  When I told her that I’m college student on a budget, she told me to go to goodwill and buy more pants!  This was also funny because she had a style bad enough to be on What Not to Wear.

She would scan my lesson plans and make me redo them if she didn’t like the font size or thought my sentences didn’t sound right to her to her or she didn’t want a period there (at the end of sentence…?).  She made me write out every single step (including what kid I asked questions to!) and got mad when I didn’t follow it perfectly.  She would comment when my voice would crack or if I didn’t stay perfectly in tune when singing with the kids.  She was allowed to miss notes on the piano but I had to be perfect. I had a mild allergy attack one morning and could barely open my eyes, so I called out.  I got chastised like crazy the next day with her saying that “teachers can’t just call out”. WHICH IS NOT TRUE AT ALL.

When she met my college supervisor, she pulled her aside privately in the back room and began to CRY saying that I’m defensive and won’t take criticism and she was “just trying to help” me.  My supervisor bought her sob story, refused to believe the truth from my mouth, and almost failed me (you need a B to pass and she said she didn’t want to give it to me).

I hated that woman more than words could explain.  But I now I am a professional doing a job that this woman could NEVER have survived in, so that is enough satisfaction for me. Success is the best revenge.

(via adventuresofastudentteacher)

3.30.14. teaching,teacher,education,


I know teachers aren’t supposed to care about being liked.

But when an entire classroom full of children tells their teacher that they don’t like your class, you wonder what you are doing wrong.

You can give 110% and sometimes it still isn’t enough.

And it hurts.

3.01.14. teaching,education,teacher,


Testing Overload

In October, we had our first practice assessment. 2 days.

In December, we had our second practice assessment. 2 days.

We are currently doing Mock MSA. 2 days.

MSA is coming up. 3 days including science.

Then we have a post-assessment assessment (I’m not kidding) in Mayish. 2 more days.

I’ve also been hearing we’re going to do some of the PARC assessment, so who knows how many days that will add.

In total, that is 11 days of testing. That is OVER two full weeks of school that we lose due to testing.

And they respond by making Maryland schools go back to school a week or even two weeks before schools in other states and make them stay a week after everyone lets out (and this is without snow days).

For example, Last year, my brother had almost a full week of snow days and we didn’t have any. My school year ended a day AFTER his.

2.19.14. education,teaching,testing,teacher,


Laws give students the right to be violent against teachers

Turns out, where I teach, teachers have basically no protection from student violence.

I don’t know who did it, but someone made the most horrible, anti-teacher laws ever.

If you “impede a student’s forward motion” and they hit you, it is your fault!
What does that mean, exactly?

Well, a teacher at my man’s school was in the way of a student going to his locker. She told him that he couldn’t go to his locker. He literally shoved her out of his way. When she took him to the principal, he said that he couldn’t do anything because she “impeded his forward motion”.

Which means a kid can walk around your room whenever they want, go wherever they, and walk out your door whenever they want and if you get in their way they are ALLOWED TO HIT YOU. If you press charges the police WILL DO NOTHING.


If you get in the way of students fighting aka. try to break it out, help out, just get too close, etc, and you get hit, it is YOUR FAULT. BAD TEACHER. If you complain, they will DO NOTHING because it is somehow your fault!


If a student has an IEP for ANY reason, they can only be suspended for 10 days. This INCLUDES violence against a teacher. A student leaned down and punched me in the foot one day. He only went home for half a day. He kicked two other teachers and was back in class in FIVE MINUTES. I’ve heard of IEP kids sexually harassing girls and teachers, spitting on teachers, flipping desks, refusing to go to class, etc. and only getting in trouble when they are caught with a weapon or smoking.

And they wonder why urban schools have high turnover. They wonder why urban schools are going to shit. They wonder why there is violence in the classroom.


I need a new job.

2.10.14. teaching,teacher,education,


Sometimes the kiddos prove to me that they know more than I thought

First graders were doing a worksheet I made practicing their note-writing skills. They were being good so I put some music on. I told them that we were going to listen to music from different cultures.

I put on some West African drumming. Immediately, one of the students who is from the Ivory Coast and is still learning English (her parents are super cool and buy her lots of books to help her learn the language) runs up to me, taps me, and says, “That’s from where I’m from!” with a big smile. Which was cool.

We listened to some Samba (we had to quit because they kept dancing lol) and some Native American drumming, and then I put on some Scottish bagpipe music. I put it on and then I hear some voices going, “Ohhhhhh I know this!” Of course, I didn’t believe them so I asked. One little girl goes “Yeah they dance like this!” and stands up and starts tapping her feet really fast on the floor. Another girl joins her “Yeah it’s like this with the feet!”

They were Riverdancing.

I was so shocked I almost hugged them.

2.08.14. music,teaching,teacher,


Fantasia Day in music class!

The kids love the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the Steadfast Tin Soldier best. The little ones will actually gasp and point and laugh and cheer along with it. They don’t realize until the end that there aren’t any words!

One of the big things about being an urban music teacher is exposure. These kids are exposed to so little, culturally and musically. They don’t know a lot about anything that isn’t right in their yard basically. So part of my job is to just let them listen or watch or explore things they aren’t used to hearing or seeing. They actually surprised me at how much they enjoyed the Nutcracker.

I notice often that if a non-musical administrator came into my room, they would have no idea what I was doing. My principal is starting to figure it out but other people look confused, since a lot of them see singing, dancing, moving, watching, and listening as “not work”. The just need some enlightenment.

2.04.14. teacher,teaching,fantasia,


Dear Mr President:

How DARE you commend Race to the Top and say how great it is but then say that students are not a test score on a Scan-tron? Do you not understand that Race to the Top is ALL about test scores and schools with lower schools don’t get the funding? How can you blatantly lie about that right on the TV? Are people really that uninformed about what goes on in their own children’s schools?

All of these idiots in our government only care about numbers and money. The talk on and on about kids being individuals and not being test scores but then they keep making legislation about test scores! There is no “raising expectations”. It’s, “We don’t think your scores are good enough so you better make them better or we’ll take your funding or shut down your school!”

Mr President, if you are so concerned with the African American people and their advancement, then why do you turn your back on majority-black urban schools and their teachers? You talk about immigration reform, but you ignore the students that are thrown into our buildings that can’t speak a word of English and how they have to adjust. Your politics ignore reality.

Nobody gives a shit about poverty and the culture that surrounds it. Nobody cares that students buy into this idea of easy money and drugs instead of school. Nobody cares that the kids don’t get food at home or are homeless. They don’t care that CPS won’t investigate unless there are very bad physical marks on a kid, and even then they still might not ever investigate. They don’t care that kids are pushed through grades because it is SO hard to get them held back. They don’t care that violent children are in our rooms because too many suspensions make the school “look bad”. They make the kids lose weeks of education to take tests, and tack on more weeks of school into the summer to “make up for it”.

When the kids do badly, it can’t possible be their homes or their culture or poverty! Oh no, it must be us bad evil teachers! So they create more hoops for teachers to jump through. Now we have to do extra data and goals called SLOs that are 35% of our yearly evaluations! If your kids struggle to make the goal, you must be a bad teacher! OH WAIT. And now they have the kids take a SURVEY about you and it counts toward your evaluation! So if you are tough and make the kids work hard, they can lie and bash you and nobody will question!

Teaching jobs all over have been cut. The arts have been destroyed. New teachers and fighting with experienced teachers for jobs, so we’re stuck in the urban schools. The kids and the administration and the culture burn us out and we quit. 50% of teachers quit before their 5th year. Does that make you proud, Mr. President? We endure verbal and sometimes physical harassment, administration that doesn’t care, and rules and laws that protect violent children and not us. We endure parents that don’t give a shit. We endure parents who will threaten you. We can’t even live in the neighborhoods we teach in because they are so dangerous. Are you proud of what I do, Mr. President? Do you support the 20-something teachers who come in ready to change the world and leave broken and cynical? Do you care about us?

So Mr, President, instead of going to the Costco that was near my school yesterday, you should have visited one of the hundreds of schools in my county. Maybe then you could open your eyes to see what is going on and what we are dealing with.

But you don’t care. None of you do.

1.30.14. teaching,education,president,obama,teacher,


How our country designs urban schools and their children to fail

- Massive stress is placed on standardized testing

- Teachers are forced to teach to the test because if the kids don’t do well, it makes the school and teacher “fail”

- In many states, including Maryland, student’s “growth” (aka test scores) determine 50% of a teacher’s observation. So if you are a great teacher but your students have behavioral problems or are chronically absent or are too tired or too hungry or have a special need or are ESL and don’t test well, then you are seen as inadequate and can be fired for it.  

- When they have to teach to the tests, students lose out on social studies, health, and science until grade 5 or higher

- The arts and technology are being cut for budget and because they “don’t help with testing” even though it’s proven, for example, that music class helps students score better on reading and math

- Students who are ESL and special needs have to take the same test and their scores are counted with the other students, which makes the overall scores go down

- A student with an IEP is legally NOT allowed to held back for ANY reason, so kids who can’t even spell their own name have to take these standardized tests once they hit grade three.

- ESL and special needs students can excel in music and art but there is so much pressure put on testing that it makes them feel like failures when they can’t keep up

- There are 3 pre-tests and a post test AFTER the actual test, which takes away almost a month of instruction in the mornings.  This makes the students very irritable and tired and increases behavioral issues.

- New tests are created constantly so that the testing companies make more and more money and force teachers to buy more materials from them.  They also keep making tests harder so that urban schools will have to spend more money and take more time to figure them out. 

- Urban schools are incredibly under-funded so that students who need an aide or a psychologist or some other help either won’t get it or they’ll get it once or twice a week because that aide/professional/counselor/special ed person has to shared with a bunch of other schools. 

- Schools have resorted to adding extra weeks or hours onto the school day.  This makes it hard for parents to get babysitters or take them to school so the kids just end up staying home.  The earlier weeks and the longer days make the students more frustrated and more tired and, when they are older, more likely to drop out.  They also do not pay the teachers any extra for this time or these weeks. 

- New rules have changed suspensions.  Suspensions make schools “look bad”, so they will do whatever they can to keep a student in school.  In my fiance’s middle school, a student can cuss out a teacher and threaten them and they will only get a slap on the wrist and will be back in the teacher’s room the next day unless they have a weapon.  While other means of punishment should be looked at, there are students with severe enough actions that they need to be kept away for the safety of their peers and teachers. 

- Many urban schools under a certain number of students do not have a nurse

- Class sizes are monstrous because the schools don’t have enough money to employ enough teachers, so the teachers that are there have classes of 30-40 students and are expected to be able to give each child individualized attention, which is not possible. 

- Teachers are stuck using out of date materials and many have to buy their own pencils, paper, and other supplies for their children. 

And finally, when all of these things happen and a school is “failing”, the media and the government turn and blame everything on teachers and the union and tenure and they brainwash the public to go along with it so that nobody finds out the truth. 

8.22.13. teaching,urban school,teacher,education,educator,WAKE UP,




the legend

This makes me so happy, and yet so sad.

He was smart, he was a writer (you could tell by his phrasing) and this is something he TRULY cares about. That boy has a heart and he cares. He sees the truth for what it is and he refuses to sit idly and watch as the youth of america just stumbles by.

BUT the teacher was done. She didn’t care. She was fed up.

BUT the students were uncaring, even laughing, as this young man walked out

BUT this video was put online to be deemed as a joke and embarrass that boy.

THAT is unexceptionable

THAT is not right.

If you are this young gentleman  if you are his relative, or if you have ever done something similar.

I am so proud of you

To take your opinion and share. NOT ONCE did he threaten her, NOT ONCE did he raise his voice above a proper projection so that the class could hear his words  NOT ONCE did he insult her in any means past how she was behaving with her job. He didn’t undermine her. He didn’t hurt her, and yet he gave his message and left in peace.

That makes him a true, undeniable, super hero in my eyes.

Thank you sir.

You people need to stop.

The fact that you call this man a superhero shows that you have lost any and all respect for teachers.

It’s funny how we have shows like the Office that show people fed up with their jobs and normal and funny, but when a teacher is fed up with their job everyone has something to say.

The majority of teachers quit before their 5th year of teaching.  What other public-paid profession is like this?   

You say this kid really cares about his education, but he’s an 18-year-old sophomore drop-out.  He wanted to make a scene.  He wanted to humiliate his teacher.  This video wasn’t taken to humiliate him.  It was taken to humiliate HER.  He easily could have approached her after class.  But he didn’t.  Doing this is 100000% disrespectful. 

Some schools have a verbatim curriculum.  This means that the teacher has to read through a script while teaching and give out exactly what she has to.  We don’t know if this is one of those situations.  I am lucky as a teacher because I have freedom in my curriculum.  She may not.  You don’t know.

I know I am also lucky because if a kid did this in my classroom, the kids would have looked at him like he was nuts. There would be no taping.  He would have got in trouble for defiance and insubordination.  They would have told him what I just said: “You could have done this privately”.

I don’t care if you agree with what he is saying; the way he came about this is wrong.  You don’t know the situation of him or her. You don’t know if she really is lazy or she is beat down by kids/parents/administration  (I’m guessing administration is part of it because this kid didn’t even get a slap on the wrist). 

Everyone and their sister has an opinion on education.  Lots of people like to judge teachers as a whole because they thought one class was lame (yeah, I know these people).  But guess what; until you have come in and done my job, you have no idea.

This kid is not a superhero. 

(Source: whorals, via manatheology)

5.19.13. teaching,education,teacher,


Some things i have discovered while urban teaching music

Fifth graders do not like Metallica.  First graders do, especially “Enter Sandman”. 

Bluegrass > country

Fifth graders like Verdi’s “Dies Irae”

You will be begged to watch Annie

Boys are more open to the Nutcracker if you show them sections where the male is lifting the female a lot (ex. The Arabian Dance)

If you talk about how ballet dancers dance on their toes, be prepared for half the class (mostly boys) to try it and fall on the ground. 

Students will whine about doing rhythm cards until you put a backbeat to it.

Students like to show off; bring in an audience (principal/teacher/secretary/ etc) and they will automatically use their best effort. PS It’s not just you; they will do it to everyone

If you have a dreidel in your hand, their listening skills multiply X3

Young children will dance to anything

Turn it into a game and they will learn it much faster

Kids can pronounce my name easily and will correct adults

You will want to scoop a few kids up and take them home instead of giving them back to their parents

The child has been molded by the parent; children are not “bad” by default

Instruments are a good bribing method

Hugs will make your day

Sometime all kids need is someone who will listen
And the stories they have will break your heart

With music, sometimes the best way to teach is just through exposure 

Play is often a greater teaching tool than you gabbing

Seeing children teach each other while you simply monitor makes you feel like Superman

Seeing other teachers as exasperated as you are makes you feel a heck of a lot better

Children can have two faces; one with their peers, and one with you.  The second one is the more honest one. 

If you play/sing for your kids, it will probably blow their minds

Not every day will be productive, especially during testing or right before a break. That’s okay. 

Lesson plans are not set in stone.  Not even close. 

I stutter a lot and the kids either don’t notice or don’t care

Utilize student helpers; make it something to be earned rather than something given for a favorite

IF you feel crappy, remember how you felt your first day and realize how far you have come. 

Possibly TBC

4.25.13. teaching,education,teacher,