The other day we had parent teacher conferences – 8 solid hours of mania. So much happened, I really don’t know where to begin… Going into the event, everyone, including my CI, warned me that none of the parents we wanted to see would come. My reaction? There’s no way. The day before I personally called 24 different sets of parents/guardians/family members, and after hearing several “of course I’ll be there’s,” I figured I would prove them all wrong. The day of, we sat at our little booth, and I patiently waited to prove everyone wrong. Parents did come by – AP Parents that is. Hours were spent talking to parents whose students had 98’s, 99’s and even the occasional 89 in our classes. But the parents I called? Not a single one showed up. Out of all our classes, only one student showed up from a non-AP class – and that wasn’t even a student who really needed to come. The rest were all parents from AP’s, who coincidentally all had kids acing our classes.

I don’t particularly enjoy being proven wrong, but this instance was even more exacerbating. Every parent I called had a student who had either an F or a D in the class. Since government is a class that students HAVE to pass in order to graduate,  I thought there might be a little motivation there for parents to want to help there kids succeed. Yet, no one showed. I understand that some people have to work, or maybe lack transportation – but there are ways around it. Call, email, send a note in – help us out here! I’ve got several kids who are emancipated, or even homeless and I think that situation is one where I can understand that odds are no one can, or will come in for them. But come on, parents who are there and able to come in – at some point, the responsibility is on them. As a teacher, I can effect what’s going on in the confines of my classroom, but I can’t make your kid do homework, or study, or anything outside of it. Success in school is something that extends out of the classroom, and getting parents cooperation makes that easier for teachers and students. With these parents that won’t come in, or return calls, I’m at a loss. My teacher is used to teaching in this school system, and has gotten pretty used to it, but my skin just isn’t tough enough for it yet. It does bother me, and as she so eloquently told me while trying to convince me to let it go, “Beyond knocking on their doors, what else can we do?” We have done everything in our power to contact them, and I guess the ball is in their court. But even now, thinking of how unfair it is to those kids, it still does bother me. Is there a way to encourage their involvement, or is it really something I just need to give up on?

Oh, and the other non-frustrating thought – it is so weird seeing how much kids and their parents look alike. Yes, that sounds obvious, but it really is the weirdest thing when a parent walks up and you feel like you’re looking at an older version of your student. It’s like living in Benjamin Button world.

1 comment
5th period – where my hopes and dreams go to die.
Posted by newbie-tchr at 2:34 pm in Wondering

Am I being dramatic? maybe. Is there a class that’s caused me to get retail therapy two-three times a week? Definitely. At bare minimum, my wallet hates my 5th period. Now going into this whole process, I was told that I’d be dealing with problem students, problem classes, problems in general, blah blah blah. And I’d like to think that I’ve rolled with the punches in regards to a lot of those problems. I’ve worked with students who are always tardy, skip entirely, have troubled home situations, reading problems etc. But how in the world do you help students who don’t want help? My students in this period are almost split in half – one half are good, sweet children who genuinely want help on work and want to learn and get a good grade. The other half – I don’t know where to begin. I have a group of 5-6 girls, who of course are leaders, and are both disrespectful and dont.stop.talking.ever.

I’m trying to take proactive steps by having my University supervisor come in and observe that class that way I can get some feedback on it. Not to mention that my Cooperating Teacher is there almost every day to observe what’s going on – but even she is in shock at how disrespectful and off-task these girls can be, and unfortunately it drags the rest of the class down. Beyond sending a student out in the hall or even to the office, does ANYONE have any ideas or suggestions in dealing with little darling children with severe attitude problems? Beyond, of course, what would be get me fired and or removed from student teaching.



This past week was my first time in my student teaching placement, and was full of classroom decorating (so fun), syllabus planning and lots, and lots, of teacher workshops. The school district I’m in has embraced what they call “21st Century Teaching,” aka catching up in technology and incorporating it in the classroom. (Loved it, great idea – but I do think that if I heard wiki one more time I would have poked my eye out.) The workshops they put on were amazingly awesome, and I have to admit that they were far from what I expected. The teachers in my team had spent hours telling me funny, but true, stories of how bad workshops in years past had been, and even they were surprised to see what the district had put together.

For the most part, the presentations and workshops were put on by two very respected companies, November Learning and Stratalogica. The speaker, Alan November, was both practical and motivating – he even had the teachers try out a lot of the tools he was discussing during his presentation. The workshops preceding were equally informative, and I’ll include links to some of the tools he offered at the bottom of this post. Take one, pass it on:)

Beyond my own infatuation with the workshops, there were two different reactions to this I noticed: half the faculty was really excited, the other half looked ready to die. I know that technology can be a difficult thing to learn – my mom still calls me asking how to turn the DVD player on. I’ve been out of the house for 5 years and am 3,000 miles away. Has she stopped calling? No. Why learn how to turn it on when someone else can do it for you – even if it’s over the phone? So from personal experience with my lovely momma, I get it. What surprised me was that when it came time to pick workshops, all the panic-strickened faculty avoided the technology options like the plague. Why is it that when presented with an opportunity to learn about the clearly unknown, these people were the first to bail? In all seriousness, if you know the answer – don’t hesitate to comment, I’m still curious.

The second thing noticed was more about how the process of learning to be a teacher has changed, thanks to technology. Only a 5-6 years removed from the eldest kids we’re teaching, my cohort of fellow student teachers probably qualify in that category of “21st century learners.” In grad school, there is a large focus on incorporating technology – we even had to take a “Teaching with technology” class to graduate. Technology is incorporated in almost every class, using SMARTboards to teach, online assessments and collaboration, even clickers in class for formative assessments. Technology has seeped into teacher education, making it impossible for new teachers such as myself to picture educating students without it. Taking into consideration the reaction of some of the teachers in the field to technology – it will definitely be an interesting dynamic to watch.

For those curious, here are some of the resources given to us during this week – I highly recommend checking them out and seeing if you can use them in your classroom!

  1. – great way to use kid’s obsession with cell phones to your advantage!

  2. Titan Pad – This is great for chats with large groups of people, but be careful – without oversight, can lead to a lot of off topic discussions. This review from TeachersFirst describes it in greater detail.

  3. PrimaryPad – same thing as Titanpad but allows drawing!

  4. Khan Academy – endless resources, the link leads to another review from TeachersFirst

  5. Itunes U – in your Itunes store, this resource is towards the bottom of the page and hosts thousands of podcasts and any and all academic subjects.

  6. Maps of War – great for us History teachers!

  7. Student News Action – a really great place to find resources from all over the world on a variety of topics


Take One. Pass it on.