Friday, June 30, 2006

School's out!

...for summer!! (belt it out just like Alice Cooper did!!)

I'm so thankful this year is over. I had a really crappy dummer last year and am looking forward to an amazing one this year. Well, no matter what, it HAS to be better than last year.

Yesterday was commencement. I love watching these young people walk across the stage in their suits, dresses and gowns. Unfortunately we don't order the caps, but that's probably because the kids would steal them. When I graduated high school we had the option of buying them, but I guess the kids just don't want to wear them anymore.

I had the honour of reading names for the students as they received their diplomas. I volunteered to do this because this was the group of kids that started grade 9 at the same time that I started teaching at the school. I have taugh many of these guys for 4 years, sometimes even 5 or 6 times, depending on the course. I was so nervous about reading the names because even though I taught many of them, I rarely paid much attention to the correct pronunciation of their last names!

But, it went perfectly and I didn't feel nervous once I got up there. The fact that when I was introduced and there was a loud cheer and a "We love you Ms. T!" shouted from the audience sure helped. It was really nice to be able to give them a reassuring smile, or share a laugh before they took their journey across the stage. There really is value to this rite of passage, and I hope they all realized the bigs steps that they were taking.

Oh, sure there was the normal goofiness that goes one. Cheers, whistles and hand gestures that we have no idea and aren't meant to have any idea about their meaning.

The valedictorian address brought tears to my eyes. She spoke so eloquently, and touched upon many events in their high school years.

Many of my students are moving away for university, which I certainly encouraged them to do if they could afford it. Hopefully they will come back to visit, because as much as they made me want to tear my hair out, they are all good kids and I will miss them.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I came across this while marking exams this weekend:

The questions was: Define and provide an example of the following terms. The term chosen was "Groupthink"

Student writes:

Definition: Groupthink is a very strong feeling or decision that is made by a group. Sometimes everyone feels so strongly about this decision that others cannot oppose it.

(pretty good definition of the term)

Example: Jessica Simpson is good looking.

Ha! Made me laugh

You be the judge...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I am slowly going crazy

1-2-3-4-5-6- SWITCH!


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why I teach...

OK, this is going to be a long one.

I have a student who is a truly wonderful, loving, kind and HILARIOUS kid. (by kid, I mean 16 yr. old) He makes me smile and laugh out loud everyday.

He didn't hand in his final project, so I spoke with his resource teacher to give her a heads up. She told me that B is having a rough time because dad is abusive and mom is trying to get out of the relationship right now. There is an older brother and younger brother as well. Mom is trying to get all 3 of them out. (4 including herself)

I was a little shocked at this news. Looking at this big teddy bear-like kid an trying to imagine anyone being abusive to him really breaks my heart.

So, OK, no worries about the project, he can hand it in whenever he can.

Part of the project was an oral presentation in front of the class. B's presentation was this week. His topic was "youth homelessness".

This is a kid who hasn't had much sucess in school, doesn't read very well and writes like a 5 year old. (big, jagged, uncontrolled letters) He has a resource teacher, but he just doesn't fit the mold of a "regular, average student". He is however, very creative. He plays guitar in a very hard-rock Megadeath-like band. Interesting, but when he sings, he screams.

So, he gets in front of the class with a cardboard box all duct-taped together with photos that he took of homeless teenagers in our city. In his words, the box was his shelter. He asked 2 other students to sit up at the front with him and hold their hats out to ask for change. The rest of us were to walk in front of them while they begged for money.

While we were doing this, B began to sing a song that he wrote for this project. He pulled out his acoustic guitar and began.

I was floored. This kid has an amazing voice and is so incredibly talented. I had tears streaming down my face as I listened to him play. We all did.

He ended his presentation with an interview that he did with a homeless teenager on the street. In answer to his question "why are you living on the street?" the young man answered "Because life at home sucked so much. My dad was abusive and beat all of us. I would never go back (home), it was too fucked up".

All I could see was the pain in B's eyes as he read the interview to us. I couldn't help but think that this could be him...