Monday, February 25, 2008

Sometimes I sit back in amazement at how comfortable everything has become. Them with me and me with them. Gone are the days of yelling and lecturing and even waiting for long periods of time for them to be quiet so I can teach.
With each day that passes we become more and more of a family. It's been almost 2 years now since I shook their hands for the first time and the relationship we have is so incredibly powerful, the expectations so much higher than they were months ago.
We are well on our way to meeting our class goals in reading and math. Kids applied to some of the best middle schools available to them and are excited about their future.
We're changing, all of us....
Somebody asked me the other day if I feel like I'm closing the gap. I told them no. My kids are.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Quotes of the Week

"The math journals really need to be more challenging. You're disgracing my mentality."
Malik to me

"It takes a smart guy, not a tough guy, to make change."
*So profound, if you only knew his gang banger, tough guy, I don't care about anything attitude. He had refused to go to his weekly counseling session that day, so I requested that the counselor just stay in the room and observe - this came as a result of the conversation about why he was refusing to go. Today he was yelling and screaming at me. But yesterday.....he was profound :)

"I ate 'em at lunch. I made a good choice." "Finally."
And we all laughed. You see, Julius has this issue of sneaking chips, candy, his pockets. One day it was a piece of fried chicken - and he eats it throughout the day. I smell it, eventually take it away, and we have this whole big conversation about when would have been an appropriate time to have eaten the food.
So today he smelled like Doritos, and I patted him down (yes, I do search my kids, and take whatever I find.) Anyways...he got this big smile on his face.
"It's my breath," he said. "I ate 'em at lunch. I made a good choice....finally."
"Yo, but you got some kickin' breath!' said Adony from across the room.
"Yes, I do." said Julius.
But his breath I can not take, and for that, he smiled :)

Happy winter break to all of us. We certainly need it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Show Me The Budget

The phrase, "there isn't money for that," has been the mantra this year, and in true 'our principal' fashion we got a memo in our box yesterday stating that today would be the last day of both our afterschool and Saturday school programs. They can't afford to pay the teachers for extended hours anymore.Rumor is that my para will be taken out of my room. She's a sub, and subs cost money. The money to hire a permanent one, when released from the state, was put somewhere else in the budget and is now long gone, I'm sure.So illegal not to have a para in a 12:1:1, especially when The New One just last week threatened to kill my para and said that we hit him in the face when in reality it was he who placed binder clips all over his face to make marks. I refuse to teach this child without another adult in the room - the danger is simply too high. That's why he's in a 12:1:1 in the first place.And this mysterious budget that is so often spoke about is never actually seen, nor are we told where the money actually does go. We just know that our bulletin boards, charts, and portfolios are to be perfect at all times, because that, folks, is public education in NYC.