Category: Today’s Title Is

Day to day events sometimes frustrate me.

Today’s Title Is… Classroom Priorities

Today’s Title Is… Classroom Priorities

Teachers have so many decisions to make each day regarding instruction and classroom management. I found over the years that there were “smaller” specific issues that I could deal with quickly so that they didn’t take up a lot of time and didn’t have a lasting affect on my instruction. It’s not that they didn’t matter, it’s that, in the scheme of things, they were not as big a priority. Here are 5 issues that can and should be handled quickly and then moved on from.

  1. Swearing: Yes, we all know that there are certain words that aren’t appropriate for school. That being said, if one of my students came up to tell me that a classmate swore, I usually asked what they said. Sometimes they’d share and sometimes they were embarrassed. Then I asked them to spell it. In the end, I’d remind the offending student that we didn’t use that language in school. That was it. I don’t remember ever having a repeat offender.
  2. Head lice: When head lice showed up in our school, we’d get a notice to bring our class to the nurse for “head checks”. I simply let the kids know that it’s a common problem, anyone can get them, and we’d all be getting our heads looked at- me included.
  3. Cheating: My kids knew from Day 1 that honesty was a priority for me. If I suspected a kid of cheating I just reminded everyone¬†about the importance of doing your own work, etc. and that I didn’t want to single out someone for cheating, in part because of the embarrassment it would bring, but I would if necessary.
  4. Kids w/o pencils, etc.: It did bother me when a student ran out of every day supplies like pencils, but it was never worth making a big deal out of it. I either gave him/her an extra or a classmate would. Other than expecting a thank you, that’s all there was to it.
  5. Leaving the classroom for extra help: Whether for academic reasons, counseling, etc. I never made it a big deal. If it came up, I just used the analogy of a professional athlete, singer, etc. having a coach and reminded kids that we all need help or guidance to improve.
Today’s Title Is… Words Politicians Should Never Use

Today’s Title Is… Words Politicians Should Never Use

I’ll get right to it. Politicians seem to be an entirely different species. Most of us don’t believe much of what we hear from those running for office or already in office and that’s really too bad because I’m sure there are people in politics who really are sincere and honest in their dealings with constituents, the media, and anyone else that’s paying attention. I’d like to offer one suggestion that would improve at least my own image of politicians, and that would be to avoid using the following words and phrases.

When a politician says, “trust me”, that’s usually a sign that the listener or viewer is going to hear a dishonest statement next.

Beginning a thought with “honestly” means exactly the same thing.

I have a friend who often uses the word “folks” to describe people he thinks are nice. When I hear a politician say the word, it usually sounds like the person is trying to convince voters that he or she is just a regular person. That’d be ok, but I often hear it from those who don’t act like regular people.

“I don’t recall.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a politician say those words when asked a question that they don’t want to answer. That way, they can avoid be punished for whatever they did in the first place.

“I’m going to fight for …” is a phrase that I hear from every politician trying to get votes. It makes it sound like they’re on your side and they’ll stop at nothing to do whatever it takes to improve your life. Really?

“I’m an outsider.” I suppose anyone not in office already is an outsider, but since most voters don’t seem to trust those already in office, candidates want to appear as if they’re not part of the regular political process.

Any that you want to share?

Jim

 

 

 

Today’s Title Is… There’s Sick…and Then There’s Sick

Today’s Title Is… There’s Sick…and Then There’s Sick

When I was a teacher, I was rarely out for two reasons. First, I was hardly ever sick anyway, and I thought my responsibility was to be in school with my students even when I didn’t feel so great. Second, it was really more work being out. You had to get a substitute, hopefully someone you could rely on. Then, you had to write plans which spelled out in detail things which you already knew as the teacher, and make sure they got to the person. Even when you thought everything was set, unexpected things happened, usually small stuff, although one day, one of my kids ate a sock just to see what the sub would do. She left me a blunt note saying she’d never be back.

These days, I’m a retired teacher and full time author and writer who works from home. That means that if I’m sick, even a little, I can sit around and watch tv all day or stay in bed if I want to. Since I don’t “punch a clock” anymore, and can do as I please with no real deadlines or obligations, being sick just isn’t the same. I may feel lousy, but I don’t have to worry about going to work and I haven’t written sub plans for years.

For those of you who still go to work even when you’re sick- well, I’m sorry.

Jim

 

 

 

 

Today’s Title Is… The Pile Grows

Today’s Title Is… The Pile Grows

One source for subjects for my blog, “Today’s Title Is…”, is the newspaper. I read the Albany Times Union each day and tear out stories that may become blog topics at one point. I try to balance using positive and negative articles, but it seems that the bad outweigh the good by a lot. Regardless, the pile of articles on my desk has been growing by leaps and bounds. For example, today’s articles ranged from the appropriate age for a thoroughbred to race, to building a soundproof booth for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for $25,000, to a worker employed by the state of New York whose location to sign in for work has been moved from one outdoor location to another- all of them quite offensive. There’s an ongoing lawsuit, by the way.

Anyway, here’s hoping that my pile dwindles and my generally sunny disposition results in mostly positive posts. It may also help to make your day a little better! Always feel free to share any ideas you may have for future posts in the comment section below or you can contact me directly. Thanks!

Jim