Sunday, July 29, 2007

Song: "You'll Think of Me"- Keith Urban
Mood: Content

I made it to track out!!! I'm not sure how I did it, but somehow I was able to survive the first three weeks of teaching at Oak Grove. Let me mention, that my surviving was BARELY done. In three short weeks I have learned that the parents at this school are a breed of their own. I have never worked in a school where every parent thinks their child is brilliant (literally... they ALL think their kids are the most intelligent beings on Earth). I was told that the parents need their children to be challenged, so I've been doing just that... and then as a result I've have numerous (like five DIFFERENT parents) contact me for conferences because they're concerned about their child's grades. Mind you, this was all in week two... like six to ten days of school so far, and I had only given TWO assessments.

The whole assessment thing is another issue. We have goals and objectives that are from the NC Standard Course of Study... the same as the GLCEs in Michigan. Nothing that I haven't seen before. However, Wake County does Standards Based Grading (as did Childs with Bs, Ds and Ps) but with 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s. Each goal has multiple objectives and as a teacher, I have to give three different assessments per objective before I can give a final grade for the objective. The numbers work like this, a 1 means they cannot do the objective on their own. A 2 means they can do it with assistance but not without, a 3 means they get it and can do it on their own and then a 4 means they take the objective and go even further with it on their own. I was told that 4s are very rare and should only be given if the kid REALLY goes above and beyond what the objective is asking for.

SO... for reading, there are 16 objectives. If we multiply 16x3 we get 48. That means I have to have 48 assessment grades before I can give ONE reading grade (only one grade goes on the report card) and of those 48 I have ONE.

For math there are 28 objectives and if we do 28x3 we get 84. That means I have to have 84 different assessment grades before I can give ONE math grade. And of those 84 I have given ONE assessment.

So... you can imagine my shock when I had five parents tell me they were already concerned about their child's academics. I flipped out a little... okay, a lot because on the HUGE scheme of things we have only just begun. On many assignments I can only use a 1, 2 or 3 as the scale. They mean the same, but I have given a few 2s. Why give a 3 if they really can't do it?? Well... I've realized that many parents see the 2 as failure. Way to go Wake County... eliminate the logical letter grades that MAKE SENSE and use a stupid system where a 2 means failure. Grrr...

Anyway, I am tracked out and I can't express how happy I am!! I am going to a 3-5 Literacy training tomorrow and Tuesday. I am excited because EVERYONE in 4th grade has been trained and all plan on using this program after day 20 (we were given a step-by-step list of lessons for the first 20 days of school). It'll be nice to come back in August, finish that week and start using 3-5 Literacy.

Other than the training I don't have any plans! We spent all day yesterday cleaning the house and it finally looks good enough to take some pictures (just the downstairs though). Over track-out I am going to try and clean up here and unpack more boxes.

On Friday I was in my room working and Lisa came in and asked if I wanted to join a big group of people that were going to Chilis for drinks. So I wrapped up what I was doing and joined everyone that was going to go. I had such a great time! There were about eight of us that went and it was nice to just laugh and get to know people a little more outside of work. There are a lot of YOUNG teachers in my building!! They all go out (outside of work) and hang out together. I don't think I'll ever go that route, but I look forward to getting to know them better. Lisa asked me and Steve and Katie and her boyfriend Judson wanted to go camping and tubing with her and Chris (her new boyfriend) and all their friends. I think Katie is going to go, but after last year's tubing fun on the Rifle River (go back to July/August 2006 and read about it if you've forgotten)... I told her that we'd pass.

Last night Craig and Christine came over for a bbq. It was so much fun!! We hadn't had a chance to use the screen porch yet and now that we have we LOVE it even more!! We ate dinner out there and then stayed out there chatting and laughing and then had dessert and stayed out until like 11:30 or so. It was the first time that we met Christine... and she is wonderful!!! It's nice to have someone familiar here in NC that we can see!! For those of you not sure who Craig is, he was married to my friend Nicole (Phi Sigma Pi) and then moved down here in January and then a few months ago divorce papers were filed and now they're about to be divorced. Anyway... he is doing amazingly well. Better than I was a few months after going through a divorice!!! Christine is absolutely beautiful... she looks like she could be a Playboy Bunny... and she loves him so much. They're awesome together!

Anyway... there are some other issues with me... but I won't share just yet. Frustrating and annoying but I can't give much more info at this time. Just keep my sanity in your prayers please!!!

Until next time...


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