Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Though I was once told by a so-called [self-appointed] Writing Expert that posting everyday is "Bullshit," I want to do it anyway. This is for yesterday; pretend you saw it then.

I entered midterm grades for my classes last night. Sometimes grading makes me feel grouchy - it can remind me of poorly designed and/or executed lessons, it can make me indignant about superbly designed and/or executed lessons that many students ignored or missed, it makes me want to tear my hair out about kids who choose to skip class [either physically or mentally] but mostly the grouchy comes from feeling sad & helpless about the kids who are at the mercy of their checked-out, hostile, and overall dysfunctional families. While I am a firmish believer that people can make their own choices and rise above nonsense in their lives, it is also clear that so many of our students - still children - have not been taught how to do that and when we try, it is scary and takes them a long time to get comfortable doing it. And once they get comfortable, someone might decide to sabotage those efforts.

When I enter grades - the failing ones and the succeeding ones - I am faced with the fact that too many parents just don't care about their children. The alert calls & e-mails are met with hostility toward me (Why can't I teach the kid? What do I expect them to do?), indifference, promises to punish, or silence. And when making the 'happy calls' letting them know how improved or plain brilliant their kids are, I'm crushed by those who are dubious and cynical and dismissive.

Nothing I do every day feels like bullshit, and I hate when someone tries to prove me wrong.