Thursday, October 30, 2008


Yesterday I took down my poster of Rosie the Riveter.

She'd been defaced. First a black eye. Then bloodshot eyes. Now blood trickles down her lip. 

I no longer have my icon to remind me, more than the students really, "We Can Do It."  Taking her off the board sent the message to me, "Can't."

Morale is down across the school--I know these aren't just my issues. I'm trying to fight through this. Trying to find the motivation to pull together and push on. Today was a hard one. But I didn't call in. My car was the second one in the school parking lot this morning. 

I skipped the drum song because I couldn't face people quite yet. I'd almost collected myself and caught up to the point to be on pace with my work when a knock came at my door.

Someone else had called in sick so teachers were having to sub during their prep.

When your teachers are already at the breaking point, piling more work on them isn't going to improve the situation. My attitude went kerflump.

I think my tears is what prompted the assistant principal to tell me, "Dear, you need to take a personal day," and hand me a leave slip. I briefly talked with him, the principal, and the school's teacher mentor. It was clear that I needed a breather and they'd see me tomorrow. But I don't think any one of them has a clue that it was the subbing that sent me over the edge.

I feel guilty losing a learning day. Obviously there aren't subs. They advised me not to worry about running off worksheets, my students are going in with the PE class anyway. Tomorrow we're running a shortened schedule so we can have a Halloween party in the afternoon--there won't be enough time to explore new material. 

But I know I'd be a waste today too. Half-a-prep wouldn't cut it on a day when I needed a whole one. 

Hopefully taking today will help me get back on track. Help me remember why I'm teaching here. Help me believe that in fact I can do it.

I can.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Word Problems Before the Election

I like the idea of social justice math.

I have absolutely no training in it. I haven't found resources that can be lifted as is, though the previous link has several inspirational resources. Ideally, I'd customize ideas to my students, or better yet have them customize the ideas. Hasn't happened yet. 

My small compromise is to bring up issues in the warm-up journal word problems. This week's focus is the election. If you're looking for ideas, read on. (Though they will need adapting unless you're interested in South Dakota.)

For every 23 registered Republicans in SD, there are 25 people who are registered as something other than Republican. If there are 243,524 registered Republicans, how many people are registered as something else? (Link)

Proposition 11 is the state issue that will probably get the most national attention. (It’s the law that would ban abortion in the state.) An Argus Leader Media/KELO-TV poll showed a dead heat on Initiated Measure 11, the state's proposed abortion ban: 44% said they'd vote for it and 44% said they'd vote against it if the election were held immediately. It takes one more than half the voters to decide an election. If there are 508,240 registered voters in the state, how many more people does either side need to convince to win the election? (Link)

The poll about Measure 11 talked to 800 likely voters. If 12 % of people polled were undecided, how many people were undecided?

Most people in South Dakota have 6 weeks to vote early by stopping by their local courthouse. Saturday was the only day early voting was offered on the Rosebud Reservation. How many fewer days of early voting do residents of Todd county have than other people in the state? (Link)

In the last presidential election 149,244 South Dakotans voted for Kerry and 232,584 voted for Bush. If there were 508,240 registered voters in the state, what percentage of registered voters did not vote? (Link)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Night Comes Too Soon

I'm still plugging along here. Somewhere I know that I'm doing better than a year ago, I am able to take brief breaks, but I still feel overwhelmed.

Teacher Me

One of my friends complained that I haven't taken pictures of myself recently. As a way of making myself feel better about staying late Friday afternoon, I took some shots of the classroom. I posted them on Flickr and had a request to share with a group within a day.

View from the back of the class

It's not the best time in the year for classroom set-up, but here are a couple of pictures for inspiration whenever it helps.

Word wall