Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Freaky Coincidence Day

So, we have a new fast-food joint in our neighborhood, and the kids and I have been meaning to check it out. Only the problem is it's Chinese food and the kids are skeptical, because they've never had any. But I'm watching my weight, and they had some good low-calorie offerings, and I wanted to treat myself to something different because I've been stressed lately.

Why have I been stressed, you ask? For two reasons.

First, the kids have been sick, and the Engineer was out of town for 12 days (!). We were supposed to join him for the last two for a family outing but, again, the kids were sick with this awful head/stomach flu combination, so I stayed home and he went by himself.

And the second reason is, that in addition to the very normal Ugh-I-have-cabin-fever-and-now-my-throat-is-hurting-too-stress, this school year, only half-way through the first nine weeks, is already utterly bizarre.

Like every year, my boys have some fantastic teachers. They also have some what-in-the-world-are-they-thinking teachers, the kind who give strange assignments or organize their classrooms in a weird way but are basically just fine.

And then there are these: the seriously disorganized, couldn't-challenge-my-kids-to-a-game-of-checkers-so-what-makes-them-think-they-can-teach-them educators who just blow my mind.

I know I can vent to all of you about this, because you know I am not anti-teacher. I used to teach, for heaven's sake! I've never home-schooled the kids, I'm all about making public education the best it can be, I try to instill in my kids this great attitude about learning, etc.

But I am seriously questioning the qualifications of these teachers.

Here's just one example: The rhino had to write a business letter (for, of all things, his SCIENCE class, what's up with that?!), and the teacher gave them, as a sample, a business letter that she typed up, to show them how it should be done.

Fine, that makes sense. Here's the problem: it was FULL of errors. She had spaces both BEFORE and after the periods and commas, there were misspellings and grammatical errors--it was just awful. And this was her example of how to do it right!

This same teacher also requires them to wear safety goggles and aprons in the science lab at all times. Now, I thought this was an understandable, common-sense safety issue, until the Rhino explained to me that the safety goggles fog up so badly the kids can't read the graduated cylinders, and as they are required to give exact measurements, he is feeling very frustrated. And the thing is, they have a way to clean the goggles that would keep them from fogging up, which we know because another teacher does it, but she doesn't like to clean them. I have no idea why. Plus, they have to wear the safety goggles even when they are doing labs without any chemicals whatsoever, including the lab with magnets and measurements they just did. That does sound over-the-top, doesn't it? It's not just me, right?

And then there is the teacher that LOSES the Owl's assignments, and then MAKES UP grades for him. No, I'm not kidding. He had a hundred plus some extra credit on one assignment, and she was apparently entering grades into her system when the power went off or something and she lost some grades she had entered. Okay, that wasn't her fault--but when she put in a 70% for the paper because she couldn't remember what she had given him, that went beyond my limit.

And there is yet another teacher who, although very organized and, I think, one that could teach the Owl a lot this year, grades so subjectively it's just confusing. She will take off 1/3rd credit for, say, not writing in a complete sentence, and then the next question she will take off 1/4th for the same thing, or 2/3rds. And she messes up, too, taking off credit when the answer IS in a complete sentence (that's a personal peeve of mine, so I make sure the boys are diligent about it). And then she denies that she did this, when the mark-down is right there, with the reason in the margin, and it's obviously wrong.

Okay. I have to stop even writing about all this, because it is getting me stressed and frustrated again. I was seriously thinking that if these teachers are all qualified to teach, maybe I should go back to teaching junior and senior high school like I used to, because I may be crazy but at least I would be consistent.

So, I go out to lunch today to treat myself and reduce some of that stress (remember? That's how this whole post started!) at Panda Express, the new fast-food Chinese restaurant. And they give me a fortune cookie, which is a nice low-calorie dessert, so I can eat it even with my diet.

And when I open up my fortune, you know what it said? This:



1 comment:

Piera said...

Wow...I am speechless! Those teachers are scary. You should definitely go back into teaching to protect our kids from those teachers. The fortune cookie is proof! Could you come teach in Atlanta when my boy turns 5? He is only 1 now so you have a lot of time : )
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