The Official End of Summer

John Here:

The first day of school in high school is actually one of the easiest days you’re going to get. For the most part the students are in as much shock as you are at being back in school. The seniors are too cool, the juniors are feeling much larger than they really are, the sophomores are glad they’re not at the bottom anymore, and the freshmen are just plain terrified. They come in dead silent not knowing what to expect and usually stay that way throughout the day. Most of us have been spoiled rotten by not having to get up early for a couple of months so you also have a high degree of yawning and trying to stay awake to say nothing of the problems the students are having trying to keep from falling unconscious after lunch. The students generally get ruled and regulated to death in all their classes and then the realization hits that they (and us) actually have to come back and do this again tomorrow. The fall is a great time at school with football, dances, activities and all the possibilities that a new year brings. As we get rolling and get to know each other I can’t help thinking that this is a pretty good deal. read more

Back to School…for the 24th Time

John Here:  24 years is a long time. Compared to a historian’s view of time, 24 years is a short time but going to the same place every day for 24 years can be classified, I think, as a long time. I’m starting year number 24 at my high school. If you knew my school you might say that 24 years should qualify as 48 years. My school can be described as “inner city” or “urban”. I prefer to think of it as just school. We have all the issues that an inner city school has, poverty, family dysfunction, gangs, you can read about in the newspaper I suppose (if anyone still does that), yet my kids are some of the nicest, most resilient, good people I have ever met.   It’s a unique place and there are challenges, it is not an easy place to teach yet I’m still here. Some people might think my kids are different somehow. They may have different issues than I did growing up for sure, but a teenager is a teenager and teenagers are, if you observe them long enough, hysterically funny. The trick is remembering that you were once one of them and you were no different than they are. Insecure, goofy, trying to be cool, trying to figure out the opposite sex (or the same sex for that matter), wondering when this endless class will be over so I can just hang out with my friends because that is all I really ever want to do, what is the point of finding X, I will never use any of this, why are we even bothering to study this since someone else already figured it out anyway? These are the some of the burning issues we all had as teenagers and today’s teenagers are no different than we were. It doesn’t matter where they’re from or who they are, they are all basically the same. As we roll into another school year I realize that I really like this place.  Now I just wonder what my classroom looks like after no supervision for a summer. read more

Beach Blogger Bash

Carol Here: We had the great pleasure of going to the “Southern California Back to School Blogger Beach Bash” last weekend and we were able to meet some other teachers/bloggers from SoCal. We met up at Sandy’s Restaurant in Huntington Beach just a stone’s throw from the Huntington Beach pier. read more

School Fundraiser – A Dancing Car Wash

John Here: In my youth I was considered an Olympic Champion “sleeper inner”. I even gave some thought to going professional for a while. Sleeping in was in my DNA and I was good at it. Then I grew up, got a job and had kids. If you’re reading this you probably have a job and kids and agree that sleeping in, is now is a relative term. Currently my youngest is a senior in high school and sleeping in on a Sunday is back. Although I don’t quite have the ability that I used to, it is nice to give it a shot on a weekend. This weekend however it wasn’t to be. School has or is about to start for most of us and it is fundraising time! That means a car wash for my daughter’s high school dance team (she’s a captain, you know). So up I was at 6 am on a Sunday and if I have to get up that early on a Sunday you better believe everyone is going to join me. So off we went to get the cars in our city clean and make some money for the dance team so they can dance their little hearts out this year. read more