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

Plan For a New School Year

Carol Here:  I haven’t done it all but it sure feels like it sometimes. I’ve taught every elementary grade and have loved them all but my favorite is 6th grade. Luckily that is where I will plant my flag this year. Hooray! Since I haven’t done 6th grade in a few years and with the new Common Core standards coming on line it is time to put together a plan for this year. My dad always told me to never waste time re-inventing the wheel so when it came time to plan, instead of spending hours and hours figuring it out myself, I was fortunate enough to work with one of our instructional specialists and together we put some ideas together in a new way that I hadn’t done before. Here’s what we came up with (it’s a little rough around the edges but it will work!): read more