Wednesday, May 18, 2011


So today I taught ceramics.  It was a great day.  The students were making some awesome art.  I read some art articles in the NY Times.  That is about it.  (Kind of boring, hence why I usually don't write about my good days)

Monday, May 16, 2011


Last week my friend came to town and asked if I could pick her up from the airport.  I said, "Sure, as long as it is after I am done teaching."  So when I picked her up from LAX this was our dialog:
Friend: "How was school?"
Me: "Pretty good."  (I replied as I was teaching ceramics all day and that class is always mellow)
I added, "However, I did give a kid a referral."
Friend: "You always give referrals!"
Me: "No, you only hear about when I give referrals.  When my days run smoothly you never hear anything or it would go something like this:
Friend: "How was school today?"
Me: "Good."
And that would be it.  Good days aren't as interesting to people as bad days.  If I really told my friends how a good day went, they would be bored out of their minds.  But when something goes wrong and a kid does something they know they shouldn't and I give said student a detention or referral or kick them out of my class....that is entertaining.  So this is how the day went:

My day was awesome.  I was teaching three ceramics classes where the teacher is so on top of things that the students know exactly what they need to do and how to do it.  I may get the random question of an opinion but for the most part these students are self-sufficient.  So when I do teach these classes, I walk around and look at their art pieces adding things here and there or make something myself.  This day specifically, I had a handful of students I have had in the past so we talked about their art pieces, prom (it is this week), and college.  Great day.....until my last class of the day (which should have been great as well and was great up until the last twenty minutes of class).  Last week AP testing was going on at the high school so students were getting out of their tests and roaming around campus even though they should have returned to their appropriate classroom.  This was not the case for about six students (athletes that I knew).  One of these students was actually in my class that period, two were suppose to be in my class earlier that day and the other students were just hanging out.  I don't mind if students come into the classroom for short periods of time as long as they don't cause a disturbance or do something they should not be doing.

One student in particular who had the class earlier that day but did not attend due to AP testing is a handful.  Every time I teach this student he causes some kind of trouble.  Within about a minute or two of entering the classroom, clay starts to fly.  I look him in the eyes and tell him how I enjoyed not having him in my class earlier that day because of said flying clay.  I told him he could stay in the class as long as he did not throw anything (I mean 20 minutes of class....not that much to ask for).  About 15-20 seconds later, this kid throws a pencil (A PENCIL!) across the room.  I look at the kid and yelled, "Really????"  He denied throwing said pencil.  I was in shock.  I was in shock for multiple reasons: (1) I have known this kid since he was in the womb, (2) I have known his father since I was 10, maybe even younger, (3) I work for his father as a coach.  IN SHOCK.  The kid then tells me that the student he threw the pencil at "wanted a pencil."  Really?  He wanted you to throw a sharp object at him across a room?  I don't think so.  I didn't know what to do at this point.  He was taking advantage of the relationship I have with his father.  No more.  It was time for a referral.

On my way out of school that day, I walked by his father and gave him a heads up that I gave his kid a referral.  Since then, he has tried to find me a school to apologize and has called me to apologize.  I think he gets it now but it is too late to change the consequence of his misbehavior.  Bummer for him.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

bieber fever

The real Justin Bieber - not so hot right now.  But the Justin Bieber in my life - adorable.  I have seen him a couple times this week and he always gives me a big hug and asks how my day is going.  Just adorable.  Plus his hair is pretty fantastic.


I randomly got assigned to substitute teach for an English teacher I was introduced to a couple weeks back.  She teaches freshman English and CAHSEE English (which is pretty much teaching English to students whose English skills are not so great so they can pass the CAHSEE - California High School Exit Examination).  For many of these students, English is not their first language.  These students are great students but can be difficult at times (I have had my battles!).  I have taught these students in many other classrooms so I have a little (as much as a little white girl can get) "street cred."  Some of these students will walk into my class and get excited and tell the other students that I am "chill" and not to mess with me.  Others, not so much but I have a feeling they are like that with most of their teachers (just a feeling).

I was introduced to this classroom during STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) testing.  During the Science portion of the test, I have maybe 4 students.  During the History portion of the test, I had maybe 7 students.  So it was my surprise when I taught the actual class the following day, that I have 15 students (there are only 18 students enrolled in the class).

That day we were scheduled to go to the computer lab so the students could type out their narratives "they had been working on" outside of class???  I believe one student had completed his narrative (which I read and was good) and maybe one or two others had brought in their narrative to type in class. Most of the other students were looking at random websites, deciding what to wear for prom and then there were a couple individuals that were doing the assignment they were suppose to do if they did not have their narrative.

One student was "trying" to access his student account for the website.  All of a sudden I hear "mija!"  I ignore it because he could not have been talking to me.  "Mija!"  So I look up and the student is looking right at me.  He asks, "Mija.  Can you help me get on the website."  I was a little startled.  Really?  Mija. He is a nice kid but we are not friends, let alone, homies (I don't mean that as a stereotype ... I am saying we aren't close and you shouldn't be talking to me that way, I am your teacher).  I looked at this kid and I said "Don't mija me."  And he looks up at me and says, "Mija.  Come on.  Help me out."  I just kind of laughed.  This kid had some balls -  1.  As I said, we are not friends and 2.  I am not your girl.  The way he was looking up at me was hilarious because he knew he was on thin ice but I couldn't not help but help him.

Now the kid is on the website, supposedly doing his work.  I look up to survey the class and what is my little friend doing?  Looking at a website entitled "Barrio Girls."  Now, if you want to look up the website, be my guest but I am not going to link it because it was wrong.  It was so wrong.  Especially at school!  I asked the student to close the window of the screen and he looked at me like I was crazy!  Really?  This kid had some serious balls.  We talked it out and I told him that if it was any other teacher he would be in sooooo much trouble.  It was the day before Spring Break and I just couldn't do it.  However, I did tell him that if I ever teach for him again, that was NOT going to fly.  He nodded and smiled because he knows he got away with it.  Now I see him in the hallways and he says "Hi Ms. Stuart" with the most friendly tone.  And that is why I like this kid.