I really don’t have an agenda here. I’ve been thinking. Sometimes that works out well and sometimes…not so well. So here are some random thoughts.
I am sitting here grading papers during my planning period. Progress reports are due today and I just realized that I haven’t graded a single thing in almost four weeks. Why? I just hate grading is all. There are so many inconsistencies involved with grading. For example, A’s and B’s are weighted with 7 points. C’s are weighted with 9 points, D’s with 4 points and F’s get a 69 point spread. Something feels wrong about that but because I didn’t spend my college years learning about education, I can’t figure out what it is. The whole 100-90, 89-80, thing just made sense. Sort of metric. And what’s with the F’s?
Why does a student have a 69 point window to fail and just a 7 point window to get an A? Its a good thing dart boards aren’t set up that way. Looking at in total, that’s a 31 point window to pass and a 69 point window to fail. But I like to think that since life is pretty much set up that way, it’s getting our students ready for reality. Like I said..random thoughts.
Another reason I don’t like grading is that it is almost like an indictment of my abilities as a teacher. Almost. If I give a 10-point quiz and the class percentage is 81% passing, I can sort of say, “They got it.” But if the class average is say, 63% I can’t in all honesty say, “Stupid kids…they should listen better.” But what if the same quiz were given to two different sessions of the same class and one group passed and one group failed? And I, as the teacher, didn’t do anything different? My head is starting to hurt.
So I put on some Miles Davis and plunged in and graded everything. Thank-you Miles.
I stay out of political commentary as a rule because I don’t feel like I am qualified to discuss it above the water-cooler level. But Sen. McCain’s choice of a running mate feels like pandering to me. All this time the Republicans were campaigning on the notion that Barack Obama was too inexperienced to be the President of The United States, that he enjoys celebrity status more than political status. So who does the GOP offer as a running mate? The role of the female on the big political ticket will now be played by Sarah Palin.
Young, depending on your point of view, attractive and, above all, just “plain folks.” Alaska hockey mom makes it to the bigs. Just like the movies. Only this is real life where the vice president is a step away from the presidency. McCain is 72 years-old and a four time cancer survivor. I have nothing against the man but I am also occasionally realistic. Palin went from the PTA to the city council of Wasilla, Alaska. As mayor of that city she went as far as to discuss the banning of books in the local library and may have threatened to fire the librarian for not giving the mayor’s office her full support.
Sarah Palin is a half-term governor who will be a heart-beat away from the presidency. I think that if I met her I would really like her. Athletic, smart, an NRA member and the kind of person who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.
She seriously sounds like someone I would like to sit and have a cup of coffee with one morning. But I can’t vote for her because it feels like stunt casting. Like it’s sweeps week and some TV show that is failing in the ratings brings in a “Very Special Guest Star.” Sorry…I may be open-minded but I’m not that open-minded.
Nickelodeon Has Ruined it For All of Us.
If you watch a show on Nickelodeon and it takes place in a school, who is the dumbest person in the room? No more phone calls folks, we have a winner…Yes. It’s the teacher. And dumber than the teacher? The Principal. “Saved by the Bell,” “Ned’s Declassified High School Survival Guide,” “Drake and Josh” among others consistently show the students as the clever ones, the smart ones and the ones who are fighting the oppression they are dealt out at the hands of their teachers. It never seems to be about learning and striving to succeed in an increasingly technological society. Success is measured in how they get over on the teacher.
What that translates to in the classroom is a group of generally disinterested kids who wonder why school isn’t like it is on TV. Or am I just oversimplifying things?
When did our foreign policy jump the track to the point of underestimating the nationalism of Russia? Were we so concerned with Iraq and the war on terrorism that we forgot that the rest of the world kept on turning? Or did we really forget that other people and other countries just aren’t like us?
I don’t know why this surprises me. It just does.