textese (or text-speak) in the classroom

One thing texting has earned most students?  The inability to think beyond 141 characters and the desire to abbreviate every answer.

Some students now will SAY “lol.”  

Which prompts me to say “No, are you really?”

Next thing that happens?   Student will say “What?”

“Laughing out loud?” (I know I should be amused, but I am frustrated)

“Ms. B, what are you talking about?” is the inevitable response.

THEN, I have to explain when you say “lol” that maybe you should be laughing out loud.  That usually nips that problem.

The next problem with text?  That students think “IDK” is a valid response.  I always put “IDC” and mark it wrong.  Stops problem two after the first exam.

The final problem I have had with text-speak.  Last year, I tried so hard to work with a 9th grader.  I would teach and re-teach.  He would sleep and talk.    Finally, one day he decided that just trying to get by was not cutting it.  He walked to my desk to TELL me to change his grade.  I (being me) said that I would not do so.  He looked around the room.  He puffed out his chest.   He strutted to his seat.  He drawled “YOLO, ya’ll, YOLO”  loudly to the entire room.  Not one person would have known about this exchange if he had not made such a production out of his text-speak. 

I had finally had enough “You might only live once… but you are going to take physical science twice if you don’t do your work.”  I must have made a believer out of him…he transferred schools.

BTW (see what I did there?) he is still not passing physical science.


Steer them in the right direction

Education reform again…

IF Louisiana does not explode into class warfare in the next few years…be amazed.  We have leadership that is funding upper to middle class flight to private/parochial schools.  All that is left at the public schools are those that cannot find a way to travel to the private schools.   

Friday, I was driving past a private (now with students paid for by the State) Christian School.  The car line was all the way down highway 15.  Approximately 1/2 mile of gridlock paid for by my tax dollars.  We have public schools that are nailed to teaching the common core and The La Comprehensive Curriculum.   Public schools are  nailed down to testing EVERYONE.

Testing at the private schools?  No, not tested with the same material for the most part.  Private schools can pick and choose their students.  They can send away those that might pull down their scores IF they are taking more than the magic 29 (or 39?)  former public school students.  

Speaking of testing…The public schools are not being told what the grading target is for the common core. The target is moving even as we aim the students.  It is my belief that we will be treated like Texas public schools were…test comes out, then the rubric.  Suddenly everyone fails.  It is a little like playing the Lottery.  Well, except that no one wins at this game.  

 Public schools are being crucified with testing and measurement.  Public school teachers are being asked to create a silk purse from the proverbial cow’s ear.    If anyone tells you that the private schools are offering a better education…no, they serve a better class of clientele.   There is a direct correlation between socio-economic factors and ability.   The elephant in the room?  Not one person wants to admit that we will fail to teach a generation of ner-do-wells.  

I noted there is a lawsuit in Baton Rouge from a parent of a child who was expelled.  He was complaining about he influx of “lower economic students” being shipped into EBR.  Well, we have to send them somewhere.  The upper class is deserting for the pastures of green promised by our leaders and paid for by tax payers. 

I have worked long enough that I could retire.  Yes, I will probably take a job with a private school.  No one wants to go down with the ship.  So I don’t mind saying that our Leadership in this state is steering kids in the “white direction”…oops, I mean the “right direction.”    


A Gawdawful confession

I need to confess to the following:  

Once I did a horrible thing to ‘tha freaks’ and need to confess.

It was a few months after the Columbine tragedy.  We had a free week (no uniforms) for good behavior.  Someone thought it was a good idea to have each grade dress in a representative color.  I thought it was a horrible idea bringing division instead of unity.  

“Tha Freaks” decided that it would be a GREAT idea to dress in all black and wear black trenchcoats.  Their goal?  Scaring all the other students.   “We will scare them all..”   Unfortunately for them the plot was hatched in my room.  

Now, I have always had super-super hearing (Minears disease in one ear causes sudden amplification of sound at times) and it was spot on that day.  I heard the plot, but as these were all gifted students really did not think too much about it.  As the day wore on though more and more students were asking me about “tha Freaks” planned attire.  SOMETHING had to be done.  

I went to all of the OLDEST teachers on campus and explained my plan.  I told my principal my plan.  All agreed  it was either brilliant or an idiots plan.  Either way

The next morning ‘tha Freaks’ rolled out of the two vehicles in their all black attire…Only to see the sight of all of the teachers in all black.  “Tha Freaks’ wilted like flowers.  All their swagger was gone.  The meekly stuck their coats back in their vehicles.  No one laughed.

Later one of “tha Freaks’ asked me if I had master-mined the plot.  He railed against people talking about him and his group.  He said that it just looked and sounded like something I would do to stop a good time.   I said that..no, the teachers were protesting.  He then asked me “What are you protesting?”

I said “Whatya got?”  (yes, students never get the classic quotes)

CS just turned and walked away dejected.  I felt really horrible.  So, now I have confessed.



Teenagers do some crazy things…

A few years ago, I had a group of students that called themselves ‘tha freaks’ in an attempt to make themselves seem menacing.  It would have been funny but so many of the slower students were menaced by ‘tha freaks’  brain power.  They may have been menacing to the other students but I lived in fear of what they would do next.  I lived in fear failing to keep a straight face.  Menacing.      All have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, professors, etc.  They were the same age as my youngest daughter and all knew where we lived.  Which has a bearing on the story…

One night (right after Christmas) I heard a knock on the front door.  I heard some sniffling and crying?  My two daughters were both gone and it was just honey and me.  I went to the front door and listened.  The knock sounded again.  I opened the door.

At the door were two of the freaks.  CS  stood with his hand over his ear.  He was attempting not the cry.  The other (DR) looked like he was in shock. “C, what are you two doing at my door?  The girls are not here.” 

“MotherBoothe, MotherBoothe, I need help.”  His hand is still over his ear.  I decided maybe DR had cut CS’s ear off.  I mean, these two could come up with some strange ideas. 

Finally, I convinced him to tell me what was wrong.  “Don’t laugh, and don’t freak…and don’t call my mom.  She is in Canada.  She will be mad if you call her.”  (Help me to keep a straight face)

“Jesus, boy, what have you done???”  Finally, he pulls his hand down, and starts crying.  I don’t see anything. 

“MotherBoothe, DR bet me I couldn’t put a Christmas tree light bulb in my ear… Once I got it in, I couldn’t get it out.   The more I dug, the deeper it went”

Yep, it was in there deep.  Honey came over to look.  Honey went back to the office and got a set of hemostats that had been clamped around a circuit board.  Honey pulled the Christmas Tree light from CS’s ear.  Honey told him to quit doing silly stunts.

I told him to go home and call his mom.  Canada or not.