Day 20 Aim: How do I connect with my students better?

Go up to them and ask them to “teach you how to dougie”. For reference, check this out:

Remember, a good teacher is never embarrassed.

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Day 18 Aim: What do I do when a kid calls my class boring?

Seriously? Boring? You? If they only knew how fun you actually were on the weekend. Maybe if you stopped telling them that your weekend plans included sipping tea and watching the history channel they’d know. But wait¬† a second, they are calling your class boring. How can this be?

What we’ve encountered here is a young mind that has yet to be sparked by intellectual curiosity about a given subject, in my case its history. The fact of the matter is given a choice of activities to undertake for 45 minutes, “learning” for many students may rank below watching paint dry. If a student calls my class boring, I remind them that their current occupation is that of student, and that in life we must work hard if we are to achieve our goals, and often that takes doing some tasks that we consider boring.

If that doesn’t work just say it’s a game and that the first student to find the correct answer gets a super secret prize to be determined later. Congratulations! Here’s your high five!

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Day 17 Aim: What do I do if my students request me on Facebook?

DENY DENY DENY! Especially if they are current students. I don’t care if Mark Zuckerberg says his privacy settings can protect you, if there is anything I’ve learned about privacy settings on Facebook its that the settings are similar to the immune system. They react to the most prevailing threat at the time and can prevent against it in the future, but then something mutates and all the sudden students are seeing pictures of another teacher at your school dancing with two women inappropriately, and like Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do. Bottom line, just don’t friend them, ever. I don’t care if they are in high school and you taught middle school. I teach high school, and I don’t want to hear, “Hey, I’m friends with your friend on Facebook”. The only way I’ll ever friend my former students on Facebook is if/when the graduate college. So the first batch is coming up this year. Congratulation Class of 2008, you are almost allowed to be my friend on Facebook.

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Day 16 Aim: How do I know my students are taking their reading seriously?

They look like this:

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Day 12 Aim: Where should I go for Friday Happy Hour?

As a teacher, the term happy hour takes on new meaning. As the week comes to an end, the time for fun and merriment begins. However, on a Friday, you’ve been through a number of challenges this week and you’re tired. So, when choosing a happy hour, I always recommend convenience above all else. Now is not the time to go to that shi-shi club in the Meatpacking District or the new hipster dive bar in Alphabet City. One choice is always the local watering hole near your school. The positives? It’s a great chance to make friends with your co-workers and in all likely hood, it’s cheap. The cons? Well, you ever ridden for thirty five minutes on the six train after a few beers? The bladder situation can become tenuous. The next option is bars near your apartment. Easy walk home so you can leave whenever, you can gather the usual gang of idiots to join you, and if you are good, you can find good deals. Just moving to the Upper East Side, I’ve found Stumble Inn to be a great deal with a half-off everything happy hour till 7 p.m. The Gin Mill on the West Side has the same deal till 8 p.m. The final option, go home and get some sleep. Hey, sleep can provide many happy hours.

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Day 11 Aim: How do I balance my life?

As a teacher, you consider the sun lazy. Most days of the year we’re up and out the door before it’s even cracked the horizon, and stay up long after it has gone over to another hemisphere.¬† The frightening thing for teachers is that despite this, we still can’t get everything done on a given day. Oh yeah, and we need to work out, keep up with friends, navigate the dating jungle, update your fantasy football team, write your blog, and maybe eat something here and there. How do you do it? All you have to do is think what your willing to sacrifice for everything else. Me, I sacrifice sleep. 5-6 hours a night is plenty. Anything more is just gravy.

This post was brought to you by the letter C–for Coffee.

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Day 10 Aim: How can i formulate clever regulations for the classroom?

That Hammurabi was onto something. Rules need to be about accountability. If you don’t have rules, you don’t have order. If you don’t have order, then you don’t have control. If you don’t have control, then you concede the lands to the barbarians. In this case, the students are the barbarians, lest the whole “barbaric” thing. Continue reading

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