22 October 2014

Patience Is Running Low

It is the end of the term and I am running out of patience.  I really do like my job, but man-oh-man, sometimes I just want to bang my head against the wall, throw all the papers away and hide in a dark corner with a Coke, a cheeseburger, and a donut.  Sigh.

Next week is a new start.  The papers will have to be graded by then.  No one will ask me to retake a test for at least a few weeks and I might, just might, be able to keep my head above water for a little while.  In the meantime, I decided to vent a little here . . . It will make me feel better.

SAGE & Common Core
We finally got our results back last week from the first implementation of the new year end state testing.  We did pretty bad as a school.  My results were dismal except for one class that was  . . .  what's a word that is worse than dismal . . . awful?!?  I had one class period with 0% proficiency.  ZERO!  I'm not proud of it by any means, but there are also many factors outside my control that effected it.  It's been stressing me out.

Side note:  For the couple of people who actually read my blog, please note that Common Core is not bad!  The curriculum for math is good. Utah's implementation of it has been sub-par and working in a small district means we have very limited resources for putting it all together.  If you'd like to have more of a conversation about this when state-wide results come out next week, I'd be happy to engage.

Here are some examples of why I lose patience at this time of the term.

Scenario 1
Student:  I need to retake a test.
Me: You can come in on Tuesday or Thursday after school or during your lunch or to the teacher next door on Wednesday or Thursday before school or you can work on it during the last 15 minutes of class.
Student: I can't come today after school.
Me:  Ok?!?
Student:  I can't come on Thursday after school.  I have a football game.
Me:  Then . . . (I list all the options again)
Student: Fine!  I will miss my last football game.  [Student glares at me like I have ruined his life and eaten all his steak.]
Me:  That doesn't sound like the best option.  If I were your coach I wouldn't want you to miss the game.
Student: It's an away game.
Me: ????
Student: I need more time.  Can I do it next week?
Me:  You've had a month to retake the test and Friday is the last day of the term.  No, you do not get any more time.
Student:  Fine.  I will miss the football game. [Student looks like he is about to cry.]

Scenario 2
Math Lab is 8th period.  It is a class during the day for struggling math students.  I help them with their homework and after some of them fail tests, I help them re-learn the material and try to hold their hand to take the test again.  On Wednesday, I pulled six or so kids aside to help them with their retakes.  They all scored between 20-50% on the last test.  I would do 5 or 6 problems on the board and ask them questions, quiz them, etc.  Once they seemed to make some progress I'd say, "ok now do those similar 5 or 6 problems on the retake."  I even left the work we had just done on the board!  I got blank stares.  I had two pouters who just put their heads down.  I got, "why are you making us do this it's the end of the term!"  My response, "because you just failed a test" had absolutely no softening effect.  Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!

Scenario 3
Student:  Mrs. Binggeli, I turned in like 300 assignments yesterday to the late box and it still says I am missing them online . . . . but I turned them in.
Me:  Do you see the late box over there?  It is full and I just emptied it last Friday.  When you turn papers in on time, I put them online on time.  When you turn them in late, you have to wait until I get to them.
Student: But it still says I'm missing them . . .
Me:  There is not an automatic uploading of data between that blue late work box and the online grading system. I have to actually look at your 300 assignments and then grade them and then enter a score.  It takes time.
Student:  ???
Me:  I'll get to it.
Student:  What do you think it will bring my grade up to?
Me:  I don't know.
Student:  Will it bring it up?
Me:  It won't bring it down.
Student: So will it bring it up?
Me:  [Sigh].  Yes.

Scenario 4
Me:  It's almost 4:30.  I need to go and get my own orphan children from the daycare. You need to wrap up what you're working on and turn it in.
Student:  What's really more important?  Me or your own children?
Me: [silence]
Student:  Ok.  Will this at least help me so I'm not failing anymore?
Me: You're not failing.  You have like, a B.
Student:  I do??
Me: Yes.
Student:  So why am I here?
Me:  I don't know.  You tell me.
Student:  Are you sure I don't have an F?
Me:  Yes, you have a B?  I need to go now so turn in what you have done.
Student:  Do you know the Bible dictionary mentions unicorns? [Student pulls out his scriptures to show me the unicorn reference in the Bible dictionary.]

I could go on, but I'll stop.  It will end soon.
New term.
Fresh start.
Good attitude.

Dribble Pass Shoot

 . . .  and so another basketball season begins!

The Utes are looking pretty good and are actually ranked to finish second in the PAC 12 this year.  I'm sure it's too soon to tell, but maybe, just maybe we will get an NCAA bid as well.  Wouldn't that be cool?  I won't hold my breath, but it would be cool!

On Tuesday night we headed to the newly remodeled Huntsman Center for "Meet The Utes" night.  It was fun.  It was dark because there are these new giant black curtains that block off the whole upper bowl for smaller events, but it was still fun.  

Jack looks like he is asleep, but he is really just watching the game and getting ready to hi-five me when someone scores!

Molly stole her dad's hat.  

James played with the camera features on his phone and took this one.  

That's it.  I'm excited!  I love basketball!

UEA = Days Off!

My most favorite October holiday is not Halloween, it's UEA!  Hooray, hooray, for U-E-A!

Here is what we did to celebrate:


On Thursday we slept in, ate breakfast, and just bummed around all morning.  Jack spent some quality time watching the washing machine spin around.  It is one of his favorite hobbies.  Eventually we got dressed and in the car to head out and run some errands. We went to the Family Dollar, to Kohls, and maybe we stopped for french fries at a drive-up window.

While out and about, we got a text from Aunt Chris telling us she was tending her grandson Max and wondered if Molly and Jack could play.  Jack crashed asleep on the way home, but Molly wanted to play so we swung by our house, loaded her bike in the car and took her to Chris and Jerry's house.  She hung out with Max all afternoon.  They drove around in Max's electric car, ate popcorn, ice cream, and watched a movie.  Molly didn't want to come home, so I think she had a great day!  (I borrowed this picture from Chris).

On Thursday night when Jack was in the bath I found Molly in this position.  I was really worried she may have chopped her legs off to fit in that laundry basket, but I guess she wanted a cozier bed.  


On Friday morning we left the house to head out to my Grandpa's.  My mom had asked us if we could come help with some yard clean up and general winterizing type tasks.  We were happy to go!  Chris, Jerry, and Max were there to help, as well as Annie and her boys. We raked leaves, did some stuff to the pool, sprayed weeds, covered up patio furniture, and ate Square Pumpkins from the Arctic Circle. It was a fun morning! 

We got a phone call from Grandma and Grandpa Binggeli that they were in the neighborhood!  Grandpa had been called for jury duty, but finished early and they wanted to drop off some things and stop by for a visit.  We had a nice afternoon with them hanging out at Kohl's and then playing outside at home for a little while!

I can't think of a better way to spend a day off than to hang out with FAMILY!


Saturday was my mom's 60th birthday!  I decided to help her celebrate by asking her to tend my kids while I did my Saturday morning church calling - young women's volleyball. She, of course, obliged and the kids got to hang out at Wyatt's soccer game with my mom and dad.  The rest of Saturday was spent doing laundry, trying to straighten up small portions of the house and leave the rest a disaster while I tried to grade nearly 200 math tests, going to the grocery store, playing, and watching movies.  


On Sunday we went to church.
Sunday evening we were treated to a birthday dinner at Annie's house for my mom.  It was a fun evening with good food, fancy desserts, and crazy children.  My parents both have fall birthdays.  They are good parents, even though every birthday reminds them that they may be getting old and closer to becoming actual senior citizens.  

I stole this picture from Annie, but I liked it!

That is the report on our October Fall Break UEA Vacation!