Friday, May 27, 2011

My 10 Favorite Books My Teacher Made Me Read

As I was kicking around my favorite quote website, I found this quote by Stanley Kubrick,
“I never learned anything at all in school and didn't read a book for pleasure until I was 19 years old.”
, with all due respect Mr. Kubrick, I do find that hard to believe, even though as a teacher I know students hate to be told what to read, and few read for pleasure. The quote did, however, get me to thinking about the novels and plays I "make" my students read, and the novels that my teachers "made" me read. Some I liked, and of course, some I disliked. This post is about the ones I actually enjoyed, even though I was required to read them. No, I'm not going to give anything away. You, too, may have to read them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Goodbye to the Oprah Winfrey Show...

Tomorrow will be the final episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. It is signing off after 25 years on the air. The show has had an amazing run. No show with a black star as it's center has lasted as long as the Oprah Winfrey Show. I've never been a huge fan of the Oprah Winfrey show, mostly because I really don't care for talk shows. Yet, I've always been an admirer of Oprah herself. Last week one of my students called Oprah Winfrey a fake. I took offense to that. Here is why...

I am a poor little black girl from Mississippi. I, too, saw education as a way out; however, it was to help others get out. In Oprah, I saw someone who was not ashamed to be educated. I saw a woman who encouraged people to pick up a book and read. I saw someone who could sit down at a table with presidents and princes, but wouldn't mind shooting the breeze on the front porch either. She is everything to everyone.

Oprah Winfrey (2004)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Respect...

Yesterday was an extraordinarily busy day. I've said a thousand times the beginning and the end of the school year are the toughest. So imagine my surprise, as I was finally sitting down to dinner, when my sister announced that Randy "Macho Man" Savage had died. My mouth dropped open, because I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it. I grew up watching Randy Savage. I even use to mock his signature, "Ooooh, Yeah!!" right down to the veins popping out of the neck.

I think of all the athletes pro wrestlers get the least amount of respect. Maybe it's the freakishly, cartoon bodies. Maybe it's the rampant steroid use. Maybe it's the choreographed endings to the matches. Maybe it's the over the top storylines. Whatever the reason. Pro wrestlers are the ugly step-sisters to other sports.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Different Verse, Same as the First

It seems that every year around this time; I find myself commenting on the alcohol problem in this country. In 2009, I wrote "Who is the Real Bad Guy," and in 2010, I wrote "What's Past is Prologue..." Here I am again, writing yet again about this problem-teens and alcohol. Earlier this week, the following item appeared on my homepage "Facebook Photos Land 11 Athletes Lengthy Suspensions." A parent saw these athletes on Facebook acting inappropriately and turned their names in to the principal. Before Yahoo and a problem with the comments, I decided to read a few. *side note: I probably should stop that practice because it only succeeds in making me angry.* They were yelling at the "Busy-body mom whose kid probably wasn't invited," "Jealous mom who wasn't included when she was in high school," or "kids will be kids, and the school can't control what our kids do after school, that's the parent's responsibility." Au contraire mon frere...

The James Tate Conundrum

here have been two news stories that I've been paying attention to this week. One was all over the place, and the other I just happened to see when I opened my Yahoo home page. The first story was about Connecticut high school senior James Tate. James Tate, the young romantic, entered his school's campus way after hours (around 1 a.m.) to tape a cardboard prom proposal to one of his classmates. Awwwww...and she said yes!!!

But, young James had to be punished. The principal gave him a 1 day in-school suspension. Boooooo!!! But, it gets worse...young James made to fatal mistake of getting suspended after the April 1st deadline.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

This is my 100th Post!!!! I really wanted to do something special with this post. When I was in 4th grade, I made a crucial decision in my life. I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. This was not because I couldn't do other things. This was something that I have always wanted to do. To be surrounded by books, to impart the knowledge that I have received from those books, and to influence someone positively was the main reason behind my becoming a teacher. Even the hard work, I love it. I complain, who doesn't, but nothing feels better than when I've finally reached that unmotivated student. There is no better feeling than seeing your former students succeed. I've always hated that quote, "Those who can-do; those who can't-teach." I swear, H. L. Menchen. That is by far is the biggest insult to those who give of themselves every day to educate our youth. I don't recall where I heard this, but this quote is more appropriate, "Those who can do, do it because of a teacher." None of us would be anywhere without a teacher, and I'm not just talking about the one's in the classroom. Someone taught you everything you know, and for that you should thank them, which is what I'm going to do.

I would like to take this moment to thank all of those men and women who have shaped me over years, my elementary teachers, my junior high teachers, my high school teachers, my college professors, and all of those teachers who have mentored me since I became a teacher. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for having had each of you touch my life.

The person I would like to thank the most is my grandmother Marguerite Johnson Jones. My "Momma Dear" was the first teacher I ever had. She brought me books from as far back as I can remember. She made sure that I was never without books. She worked as many as 3 jobs at a time to take care of her six kids, basically as a single parent, and she raised three grandchildren, a great grandchild and a great-great grandchild. She taught me about football (she loved the 49ers, especially Joe Montana and Jerry Rice), pro wrestling (she loved the Junkyard Dog), cooking (she made a mean potato salad which I inherited), and she taught me about people. She was my teacher, my mom, my nurse, my counselor, and my best friend. My grandmother's birthday was April 27. She would have been 84 years old. It has been 7 years since she passed away. I always took the opportunity to tell her how much she meant to me. Even so, I would like to thank her again for all that she gave me. Thank you, Momma Dear. I still miss you...

So, take the time to thank those teacher's who have made a difference in your life. Remember, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”~Carl Jung