Betty's Blog

Timely Teacher Talk


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Homework and projects

It is my opinion that work done at home should not count nearly as much as work done at school.

My main reason for feeling this way is that some kids get a lot more help at home than others.  When I confronted a sixth grader's mom about a wonderfully written paper, I got a clue.  She replied, "Of course I did it.  You know he can't write."  I was speechless but grew a little bit wiser as a teacher.  I could always tell when the parents did the majority of the work.  Yet, I, like a lot of other teachers, placed A's on those assignments.

One of my really good friends (maybe not so good since she never reads my blog) is completely focused on her son's school work and teachers.  She goes online, reads the assignments, and supports him in every way that she can, including forcing him to do the work.  She looks at his grades daily (probably 220 times) and emails teachers if a grade is below 90.  He is her only child, and she is a stay at home mom.  She has the time, the resources, and the determination to have a straight A student. 

I am all for parental support, but when it comes to the real grades that count, the work should be student done and completed at school.







Snooty shoppers

When I shopped at Kroger this week, a lady and I stopped to talk about healthy cookies as we both looked for our favorites. She recommened some new style Fig Newtons that have somehow been flattened. I grew up on the old fashioned Newton in a time where Read More...

Letting things go

I think I must be mostly turtle. Hanging on comes naturally for me. My grandson asked a cousin who owns a snake what it eats. When she answered rats, he asked why she fed a pet to a pet. She reponded that rats stink and snakes don't. I think my grandson Read More...

Ouch! It is not easy to be a substitute teacher!

I can't believe that it has been so long since I have posted!  There have been a lot of life changes for me, but I think I am back and organized.  I am completely retired now.  I no longer substitute or teach adults.  My life is now more about taking care of my disabled husband, but I still hang out with my grandsons and am returning to writing.

The amusing thing for me is that now I can pretty much say what I want to say without repercussions.  I have tossed all of my p's and q's out the window. 

My first topic is how very very hard it is to substitute teach.  It is much easier to have a regular job where you know the routines and the kids.  There were numerous times when I felt like Lowly Worm.  Sitting in the teachers' workroom for lunch was usually a time of isolation.  Teachers come in and sit with their friends.  Sure, a nod or smile occasionally came my way, but for the most part, I felt like I was excluded from the group.

Now I can just hear some subs going, "Oh, that never happens to me.  It was all her fault for not taking the initiative."  Wrong!  I am a very social being.  I talk to strangers in Walmart for Pete's sake. 

Also, walking into a classroom full of kids and trying to figure out lesson plans is not easy.   Computers all work differently, and sometimes the plans just aren't there. 

A sub folder full of easy, practice work is the best way to go.  Include creative ways to keep the kids busy and on task.  Yes, I said it outloud.  I am not talking about a long term sub.  I'm referring to the sub who comes in for one or two days.  Kids don't get enough practice, so why not make an absent day practice day?  Give the sub grading keys, and you will return to graded papers and good behavior notes. 



A little too much advertising

My seven year old grandson recently asked me in all seriousness, "B, do you prefer State Farm or Geicko?" His sincerity made me think for a while before I responded because I knew I would have to justify my decision. I am being pounded daily by so much Read More...

Gym memberships

I joined 24 hour fitness or for me it might be 24 hour unfittness since I never go. Today I put on my workout clothes and am planning to take advantage of that $27.50 that comes out of my debit card once a month. Perhaps there should be a party bus that Read More...

Why cheat on silly games?

I love to play word games on my iphone. It is relaxing and challenging at the same time. Our brains need exercise. What I don't understand is the cheaters. What is the purpose of the game if you win by cheating? Personally, I really don't care if I win Read More...

School is about to start? Really?

The kids are definitely ready to go back to school even if they don't know it.  They are getting irritable and bored.  The parents know they are ready.  When I was teaching, I usually wanted a little more time off but was always excited about starting a new year.

The hard part for me was what happened after the first day back.  I became overwhelmed with meetings and paperwork.  Testing updates were always a thrill a minute as well, along with the veiled threats of new teacher evaluations designed to take the zest right out of you.  I remember having to watch boring videos describing what the evaluators would be looking for and how we could accrue points.  Ha!Ha!  If we could have evaluated those videos, the people making them would have been cast out past Gilligan's Island.

The good part about going back is seeing the excitement of the students.  I wish all of you a great year!    Big Smile

Teaching idea from art

It just occurred to me that maybe Waldo doesn’t want to be found. Maybe he is hiding in that picture for a reason.

Instead of a picture, I have been running in a hamster ball as fast as I can. My feet hurt, but I kept going. Yesterday I made the decision to stop running and take time to treasure time with my family and friends. That includes my blogging friends. I have so much to say, and sometimes it will be about life in general, although teaching will always be a part of me and my blogs. After all, life is just one big learning experience.

I resigned my job as a hospital educator. I will say more about that in future blogs. Hopefully, my insight will help those of you still out there in the trenches.

On a very personal note, my husband was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, sometimes known as the Dudley Moore Disease, since the famous actor also suffered from this dreadful disease. It is a horrible disease similar to ALS. We have known for a few years that something was going on with his health but didn’t receive a diagnosis until recently.

I look forward to being a more active blogger and returning to part of my old self. Change is inevitable, so we might as well embrace it

Idea for Back to School

Have students create a Finding (their name) picture with them hidden in it with all of their summer activites displayed in the picture. 

Teens helping others

Summers can be exciting for teenagers.  My kids always wanted to find work and earn money.  Unfortunately, valuable summer experiences and jobs are often difficult to find.  Summer volunteer programs can be a lot more meaningful in the big scheme of things than low paying summer jobs or in some cases, being bored with nothing to do.  Plus, teens can have the experience of seeing firsthand how different cultures view the world and hardships that others face on a daily basis.

Safe trips can be organized and sponsored by teachers or parents with the help of Global Leadership Adventures.  Teen summer community service is considered a valuable part of most college applications.  Students who have traveled to other countries to help and understand others typically develop compassion and wisdom beyond their years.

Of course, teen volunteer abroad must be organized with safety in mind.  Teens need to be supervised and have access to proven programs that work.  The experiences that they have need to be meaningful and worthwhile.  Trips of this kind can help develop interests in careers that make the world a better place and enrich the lives of the teens themselves.  Trips to other countries are more enjoyable when they are planned by those experienced with teens and the country itself. Well planned trips for teens give them opportunities to learn about other cultures and participate in activities that they would otherwise not have the chance to do. 

Last days of school can be painful

It is already 95 degrees here in Texas.  The grandkids are so excited that school is almost out and ready to play.  It only takes me about five minutes to be in a total sweat once I step outside. 

The first grader called me Monday night to let me know that he did not want to go to school on Tuesday.  Now, he only has this week and a half of day (ridiculous) next week, but it is getting to be too much for him.  I told him that his teacher would really miss him, so he agreed to go.  From a teacher’s standpoint, I remember hoping the kids wouldn’t show up on those last days.:0 

Then yesterday, he could not find his shoes so he wore his flip flops to school.  He said that a lot of kids were doing it. 

Enjoy these last days!  There are always memories to be made. 

What happens can smash you in the face

My heart is a little broken.  One of my closest working friends has decided to leave me.  Her decision isn’t based on me, but I am taking it rather personally. 

As a classroom teacher, I clung to my job regardless of what was happening around me.  I survived some pretty awful situations, including unfair principals and mean coworkers.  Of course, I also had some wonderful friends along the way, and that’s really what kept me going.  I have realized that my life is based on friends and laughter. 

I am a perpetual optimist looking for any opportunity that sucks me into its joy.  When I find a similar soul, I tend to make a connection that leaves me longing for more.  It’s hard to let go knowing that a replacement is not easy to find.  Yet, life is fluid, and nothing lasts forever.

With teachers losing their jobs due to a stinky economy, I know that others are experiencing some gut wrenching feelings of loss and frustration.  Take this as a time to turn into your inner self and see what else is out there.  Go back to school and get some more credentials under your belt.  It might just turn out better than you ever thought possible.

Change sometimes happens for a purpose.  The hurt can turn to joy.  It just takes time.

Pencil Sharpener Giveaway


I have recently decided that I am going to start giving stuff away.  It might just be something you want.  I haven’t decided exactly how I will do this, but I do have a few items of interest. 

First of all, I am going to start with an awesome pencil sharpener. 

pencil sharpener

In order to win this awesome item, you must make a comment about a pencil sharpening experience you remember.  This sharpener is just awesome and is brought to you by Classroom Friendly Supplies.

Why is it awesome?  It does a good job without a lot of fuss!  It is very much like the pencil sharpener that has been handed down by my family and purchased by my father years ago.  He didn’t buy anything unless it was durable enough to last a lifetime.

I will choose the winner myself based on the comment and the experience.  I will personally mail it to you.  Therefore, you can always consider me a friend.  What better deal is that? 

Let the fun begin!  I plan to put a new item out there whenever I feel like it.   Hopefully, that will be often:)  Anything is fair game.  If you want to send me items to blog about and give away, send me an email.  Life is for the living.:)

Prom Proposals go too far

One of my good friends went through a day of stress worrying that her son might be depressed if his “prom proposal” wasn’t accepted.  Obviously, “Will you go to the prom with me?” is no longer good enough.  Apparently, there is a great deal of competition to come up with unique and creative ways to ask a girl to the prom.  It sounds more like a marriage proposal to me.  Yuck!

I can only imagine how many fake proposals I would have received when I was in high school just so everyone could laugh and make bets on if I would accept or not.  Parents and kids don’t need more stress, but it seems the prom proposal is a big thing.  My friend’s son received a positive response, so everything went well for him, but I can only imagine the disasters that occur during this time of year.  Hurt feelings times 10!

Somehow this reminds me of the old days when teacher evaluations turned ugly.  Teachers did it to themselves.  In efforts to wow principals, teachers stepped it up to prepare for that amazing lesson that would rate them higher than high.  It became so competitive that principals no longer valued “good strong lessons” but expected something over the top.  I remember a principal telling me just that when she only gave me an “ok” review.  Sure enough, I stepped it up just like everybody else.  Looking back, I wish I had remained true to myself. 

Life’s Ah-ha moments

Life has a way of giving you “Ah-ha” moments.

When one of my teacher friends retired years ago, she told me that she still felt eighteen inside, but her body had gotten older.  It seemed like such a strange comment at the time, but it has really stuck with me.  She had met a man who seemed really out of character for her.  Single for years, she had devoted her life to teaching.  She was very structured, and her students were orderly and on task at all times.  Her man showed up at school one day and surprised all of us.  He had tattoos, long hair, and rode a motorcycle.  I can still see her clinging to him as they noisily left the school parking lot.  They were married with little fanfare.  I don’t even remember announcements and showers.  One day she was just gone, and someone took her place. 

The “Ah-ha” moment came for me years later when my mom started having serious health problems.  She showed us that “little girl” side that was still inside her, and my sister and I loved it.  Some of her tough exterior melted away, and there she was.  We saw a side of her that had always been there, but she had always kept hidden.

Ok.  I do have a point.  Don’t store yourself away inside until it’s time to retire.  Be true to yourself.  Don’t be afraid to show who you really are. Share your “ah-ha”moments with others.  It is liberating.

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