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Posted by on in General

The kids had only been gone for three days but, now that the Memorial Day long weekend was over, my work as an assistant principal was ready to begin again.  It was time to clear out the old year and prepare for the next one, which would begin in two months whether we were ready or not. 

Fortunately, this first day back, there were no district meetings planned, no professional development “opportunities” scheduled, and no parent conferences expected.  I began my day sitting with the principal and developing my “to-do” list from his requests and then adding a few of my own chores as well.

A few teachers had returned as they had not completely checked out for the summer break the Friday before.  I visited each in their classrooms, inspected the walls and floors for some sense of cleanliness and signed their check-out forms for the secretary.  I helped them move desks and boxes and bookcases out of the way so that the custodians could easily clean the carpet before fall. 

There were also many teachers who had been told that they would be teaching in different classrooms during the new school year.  All of their personal belongings had been boxed and labeled and placed with the furniture they owned near their classroom entrances.  For most of these individuals, long-time veterans in the field, the collection at the door was massive.  You amass a great deal over the years and, in true teacher fashion, you never throw anything away.  (Personally, I still have ditto masters and overhead transparencies in my files despite the fact that the “technology” to use both is no longer existent). 

As I moved in and out of classrooms, I ran into our day custodian, Maria, who had her own list of things to do for the day.  I had worked with this wonderful lady for several years and knew her to be an extremely hardworking individual dedicated to the staff and kids on campus.  If I even hinted that something needed done, she was on it in seconds with nary a complaint. 

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Posted by on in General

Jack and His Plans for Next Year:

"Mr. Ramsey!"

I try hard to ignore goofy Jack who, at 13, still doesn't know how to raise his hand to get my attention.

"Mr. Ramsey!"

I grit my teeth. Don't give in, I say to myself. Don't even look his way.

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Posted by on in General

I began teaching at age seven.

I gave my poor siblings handwritten worksheets with simple addition problems to solve and letters to trace. When they were done, I graded their work and planned the next day’s lesson.

A few years later, all of my friends were begging their parents for walkie-talkies so that they could play army games. I begged as well. But I had no intention of running around an imagined battlefield.

I wanted an intercom system for my little private school.

The minute my parents gave in and handed me my new handheld devices, I promoted myself to the position of principal and allowed my younger sister to take over the classroom. She set up instruction in her bedroom while I set up my office in my own room. Each of us had a walkie talkie. Oh, how I delighted in interrupting her classroom with multiple announcements.

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Posted by on in General

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The social skill of the week was “Asking Permission.” My seventh graders were writing about an experience that had involved their use of this skill. The room was quiet as they filled out their index cards and as I prepared for the day’s lesson.

I looked up and scanned the room. Everybody was on task. Except Ivan. The squirrely boy was on all fours, crawling on the floor between desks.

“Ivan!” I bellowed. “What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for my pencil,” he replied with a giggle.

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Posted by on in General

Before you are permitted to make any disparaging remarks about teachers, you must first meet each of the expectations listed below:

You will be my substitute for the day. Just you. All day.

You must arrive at my classroom no later than 7:55 a.m. Children will be arriving at that time. Open the door and let them in. Make sure that they are getting their free breakfast as you also watch to make sure that they are getting ready for their first class of the day and not running around the room. At the same time, stand at the door and monitor the flow of students to other classes as they proceed through the hallway.

You may use my lesson plans if you like. Please be aware that the copier has been down for most of the week. Likewise, the Smart Board has had issues and the student laptops have been severely limited due to poor Wi-Fi. You may have to “monitor and adjust,” as we teachers like to say. At all times, however, you must adhere to the State Standards as stated and meticulously described within the three-inch binder next to my desk.

Please refrain from using your cellphone in class. Do not make doctor appointments or other arrangements during the school day. These must be scheduled for after school times.

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