Catching up on school life

All work is graded. Still need to do a bunch of pl*nning for class and for Academic Decathlon. I have to read A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I have a door decor contest to prepare. *sigh*

Going from 90 students to 160 students, plus a section of ELP (independent study for students who have failed classes) students, has pushed me to my limits. It’s so much harder. Everything takes so much longer. Doing the math - if I look at every single paper for one assignment for one minute - that’s 160 minutes - 2 hours and 40 minutes. For one assignment. I have had to rethink what I assign and how I assign it - I do more quick check formative assessments (mini quizzes using technology tools like Socrative, quickwrites, exit tickets, and discussions) with one or two summative ones for end of unit assessing.

I am trying to wrap my head around this and I have only 5 weeks left with my first trimester kiddos. YIKES!

But, there have been some awesome successes, too.

I almost have a complete Academic Decathlon team - YAY!

I have been accepted back wholeheartedly and made to feel like one of the gang again.

I have been able to connect with several kiddos who were less than stellar students and that has helped the daily atmosphere.

I have taken the ELP class and made every single kid walk into my room smiling. :) It’s amazing at what a smile and a “good afternoon” will do!


Ben Folds Five’s “Brick” is one of those songs that gets sadder as I get older. Maybe I’m more emotional (ick) or maybe I understand the gravity of it better. Either way, excuse me while I try not to sob in Starbucks while grading essays.

Which songs mean more to you now than they did when you first heard them?

Springsteen’s Human Touch cuts deep when you actually climb in and hear the lyrics and the loneliness and longing in the lyrics. This line always gets me:

Yeah I know I ain’t nobody’s bargain
But hell a little touchup
And a little paint…

Of course, there’s also The Freshmen by The Verve Pipe and as someone else mentioned - What Sarah Said by Deathcab for Cutie.

I want this.
I miss this.
I knew the move would take this away from me again, but…
Instead, we have another heat warning - over 100 again. *sigh*

I want this.

I miss this.

I knew the move would take this away from me again, but…

Instead, we have another heat warning - over 100 again. *sigh*

(Source: crisp-leaves, via beasyou-are)


Shemar Moore 😩🙌

Just started my Netflix binge watching of Criminal Minds…he he he

(Source: blackmen, via msleahqueenhbic)

(Source: donnajosh, via probalicious)

Weekly Update…

which is all I am able to do at this point…

I sold my planning period - I will be taking over an ELP section. These are students who have failed a core class and are required to make it up in a “study hall” like class using online curriculum created by the teachers. We have too many students and not enough teachers. And, I was asked because they know I can handle the kids, as they are not the easiest kids to work with. I am excited by the opportunity, but already dread the LONG days.

Then, I will be tutoring after school two days a week and running my Academic Decathlon club at least once a week, until we get further into the curriculum.

Overall, it has been a good start to a great year. I am a bit worried, because I am now 1/4 of the way through my government class. We are on the trimester schedule and it is a one trimester class. Retweaking some ideas to fit better in the timeline.

This week’s low points:

  • Falling down the 2 (yes, 2, chuckle away) stairs in my classroom, in front of my acadec kids, and scraping up my entire left shin. It was quite bloody and quite painful, but I jumped up, held the meeting bleeding and all.
  • Realizing so many of my students face more hurdles than any adult should have to face, let alone these teenagers.

This week’s high points:

  • Having students stay after to ask questions, study for retakes, and just hang out for a few minutes to chat.
  • Starting a conversation with two students about their futures and how anything is possible if you work hard for it. And back up plans are a great idea.
  • Payday Friday!! Which also meant the bi-weekly meet-up with some great teachers.
  • And, a three day weekend!

I should be grading the giant pile of essays I already have…


But instead I have:
Watched cartoons/snuggled
Played with Legos
Eaten at least two apples
Made baked oatmeal muffins while wearing fun aprons
Discussed the awesomeness of Olaf panties

I brought all my pl*nning home so I could be ready for the next three weeks. I convinced myself of this so I c/would leave behind all the grading I have to do. Instead of pl*nning, I have:

watched one more season of SVU,

went to the movies and saw Sin City,

went to dinner with my daughter to celebrate my birthday,

skipped a bbq for “new” teachers because I just couldn’t drag myself out of the house to do it (introvert problems),

pl*nned (ok a bit) my soon to happen presidential scavenger hunt.


im so not a club person. i just wanna get hit on and fall in love in a grocery store!!!

(via hipsterenglishteacher)

My voice: S.D. teacher shortage at ‘crisis’ level



For as long as I was a student in the Rapid City, South Dakota public school system, I was told that our teachers were paid the least in the nation, so we really shouldn’t be expecting a whole lot from our education. 

To give you some figures of salaries: 

Rapid City Area Schools

First year teacher with a bachelor’s degree: $30,753
Teacher with master’s degree and 5 years experience: $37,554

 Campbell County School District, Wyo. (30 miles from Rapid City)

First year teacher with a bachelor’s degree: $46,000
Teacher with master’s degree and 5 years experience: $55,200

Obviously, we are losing our teachers to other states far within our geographic reach because of the drastic difference in not only starting salaries, but additionally what is being offered for highly-educated and experienced teachers. Because of this, 238 teaching positions, almost 30 percent of the total number of jobs posted in the spring, remained open across the state well past the end of the school year.

This is a major problem. 

I knew I fared much better at Central High School than some of my peers in rural communities across the state. And I’m speaking from a point of privilege here; both of my parents are highly educated and I was able to participate in after-school activities that kept me stimulated, involved, and invested in my future. The violin saved my life and opened up a bright future when it came to applying for scholarships to get out of South Dakota. When I’m asked if I’d ever go back to live in the state the reason my stomach sinks is because I feel strongly that South Dakota is lacking that same bright future. More than half (55%) of students enrolled at Central High School as freshman drop out before graduation. 

Comparatively, the national average of high school students reaching graduation was 80% in 2012, it is not difficult to see how drastically South Dakota students are falling woefully behind. 

The reality is this is not an issue with consequences isolated to the people of South Dakota. As one of the nation’s leading providers in the agricultural and beef industries, we are in danger of losing not only ranchers and farmers but savvy business people who are our hope for maintaining footholds in family-owned operations. They are putting food in your pantries and dinners on your plates and they deserve better educations, or we all suffer. 

I recommend calling the office of Governor Daugaard (605.773.3212and saying something along the lines of:

Hi, Governor Daugaard. As a concerned citizen I am troubled by the lack of financial support being granted to South Dakota public school teachers. As you know, we are losing a significant percentage of qualified teachers to other states with more competitive salaries and are failing to fill hundreds of teaching positions across the state. As a result, I’m worried for the futures of not only thousands of students all around South Dakota, but the drastic affects an uneducated populous will have on a national level. Let’s not have South Dakota teachers be the paid the lowest in the nation for another consecutive year. 

If the phone isn’t for you, you can also submit a form.

Argus Leader
Rapid City Journal
US News
Washington Post

As someone who lives in this part of the country (but no, not South Dakota), this is very worrisome to me. 

Coming from South Dakota, this is sad and true. I earned my ed degrees in SD, but left for a job - because as a single mom, there was NO way I could afford to be a teacher without having two part-time jobs. There are other reasons I will never move back, but this is number one. Almost every single teacher I knew was either married (2 incomes) or worked 2 extra jobs, plus put in all the extra hours they could at extracurricular activities - running snack bars, hosting events, etc.




“A little bit of Monica in my life,A little bit of Erica by my side,A little bit of Rita is all I need,A little bit of Tina is what I see,A little bit of Sandra in the sun,A little bit of Mary all night long,A little bit of Jessica, here I am…”

If you don’t know this reference, you’re definitely too young for me. 

You know you sang it in your head.
I really sang it out loud




“A little bit of Monica in my life,
A little bit of Erica by my side,
A little bit of Rita is all I need,
A little bit of Tina is what I see,
A little bit of Sandra in the sun,
A little bit of Mary all night long,
A little bit of Jessica, here I am…”

If you don’t know this reference, you’re definitely too young for me. 

You know you sang it in your head.

I really sang it out loud

(via adventuresofastudentteacher)