I Feel Slightly Guilty

February 10, 2012

Why?

Because I’m going to go see Star Wars Episode I in 3D tonight.

I should say that I am a big Star Wars fan, but my attitudes toward the films have changed a little bit with time. I may have already posted on this topic before, and if so, just skip it and I’ll talk to you again later. But for now… allow me to explain my guilt.

I still love them (episode I is the one movie that I love like I would love a distant cousin). But I have really jumped onto the idea that these movies deserve a good reboot.

That’s blasphemy in geekspeak but just hear me out.

Yes, the movies were great. But they will always be a classic. Why not try changing things up a little?

Let’s get rid of that creepy sexual tension between Luke and Leia in episodes 4 and 5.

Let’s snip out all those ewoks and jar-jars. Let’s look at this great big universe and allow the older movies to be as open as we had wished they were. Let’s get a little more clarification of Darth Vader/Anakin’s motivations. Why not have a little bit more Boba Fett? Why not deepen the relationship between Leia and Han earlier? Why not let Chewie become a really valuable character on film?

Why not more space battles? Why not even cooler lightsaber battles?

In short, let’s just get a little more mature with these movies.

Let George hand over the reins and see what happens. It really couldn’t be much worse that the prequels. (Which I mostly enjoyed).

And this little seed of hope for the series has brought me to tonight. Maybe tonight will be the last time these movies ever touch the big screen. Maybe George will wise up and allow somebody else to give it a chance.

Or maybe this is just the stepping stone before the movies get upgraded again and are redone in super HD quality.

D.A.

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At 12:00 p.m. on January 19th I will have officially completed my first half of my first professional year of teaching. It’s been pretty insane. Had a kid drop a smoking bowl in my room. Had a few kids never show up. Had some kids really put the pieces together and learn some cool stuff. I’ve learned things too.

Allow me to let you know a few things that I have learned over that past 4 or 5 months.

It wasn’t and will probably never be exactly what I expected. You experienced teachers could read this sentence as “I’m totally a noob.”  I’m trying to get better at this job and it’s going to take a lot of hard work. The good news is, as long as somebody is willing to hire me in the future, I’m going to be willing in trying to get better.

My first group of kids can only be described as “ecletic”. I’ve had kids that are wonderful and introspective toward the material. I’ve had kids that are apathetic/not awake through out my classes. I’ve have some kids who are a handful, but mean well. I’ve had kids who are quite and obediant but are probably wishes terrible things on me.

I’ve had kids who didn’t show up but a few times in the 90 days of class. I’ve had kids that haven’t missed a single second. There were even some kids that I really felt great hope for our future knowing that they will be the decision makers for important companies and organizations. There are some kids that I really feel concern about them being able to function in open society.

My coworkers are awesome. I have been given so much help from them it’s almost a crime. They are super nice and easy to get along with. I really feel comfortable there, as compared to the other schools I have worked at.

I think the leadership at the school is solid as well. I really enjoy working for the people who hired me. I think they have a vision for the school and really want these students to succeed, and yet they still do their best to stay out of a teacher’s hair if they can help it.

Not having a faculty restroom really sucks. This point really explains itself.

Science is hardly any student’s favorite subject. This hurts my feelings as well as affects my kids grades.

I remember when I was in high school, it wasn’t my favorite subject. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure if I had a favorite subject… I think most kids don’t see science for what it should be and have been led astray in their comprehension on how to perform it. This causes many problems in terms of their understanding of the material.

Eating at the teacher cafe is hardly ever worth it. While the food is sometimes surprisingly tasty, the fries are almost always soggy and cold. $5 for this is really not motivating me to spend any more money there.

Planning periods bipolar. They are both a tranquil escape from the daily grind or a terribly stressful ride on a rocket ship of frustration. On the days when you have planned most everything for the day, you can really take 15 minutes to just breath and enjoy the silence. You can even feel a smile spread across your fact.

On the days when you have 12 things to get done in an hour you can feel your heart rate match the rate of a fighter pilot in battle. You may even feel the sweat drip from your brow onto Timmy’s paper where he kept writing the response “IDK” on the homework from last night. As the bell rings at the end you let out a holler of frustration that sounds like Chewbacca squatting in the woods after a night partaking in the all-you-can-eat buffet at the local Taco Del Rio.

A failed plan is better than no plan at all. If you walk into a classroom and have a plan, more power to you. Even if that plan fails, at least you tried and you can at least try to salvage that. It’s okay, that kind of think happens to everybody.

If you walk in with no real idea what you want to accomplish, then you will have a painful experience. It will be a hard experience to shake off. You may even get that thousand yard stare for a few hours there….

Yelling is always an option. It’s just never a good one. Once you’ve done it, you’ve lost the game.

Pick a time when you’re available after school to help kids/allow them to make up tests. If you tell them, “I’m here everyday after school. Just let me know when you will make it.” two things will take place. 1. They will never remember/lie about when they are going to come in. You will wait. You will hope. They will never accomplish this. 2. They would rather be told when rather than decide for themselves.

Assign lab groups. Don’t let them pick that crap. Because you will get crap from them.

Find a way to keep kids informed of their grades/missing work. This one is tricky. I know there at 1000’s of different methods to figure this out. I know you may have some awesome suggestions (Honestly, if you have one, please let me know what you do) but you need to find one that works.

So far, I haven’t been lucky enough to win the battle on this subject. It’s just a messy situation.

Grading and scoring directly proportional to the work they turn in. If kids aren’t turning stuff in, it doesn’t matter how you grade papers/assignments, they will still get a bad grade. It’s okay to use your own grading system, the trick is being consistent with whatever you pick.

Late work is just… stupid.  I previously allowed for kids to turn in work late at a great penalty. I don’t think this works nor do I want to deal with assignments from 3 weeks ago. On time = full credit. 1 day late = half credit. 2 days or more = no credit.

I’m not sure if that’s fair, but I let my kids know when stuff is due days (1 week in advance actually) ahead of time. If they don’t get it done then, they usually don’t try to get it done even with an unlimited amount of time.

Most kids will look at you like they hate you. Some of them probably do. Most of them probably don’t though. Maybe.

In general, it was a mess. It was a pleasure. And it was definitely a challenge.

I have 75 new faces to learn on Monday. Wish me luck.

D.A.

I’m Proud of My Student

November 10, 2011

What you will see is what one of my students turned in to me today. She has not been doing too well in my class and decided that she needed to do some sort of extra credit so she could help her scores.

For my class, if you want a good amount of extra credit, you will have to write me a paper. It’s got to be a minimum of 500 words and it has to be on a topic that both me and the student agree on. That makes sure I know to expect a paper on a particular subject and that student knows more of the details on what they are going to write about.

As long as this is done correctly I am willing to give them up to 50 extra credit points toward their final grade. That’s the equivilant of making up a homework assignment. All in all, that’s a pretty awesome deal.

So, today, this student walks into my class with a paper in hand.

“Mr. Bancroft, I wrote the paper you told me to write.” said one of my afternoon kids.

“We never agreed on a topic.” I laughed. “So what is this paper on?”

“The stuff we just learned about. You said I could write a paper on that.” she said.

“I did? I don’t remember this. Okay, that’s fine. I guess I will read this today after school.” I said as I walked back to my desk.

“Oh,” she blurted out as she was walking away. “And before you ask me, no, I didn’t plagiarize anything. Everybody who read this keeps telling me it’s cheating. And I’m not cheating.”

I was a little stumped.

“I never accused you of cheating, but okay, I’ll take your word on it.”

This last statement I made is teacher-speak for “Yeah, I totally suspect you of cheating. Now I will go over this with a fine-toothed comb.”

And I did.

The pink writing (my own) says this: “I have highlighted all the sentences that are from the textbook. This is called plagerism. It will not be accepted.”

 

 

There you go. You don’t get to see the two other pages and why would you want to? It’s just more highlighter and scribbles.

All the highlighted sentences are exactly the same as the textbook. Funny enough, I found it under the chapter section titled “Reproductive Anatomy.” How original, eh? I even pointed out the specific paragraphs and sentences in some places.

As I kept reading I couldn’t control my laughter. Overall, of the three pages of text she typed, five sentences might be original. (And this is my very generous estimation. The paper is mostly bright orange and yellow/green.

I’m not sure how this student thought this would be a good idea. Who thinks this can be done and I wouldn’t notice?

This really made my weekend.

D.A.

Like I said. I’m so proud of my students.

Tomorrow at 5:09 a.m.

August 21, 2011

That time will mark the beginning of the part of my life that I never really imagined would come.

I still wish I was pretending to be a Teenage Mutant Turtle (Donatello, of course) and putting Legos together.

I will wake up, get dressed, go to work, and try to teach/entertain over 100 people. I will continue to do this for a period that spans over most of the year. I will also get paid to do so. I will also be called Mr. Bancroft all day.

I will wear a tie and my converse. I will carry books back and forth from school to home. I will grade papers. I will have meetings and sit in on teams. I will have parent conferences and emails. I will take attendance and give detentions.

Only word comes to mind.

“Blllluuuuuuggggggg-mmmmmpppph.”

Cultures around the world identify this word as generally meaning:

“Who want’s to wake up at 5 in the morning?”

If I don’t post tomorrow, it’s because one of three reasons. 

1. I’m too tired to bother with silly and childish things on the internet.

2. I really want to do those silly things on the internet but was too tired because I woke up at 5 in the morning.

3. I was eaten alive by a a couple dozen freshmen in a local high school. Check the local news for my name.

(I should also distinguish that “silly and childish things on the internet” doesn’t mean what you do on the internet is silly, it only means what I do on the internet is silly. If you read/subscribe to this blog then you must know and understand exactly what that means.)

D.A.

“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die”  — Loretta Lynn

But everybody dies sooner or later. That’s why you should spend as much of your life doing what you love.

This is why people have bucket lists. They have a list of things that they MUST do before they die. I’m no exception to this idea. I really would like to accomplish a few things before my life ends here on earth. One of those is to get something published as a writer. To really stand out on my own and show the world that I am important and unique in my own way.

“I just had a dream about zombies, some were green and some were purple; some fake, some real. I just know that it kind of freaked me out” — Me

What…?

I know, I had a good thing going there. I was making you think about life and what really matters to you. You might have even been thinking that you totally knew where this was going. This blog was going to be remarkably unoriginal, the guy was totally a wuss, and you were totally bored. Then I’ve got to screw everything all up.

Well I’m okay with that. And if you are as well,  then keep on reading.

To explain the title of the post, I would really like to create my own new world.

No, not in that maniacal kind of way. I’m not some villain that is trying to destroy the world and rebuild it in their image. And that image would likely involve transforming the state of Connecticut into a giant trampoline. I’m not sure if that could  be done, but I would be such a ruthless dictator that I would make it happen. Oh yeah, I’d live in a volcano and wear a spiky helmet.

No, no. I’m not one of those people. But I do wear an eye patch and plot doom for others…

When I say “create my own world” I mean to find a new field of personal expression.

Okay, let’s not play games here, I’m not actually a ‘writer’. I’m more of a reader who aspires to write. In turn I will be using this tool to help me become more of a writer. That basically means I’m going to write things (stories and ideas) in a manner that isn’t totally embarrassing for myself as well as a little entertaining for you. I will put a lot of work into making something entertaining, but am mostly just publishing this to learn more about the craft of writing. Finding my voice if you will.

Also, I would love to hear the opinions of those on the internet (the most receptive audience in the world, I know). You reading this (and any future writings) can provide me with essential advice that will help me hone and develop my small amount of skill into something that I can be happy with.

Within a week I plan on adding a short story. Feel free to express your opinions and tell me how to edit and format the work. You can tell me what works and what doesn’t. You can tell me to print it and then burn it, destroy my computer, and smack my deceased mother for giving birth to me. Hey, you can even compliment me from time to time.

Either way, I hope we can have fun and I can scratch something off my bucket list in the future.

Sincerely, D.A. Bancroft