Thursday, May 01, 2008

20 Things My Kids Have Learned at MCHS

1. If enough of your classmates whine about a test, project, paper, or assignment deadline, the teacher will change it.

2. If enough kids whine about how hard a project is, the teacher will make it easier.

3. If a lot of the kids act like they really enjoy group work, the teacher will let you all do more, including coloring and skits. There’s always some nerd in the group who wants to learn and does a good job, so everyone gets a good grade!

4. A five-page paper, double-spaced, is the most anyone will ever expect of you in life. Plus, you get to whine about it!

5. No matter if the course title is AP or honors, if the teacher is bad, everyone gets a good grade, whether they learn or do anything or not.

6. If you’re in sports, you get excused from a lot of assignments.

7. If your teacher is a coach, there’s a lot of free time in class and very few assignments.

8. Homework? What’s homework? We do that in class instead of getting a full 90 minutes (block schedule) of instruction or learning activities.

9. Ninety minutes of silent reading while the teacher is on the computer is considered a good use of our time at school.

10. We guess you can learn a lot from movies. We sure see plenty of them, including the same ones year after year or stuff we’ve seen at home already.

11. If you’re involved in enough activities and can’t keep up in class, get your parents to complain and the teachers will lower their expectations!

12. If you get a tough teacher who makes you learn and work, you will remember them fondly forever, and, regardless of the class, it will be what you wish for in every other class you ever take.

13. Never complain about not having enough work, hard enough work, or expectations being low because then the teachers will give you a lower grade to “prove” you wrong.

14. If you have to read a book for a class, it will be depressing. If you already don’t read for pleasure, this will help make sure you never do.

15. If you are smart and non-conformist, someone will call your parents to discuss your “problems.”

16. If you hate school – go anyway! Make sure to take classes with coach-teachers to keep your GPA high. They’ll give you a diploma just to get rid of you!

17. If you want to know if you’re prepared for college, refer to your ACT score, not your high school transcript. That’s what colleges do.

18. If you want to know what college work is like, ask a parent or a college student. Don’t count on your teachers or classes to help prepare you for it.

19. Friends are great. Sometimes they’re the only reason to show up.

20. The lunches still suck, but there are fewer pizzaburgers and less mystery meat.

11 comments:

Amber in Albuquerque said...

Mine are still little, but a big 'amen' to #15.

DRice said...

Title: 20 Things My Kids Have Learned at MCHS (and 20 Things the Teachers Have Learned About Me and My Kids)

1. If enough of your classmates whine about a test, project, paper, or assignment deadline, the teacher will change it. (And your kids learned how to whine at home, as is demonstrated by your whining in this post.)

2. If enough kids whine about how hard a project is, the teacher will make it easier. (See #1)

3. If a lot of the kids act like they really enjoy group work, the teacher will let you all do more, including coloring and skits. There’s always some nerd in the group who wants to learn and does a good job, so everyone gets a good grade! (And was your kid the one who chose to rely on others’ work? If so, what does that say about what he/she learned at home? If not, then he/she learned that people who work can excel, regardless of what their co-workers do. Still a valuable lesson in life. Moreover, maybe one your kids group mates learned something from your kid? Wouldn’t that be a tragedy if kids actually learned from each other, as well as the teacher?)

4. A five-page paper, double-spaced, is the most anyone will ever expect of you in life. Plus, you get to whine about it! (In which case it is clear your child did not meet the expectations/requirements of either junior or senior English. Hmmm, not meeting expectations. The fault of the teacher or of the student who CHOSE not to meet them?)

5. No matter if the course title is AP or honors, if the teacher is bad, everyone gets a good grade, whether they learn or do anything or not. (Gee, everyone who qualifies for an honors class gets a good grade? Your kid obviously did not take Honors English I or II! Mr. Rice and Mr. Kein are notorious for the number of students moved out---followed by a great deal of parental whining about how unfair we are because we actually expect kids to meet our expectations or transfer to a different level.)

6. If you’re in sports, you get excused from a lot of assignments. (If your child learned to generalize, they learned it at home. A generalization such as this would be an “F” on an assignment in my English class. Give me a specific EXAMPLE---or go to work for a political campaign for either party.)

7. If your teacher is a coach, there’s a lot of free time in class and very few assignments. (And if a student athlete is ineligible, the FIRST call a teacher gets is from Mom or Dad----whining about how we’re penalizing their son/daughter and removing the ONLY reason they come to school anyway.)

8. Homework? What’s homework? We do that in class instead of getting a full 90 minutes (block schedule) of instruction or learning activities. (See #6)

9. Ninety minutes of silent reading while the teacher is on the computer is considered a good use of our time at school. (See #6)

10. We guess you can learn a lot from movies. We sure see plenty of them, including the same ones year after year or stuff we’ve seen at home already. (See #6. Gee, this is getting boring! Do you already work for a Presidential campaign, or are you just a talented amateur at this?)

11. If you’re involved in enough activities and can’t keep up in class, get your parents to complain and the teachers will lower their expectations! (Are you talking about YOUR kids? If not, how can you be sure that the information you have is accurate? I’m sure that every time your kids tell you, “But ALL the kids are doing it!” you accept that and give in, right? Then why do you assume that their version of what happens in my class is accurate?)

12. If you get a tough teacher who makes you learn and work, you will remember them fondly forever, and, regardless of the class, it will be what you wish for in every other class you ever take. (Just like every worker remembers his/her good bosses fondly. Again, a lesson in life. Another one, though, is that not every student is inspired/motivated by the same teachers. For every student who thinks Teacher “A” is the worst teacher ever, there’s a student who thinks that Teacher “A” made school bearable/interesting/exciting. Again, is YOUR child’s opinion of a teacher the only one that matters?)

13. Never complain about not having enough work, hard enough work, or expectations being low because then the teachers will give you a lower grade to “prove” you wrong. (See #6. And then ask yourself if you actually brought your concerns to the TEACHER and or the PRINCIPAL with specific examples that someone could actually address? Probably not. It’s a lot easier to blog!)

14. If you have to read a book for a class, it will be depressing. If you already don’t read for pleasure, this will help make sure you never do. (Gee, nobody ever learns anything from books like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD or ROMEO AND JULIET. They’re so depressing. Hey, let’s read CHICKEN SOUP books, instead! They’re inspirational, require no thought, and teach everyone that mediocre writing can become a best seller. And then we’ll all pretend that the folks on AMERICAN IDOL are just as good as Yo-Yo Ma or Frank Sinatra or Maria Callas or the other great artists of the 20th C.)

15. If you are smart and non-conformist, someone will call your parents to discuss your “problems.” (Hmmm. Non-conformist. Is that the student who refuses to follow the classroom assignment to keep a binder with his/her papers in neat order, to aid in studying/reviewing because that’s not her style? Or is that the student who wears the t-shirt with the inappropriate message? Or the one whose smell is so bad that every student in the class BEGS you to talk to the nurse? Again, a bit of specificity on how your darling is a “non-conformist” might help!)

16. If you hate school – go anyway! Make sure to take classes with coach-teachers to keep your GPA high. They’ll give you a diploma just to get rid of you! (Again, a non-specific charge with no support. Hope you don’t have a job which actually requires you to back up your opinions. Or do you work for Dick Cheney, in which case neither logic nor support is required.)

17. If you want to know if you’re prepared for college, refer to your ACT score, not your high school transcript. That’s what colleges do. (And is that OUR fault?! Or is this sarcasm? As with all the other inane generalities, your failure to actually give a concrete example makes it impossible to respond. Of course, that’s the point of this diatribe, isn’t it? After all, it’s SO much easier to sling mud in large quantities rather than accept the fact that your son/daughter may have thrown away innumerable opportunities to excel, to participate in the myriad extra-curriculars this school offers, or to take the BEST of our EVERY class, regardless of whether he/she like the teacher.)

18. If you want to know what college work is like, ask a parent or a college student. Don’t count on your teachers or classes to help prepare you for it. (It’s amazing what an incredible percentage of students we have failing out of college, isn’t it? Oh, wait. We don’t. Well, in that case it’s amazing what an amazing percentage of students we have who have learned EVERYTHING they know in the first 2 weeks of college! Gee, your darling is a genius, just like you told everyone when they were 2 and knew all their colors, even “Fuschia”!)

19. Friends are great. Sometimes they’re the only reason to show up. (Friends and family are the only reasons ANY of us survive in this world. How is that a problem? Rather, that is what keeps all of us going through good times and bad. It’s called life.)

20. The lunches still suck, but there are fewer pizzaburgers and less mystery meat. (And how many times during your sweetheart’s junior/senior year did he/she choose to partake of the haute cuisine at Mickey D’s, Burger King, Dave’s Dawgs, etc.? You want your kid to eat healthy food, stay on task, and reach his/her maximum potential? Take away the car and the video game, put the computer in the FAMILY ROOM where you can monitor what he/she is doing on it, and give him/her a curfew. Then while he/she is working on homework, fix a FAMILY MEAL and require the WHOLE FAMILY to eat together.)

P.S. One thing MY father taught me is that anyone who is afraid to stand up and take responsibility for his/her opinion and uses the “anonymous” label isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit. That’s why I’m glad to sign my response.

David M. Rice, Proud MCHS English Teacher.

Anonymous said...

Things I have Learned from MCHS Parents

1. Parents that are very unappreciative of all the good work that goes on at MCHS
2. Parents that enable their children to stay home with a runny nose or a headache
3. Parents that allow their children to stay home because they are tired
4. Parents that have no clue what their child is really doing
5. Parents that are very disrespectful. Well as the saying goes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree
6. Parents that think they can do it better both teaching and coaching. Well be my guest I think you will find it more difficult than you think
7. Parents that think a teachers day starts at 7:30 and ends at 3:05
8. Parents that are living through their children because they didn't reach their full potential
9. Parents that don't understand many teachers teach all day, coach after school, and all at the same time continuing to further their education to be better teachers
10. Parents that do not talk to their son's and daughters about their interests and what they want to do.
11. Teachers at MCHS will start believing how horrible your children describe their parents and how unfair they are when they come into class everyday.
12. Now is this a fair assessment of all parents at MCHS? A logical person would say no. It is a cheap shot with little to no validity just like your blog post about teachers at MCHS.

Posted By: All Guns Blazing

BoS said...

for "All Guns Blazing"

Punctuation taking up, Yoda?

Notice commas missing and use of dependent phrases, too. Figuring ironic traits need little commentary from self, young jedi.

Anonymous said...

Observations from Graduation

How can someone call their child gifted when they are not honor students and in NHS at a school that supposedly has low expectations.

hmmmmmmm very interesting

Posted by: DOG

DRice said...

There are numerous forms of communication in this world, all of which have their own set of accepted rules. While I would not correct an acquaintance who used the word "snuck" in a conversation, I would expect my students to write "sneaked" in a formal essay. Similarly, the use of the word "ain't" for emphasis or humor (as in to respond to someone's absurd suggestion, "Ain't no way!") is not only acceptable, but can be extremely effective communication. The rules of the internet tend to be much closer to the rules of casual conversation. Thus, we accept that just as some people use casual grammar and sentence structure in their verbal conversation, we accept it in their blog responses, etc., which are often composed in an extempore manner, rather than being formalized writing. In other words, I suggest that BOS stop being pedantic and focus on the real issue here. And that issue is whether the originator of this blog article has ANY hard data to back up her contentions, or whether she (like so many bloggers) is simply interested in generalizing and using her own frustration as a reason to take cheap shots at the school and at the entire faculty, rather than addressing substantive issues. If BOS would like to weigh in on that, that would be great. If not, discussing other issues is not only non-productive but indicative of the fact that BOS has nothing to offer in the way of thoughtful commentary. Following that same guideline, I will refrain from offering an opinion of someone who writes like Yoda.

BoS said...

Yo, DOG!

Homework, aka "research" remains an important life skill. I recommend:

Gifted:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gifted_children

Honor Student:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honors_student

and


NHS:
http://www.nhs.us/s_nhs/sec.asp?CID=125&DID=49578

which has some interesting information. Also of interest is the entirely tangential fact that when I searched for the presumed HS in NHS membership there were no results. Perhaps someone needs to make a phone call to them to see what the poop is.

BoS said...

1. 424,000 - # of Google results returned for the query "MCHS". Quite a few of them are high schools, many in Illinois. I did not overtly "out" any particular one, although certainly a logical examination of other facets on my blog would lead an interested party to Mr. Rice's location.

2. I don't know if you've read the "Vomit" post or not. A number of your questions are answered there. It is not my job, nor do I have any particular interest in doing other people's homework, as I have already done my own. I've listed some of my sources, indicated whether they are objective, subjective, largely anecdotal, the product of my own warped sense of humor, or merely creative expression for whatever reason. I've also indicated a number of keywords and phrases that can be used to arrive at the same resource material I've used, and dragging people there like an internet Sherpa guide is just not a task I have either the time for nor the interest in.

3. As much as you may consider it my responsibility to stand and deliver, I consider it your responsibility to do the same. You are an adult and are capable of your own research, prompted or not, and you are welcome to arrive at your own conclusions from that research. I would be happy to continue debating your results with mine. It might result in changes of opinion on my side, and I am open to that.

4. "All Guns'" comment is a perspective statement, which is why I did not reply with useless contradictions or justifications. Teachers, administrators and others are just as entitled to their opinions and to express their perspectives as I am, and they are entitled to start up blogs, websites, whatever they may choose, if they choose to do so. It just struck me as humorous that so many unsupported dependent clauses and abuses of punctuation were evident. I get to do that on my blog and in my comments sections. This is not the first time that's happened, nor is it the first time I've responded similarly.

5. If a number of personnel wish to give me a solid internet hammering, fine. I like debate; that's why I haven't used my powers of "moderation" (in the cyber context) to exclude any comments so far. If I feel a commentor is violating my personal philosophy with respect to my children's privacy, my privacy, or the privacy of others, I will probably moderate that comment. Ad hominem attacks are another matter. I have not made any. You may have a different opinion.

6. From its inception, this has been a personal expression blog, which is also blatantly obvious. If you want a different blog, I encourage you to start one, ignore this one, look elsewhere, or plant fig trees, whatever gives you the result you are seeking.

7. Yes, without question, all the statements, sarcastic, disillusioned, or otherwise in my "20 Things" are generalizations. I did not suggest otherwise. I have responded with as much specificity, point by point, as I feel appropriate with respect to the rights of other individuals.

8. Do I think MCHS is unusually bad or substandard? No. I think it is right in the middle ground on the field of cohort institutions, and if I am guilty of anything over which I would take myself to task, it is in not specifying that more clearly in the original post, but I also think it would have been stylistically jarring to have done so.

9. I am surprised at the level of defensiveness being evidenced in the comments -- well, to some extent. The subtext clearly implies (IMHO) that I am (and my children are) frustrated by behaviors of teachers who lack high standards or demanding classroom practices and who have given in to pressure to lower their standards and expectations. OTOH, I am well aware that being in favor of high standards means that I am in a minority among parents who choose to speak up -- that teachers' experiences are more likely to be with parents who want their children to do less, have less homework, and be given a pass just for showing up. That makes me sad as a parent and citizen and angry about having to deal with the multiple repercussions from that pressure, too -- from the parents themselves and from the effect it has on teachers, schools, students, and administrators.

10. I think there is a difference in perspective and philosophy. While, generalizing, for some teachers and parents, the goal of high school might be to "get those kids graduated," that's not my point of view. I see high school as the place where, academically, they are trained toward college level expectations. There are parents and teachers who share that p.o.v., too, I think.

BoS said...

11:48 am, eliminate the privacy violations, and I'll post your comment.

BoS said...

Looks like 11:49 of 5/21 chickened out. So, here's the comment with the PV x'ed out.

It must be easy for a substandard critic like yourself to make pointless general comments based on a biased opinon, your kids, witout personal experience. You look and judge the B educational system from a position of ignorance, seeing that you do not teach at MCHS and therefore have zero knowledge about how to manage 70 plus students daily all exhibiting different educational needs and skills. B If you had any sort of intelligence, perhaps you can try to earn your teaching certification, rather than protraying an incompetant substitute teacher making unrealistic comments about the school you VOLUNTARYILY enroll your kids in. B If you dont like it withdrawl them, but we both know that is not going to happen. B As the saying goes, attitude reflects leadership. B Perhaps your strong feelings should have been directed elsewhere... B In the midst of all this I do feel pity for you, XXXXXXXXXX for the MCHS faculty has seen your blog and unfortunately know you wrote it. B

Lets us know examine the essence of a critic. B Critics represent the bathroom wall of society. B Not only do they allow life's circumstances to dominate their lives, but their actions are dictated by them. B The funny aspect of a crictic is that although they choose to state their unwelcomed opinions, they never offer any alternative solution to the problem. B They would rather cry and whine about how unfair life is and would rather put their tails between their legs. B Which category do you fall into. Do you cry and whine about the problems at MCHS, which for record, can be found in every single school in the United States of America, or do you try to look for constructive solutions. B It seems to this educator that your goal was to whine about your kids circumstances rather than actually doing something constuctive to help. B So are you really a critic or an advocate for kids? B Well, it would make sense to the reader that without any possible solutions to the ignorant comments you have made, I dont believe the latter description fits you. My suggestion to you would be to keep your unwanted opinions to yourself or do something about the situation. B Good day.

BoS said...

And my response:

1. Argumenta ad hominem ad nauseum.

2. Was that a threat? So what? It's not like I'm hiding out in a cave somewhere; I fully expected you to be able to easily figure out who I am. RTFP about anonymity.

3. I no who U R 2.

4. I'll pass your wisdom on to Ebert and Roeper.

5. Just a note -- my oldest passed the state example test for English teacher certification with a 92% when he was in 7th grade, and the MS Math with 78%. I can't say as there's much support for using teacher cert. tests as proof of intelligence, particularly considering the low cut scores -- somewhere around 45% at that time. Hmmm.