Monday, February 21, 2011

What Teachers Make

(Please note--this has 2 profanities in it.  If you are offended by such, please refrain by watching this.  This video passionately shares what teachers actually do, and that is make a difference)

Saturday, February 19, 2011


It seems that I can't take a breath without hearing bad news about teachers.

Michelle Rhee claims that if you fire the bottom 8% of teachers across the board (based on test scores), then automatically your school district will improve.  This from the same woman who openly admits she taped her students' mouths shut and pulled the tape off and made them bleed.  Albeit while her moves in DC sparked Waiting For Superman, we now find out that the data behind that movie was false.

Our newly elected governor in Florida wants to cut per-student funding (a direct contradiction to his campaign promises--didn't take long, did it), make all state employees fund their retirement while the big whigs in the state get to increase their pay and benefits.

Wisconsin teachers are facing huge cuts and the loss of their right to have a Union.

Anytime a student struggles or has problems, I hear that it's because of the teachers.  If only the teachers would teach rather than sit at their desks...  If only the teachers would stop playing videos and letting the students draw, then they would learn.  If only the teachers would....
Let me ask you, when is the last time your kid came home from school and told you that all they did was sit and watch movies and draw all day?

I know that there are some teachers who do not do their jobs.  That don't follow best-practice, that do allow students to draw, that do show movies rather than teach.  Those teachers, just like any employee in any job, need to be given fair warning and then let go if there is no improvement.

But to state that it's all because of the teachers?

Every teacher I know, myself included, works hard.  I do not currently personally KNOW any teacher that just flat out does not do their job.  I personally work so hard that I'm going grey at 32 years old.  My students are taught from the second our morning show ends until they call for dismissal.  I don't take breaks, there is no down time and there's no "free time" to do anything else.  In fact, we rarely go outside at this point.  Please don't think I'm the only one in this boat, because I am not.  I call parents, email parents, and send communication home in attempt to get the students in my class to put forth 100% effort every day.  I work HARD.  I come home to my own family at night and I'm exhausted, but my family also deserves my 100%.  I don't make a lot of money.  It's taken me 11 years and a Masters Degree to break over $40,000 a year.  I spend money on my own classroom, spend my own gas to go out to the public library to get books I need to teach with, spend time I should be spending with my family to work on lessons for my class.

I am so tired of hearing how much teachers stink.  I am tired of being blamed for all of the ills of society.  It's time our citizenry stand up for teacher's rights and start treating them like honored people who do the dirty work that no one else wants to do.  Stop blaming it all on us and start standing up for us.

(Please do not post negative comments regarding Teacher's Unions, the President or any political party.  These are my feelings.  Negative comments will be deleted.  Please rant somewhere else or on your own blog.  Thank you.)

Friday, February 18, 2011


This seems to be one of the most controversial topics when it comes to medication for a child who is diagnosed with ADHD.  It seems that anyone I encounter with a negative opinion has not researched the issue.  They base their opinions on hear-say, old trends and sometimes even religious convictions.

This is not an effort to bash those with a negative opinion.  However, it segues quite easily into my first point; RESEARCH.  Just as you need to be well versed on laws pertaining to your child's diagnosis, you need to be up-to-date on information pertaining to current ADHD treatments.  The days of the zombie child on Ritalin are long gone.  There are many different kinds of medication and side effects for each one.  Do not become Dr. Google and rely on information you have found on Wikipedia, message boards, or even blogs.  Yes, even mind. Instead, go to reliable sources of information on the internet.  Here is a link to over 200 articles on the Mayo Clinic website on ADHD. The Mayo Clinic is a fabulous site on which to do your research on medical issues. It is much more reliable than message boards or anything that can be edited by regular folks and not medical professionals.  You can also go on Google Scholar and search Journal Articles on any topic.  These are articles published in scholarly journals.  That means that they are research based articles and not based on opinion.  You can research from the comfort of your own home.  You can also go to the library and check out books or read articles on your topic of research.  You really don't have to spend any money to become educated, just take the time to read.

Now on to why we chose to put our child on medication.  There are several reasons...

First, I am a teacher.  I've seen children from many different backgrounds with many different issues.  In my eleven years of experience, I have seen more children than I can count who benefit from medication for ADHD.  These same children who are on medication are usually completely different people on a day that a pill is forgotten.  I can well remember one particular child that I could just look at in the morning and his whole demeanor told me if he was on meds or not.  I have seen children who are failing everything go on medication and begin to excel in school.  I have also seen children who have parents who for whatever reason have chosen to not medicate their child.  I respect parents for their choices, but I've also watched their child suffer through trying to keep up with the pace of the class, be on the same page in the book as us, complete assignments, etc.  I have even seen a student who's parents took him or her off medication and then the student became impulsive.  What was once a trustworthy dependable child became a child who was lying and stealing every time I turned around.  Clearly, I have seen quite more benefit than harm in medication for children with ADHD.  In all of my years, I think I've seen maybe one student who was "zombie-fied" by the medication, but a change in meds fixed that problem.  I have seen decreased appetites.  However, medication can be adjusted for that issue as well.  Again, research is key.

Have a conversation with your doctor.  If your pediatrician doesn't answer all of your questions they way you want, then spend the money to see a child Psychiatrist.  We have not gone this route yet, but it remains an open option if we start experiencing changes with medication.

We wanted our son to have the best opportunity possible to reach his full potential.  We want him to be able to do whatever he wants in life and we don't want a low attention-span to hold him back.  We felt that with careful consideration and monitoring of medication our son could be helped tremendously.  I am proud to say that now after taking over a week to finish this post, our son has been on medication for 2 weeks now.  There will be a post to come on that as well, but so far so good.

Our journey is just beginning.  Don't rush to judgement on an option for ADHD medication.  Do your homework and base your conclusion on real research and not hear-say.