- Me: Wait, did we have lion in there twice?
- Youth: Yeah. We have two lions and a lioness. Must be awkward for the lioness.
Things I have made/am/will be making this week:
- Apple hash and Italian Sausage
- Apple bread
- Cinnamon applesauce
- Apple and sausage stuffing
- Apple crisp
- Baked apple slices
You know, the first thing I thought when we had the full bag was, “This would be so great if I had a classroom. They’d have so many snacks. I could do this all through the fall and there’d be one more chance to make sure they’re not hungry and getting healthy food.”
Then I recalled that I don’t have a class, or even kids. I also don’t know anyone with a classroom of their own, and we’ve already got a supply for the homeless teens at the center I’m writing grants for (someone who works there has an avidly apple-picking husband).
So I’m fobbing them off on EVERYONE ELSE in the form of everything I can fit them into.
- oreos and milk
- scanning through cookbooks
- DVDs of TruBlood
“Tell us a story,” my first hour class demands one day.
I smile. “We have to get our work done,” I remind them. “Let’s get through the PowerPoint and do the worksheets. Then we can see if we have time for a story.”
“Tell us more about the odd jobs you worked before subbing,” they say. “Tell us a travel story.”
“Do your work,” I counter. “We’ll see if we have time.”
Today we don’t have time for a story. But one of my students stops by my desk after the bell rings. ”When is our real teacher coming back?” she wants to know.
“I don’t know,” I tell her patiently. After hearing this question several times an hour every day for a month, it is amazing to me how many times kids can ask the same question and expect a different answer.
“Because I’m not learning anything in here,” she says point-blank. “So my mom wants to move me to a free hour if our teacher’s not coming back.”
At first that stings. A lot. “Okay,” I say. “I’m sorry you feel that way. But I don’t have any more information about when your teacher is coming back.”
But then I realize it’s not a fair criticism. According to the quiz scores, my most objective measure, I am teaching, and the kids are learning, at approximately the same pace they would with the regular teacher. Just a whiny kid, I tell myself, with a parent who isn’t bothering to question her.
Because I am more like a real teacher every day:
You can’t force a student to learn.
You could have the best lesson plans in the world. You could be the most amiable, charismatic teacher on the face of the planet. You could know everything about your students, from the way they learn best to all their friends’ names to the words of the song they listen to on the ride to school.
But learning is a two-way street. And if a student doesn’t want to learn, you’re not going to make them.
You can supply them with materials to learn, and give them guidance and support. You can even make them want to learn, if you’re enthusiastic and engaging and know how to catch their attention and make what might seem like mundane things amazing — or bring the awe back to the things that textbooks and lectures have made mundane.
But nothing you do can make a student learn. And if that student does not want to learn, they won’t. Learning is a relationship that at the bare minimum requires not necessarily the teacher, but the student first and foremost. (I hear some people bawking, but think: if a student was submerged in nature with nothing but their senses, they would eventually learn that night is dark and dark can be cold. Students CAN learn on their own; it doesn’t mean that teachers aren’t necessary.)
Everything else points to the fact that you are teaching, and these students are learning. What’s more, they want to learn from you because for many of them, you’ve restored the classroom to the safe place it’s supposed to be. A certified veteran teacher who has been there the whole year might have a student who says they aren’t learning anything and wants to transfer classes just as well as you might.
I like to assume they must have been bots that were finally weeded out.
Your students are still important and special no matter who they are or who they love. Same goes for parents and colleagues. I’m learning to be unapologetic.
one of them is indeed LGBTQ populations, especially students, parents, and teachers.
So, if anyone has any questions or needs to talk, never hesitate to ask me.
Instead I will check in on YOU. Classic misdirection, whoo!
How are you?
How did you find me? What brought you here?
What have you liked best that I’ve posted so far — what would you like to see again, or more of?
you don’t truly realize how much you are always thinking about everything you do, how much you might have to hide yourself (in the context of, say, GLBT teachers) from your own community, how careful you are to be a good role model when everyone is looking…
when you’re not teaching.
I mean. Really. My supervisor must think I’m insane, because I cannot fathom the idea of having a personal life that I don’t have to be afraid of.
…although part of that is my location, actually. It’s small enough that whatever you do is going to be common knowledge at one point or another. The teachers here can have same-sex partners and go out with those same-sex partners and it’s okay. And that unnerves me. Freedom is nerve-wrecking.
Exhilarating. And mind-blowing. And nerve-wrecking.
Many of you may have found me through my recent grants posts, which will continue.
Just to let you know, I’m originally a future teacher/counselor and a youth worker in after school programs. Because of budget cuts and a poor job market, I’m currently doing behind-the-scenes work writing grants for area nonprofits in Western Massachusetts. I also did/do some LGBTQ education and advocacy work, and psychology research, which show up on this blog occasionally, and art/writing/comicking, which does not, though if you’re interested I can redirect you to where that WILL show up.
So feel free to ask me any number of questions about any number of things, and once the craziness dies down of a new place and a new job and finding perfect grants two days before the entire things are due, I will be posting some education articles.
I have a handful of Special Education and Technology related grants that are on a rolling deadline. I just want you all to know I’m listening. But because they’re on a rolling deadline, and because we have two here at work due by Friday, they won’t get out there right away. They’re not a matter of links — they showed up in a database and I have to track down the information. I’m thinking next week.
So you know, though, the latest goldmine we hit was something called “GrantWatch.” It organizes grants according to your state of residence/use, all you have to do is change the url to “yourstate.grantwatch.com” (so, for us, massachusetts.grantwatch.com), though it does include national grants in state sections. You can also view it by purpose and ignore location entirely.
A week’s worth of access is $15.
For $15, we at my office are going on the biggest saving-and-printing binge this town has ever seen. And it is thus far potentially paying off in spades.
NOTE: Always check the guidelines. Some of these might be restricted to certain geographical areas. Some might have to go through a non-profit, so you might have to buddy up as a school or a teacher, though most of what I post here will be accessible to schools.
Deadline September 16th (IT’S JUST A NOMINATION GO GO GO!): The Great American Teach-Off
Nominate an outstanding K-6 teacher (yourself included) for a chance at a $10,000 classroom grant — 7-12 teachers get a chance come Winter.
From the site:
GOOD and University of Phoenix are proud to announce the launch of The Great American Teach-Off, a nationwide competition to celebrate teachers who are making a positive impact in America’s classrooms.
Here’s how it works: Click here to nominate an outstanding teacher for kindergarten through sixth grade*—it can be one you’ve had, your child’s, or even yourself—by September 16. We’ll select the finalists based on how he or she makes a positive difference for students; how creativity and innovation is fostered in the classroom; and what impact he or she has made on the greater school community.
Deadline September 19th: Make Your Mark Grant
Youth-led hands-on service mini-grant, $200
From the site:
“GenerationOn Make Your Mark Week (formerly Kids Care Week) is celebrated during the third week of October, this year October 16-22, 2011. The week inspires and mobilizes youth to use their energy, ingenuity and compassion to “make their mark on the world” through hands-on service to help others in their local and global communities. During the week, young people focus on issues that matter most to them by doing small acts or service projects that add up to making a big difference. Make Your Mark Week ends on Make a Difference Day, the largest national day of service.
Thanks to our founding partner, Hasbro, generationOn will award 200 mini-grants in the amount of $250 each to support service projects that enable youth to “make their mark” on one of the following issues: Animals, the Environment, Homelessness, Hunger and Literacy. We’re looking for projects that engage youth and other community members in creative solutions that make a positive impact on the Make Your Mark Week issues in local and global communities.”
Deadline September 30th: P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education Grant
For teachers integrating the arts into instruction, $1000
From the site:
The P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education has grants available up to $1,000 to be awarded in 2011 to educators who need assistance to further their program goals.
Applications may be made for a grant up to $1,000 to support a new or evolving program that integrates the arts into educational programming. The purpose is to aid and support teachers who wish to establish an effective learning tool using the arts in teaching children who learn differently.
Deadline September 30th: Let’s Play! Playground Construction Grants
$15,000 construction grants to schools, communities, and organizations with a community ready to build a playground but lacking funds to do it.
From the site:
Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! are excited to offer $15,000 Let’s Play Playground Construction Grants to qualifying organizations using the KaBOOM!community-build model. Grantees will plan their project, and share best practices and challenges through the KaBOOM! website.
Deadline September 30th: Classics for Kids Foundation Stringed Instrument Grants
Bridges a funding gap: Amount variable depending on needs, must match some percentage of funds; quarterly deadlines (so don’t panic if you miss this one).
From the site:
Classics for Kids Foundation aims to bridge the funding gap and enhance school music programs by providing matching grants for beautiful new stringed instruments.
If your school or non-profit organization believes in the role of fine instruments in your program, and can show evidence of need and commitment to raising matching funds, you are a strong candidate for the Classics for Kids matching grant program.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Please let me know if you apply so I know what to keep posting. And if you GET one of these? Drop me a line and I’ll send you a congratulations card!