Monthly Archives: May 2009

Film Club 09

Last year, I proposed a Film Appreciation Club to my principal.  Between a regime change and an adjustment to our school schedule, I didn’t get it rolling until October as an Friday-after-school activity.

 

The vibe was extremely casual.  Attendance ranged everywhere from 4 to 20 students.  We typically watched half a movie one week and finished it the next. I didn’t have much of goal outside of showing interesting movies to kids and trying to point out just why they’re interesting.

 

We had our last meeting today.  With my doing yearbook next year, I’m not sure I’ll be able to make the committment to the club next year, but I’ve sure had a good time so far.  Here’s a list of the movies (that I can remember, at least) we’ve watched together:

 

  • The Thing (1982)
  • Barton Fink
  • The Set-Up
  • Project Grizzly
  • Sullivan’s Travels
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Bottle Rocket
  • Sweet and Lowdown
  • The Apartment
  • La Strada
  • The Hudsucker Proxy
  • A Fish Called Wanda

A Letter to My Students

Dear [failing student],

 

I like you.  From the bottom of my heart, with all the sincerity I can muster, I like you.  Being around you is mentally stimulating, and I’d like to think you too are enjoying your time here.  You make me laugh and see the world from a new perspective; I’m attempting to do the same for you.  I really do treasure our time together.

 

But I will fail you.  I will fail you so hard.

 

I won’t be happy about it.  My boss won’t like it much, either (passing students=good teacher).  Your parents certainly won’t be happy about it.  But when the year ends in three weeks, and your grade’s still south of a 70, I will keep it there.

 

You see, while we were joking around and having a good time, I was doing a little thing called “teaching.”  You might not have noticed.  I believe you were busy [on your cell phone / fixing your makeup / sleeping / chatting with friends (who are also failing) / playing sudoku / doing math homework / staring at the wall].

 

Regardless, I assigned work.  I know schoolwork usually sucks, and you’re super busy with [sports, band, ROTC, family, court dates, uploading sexy photos of yourself to MySpace], so I tried to make it as painless as possible.  I allowed you to read a book of your own choice (freedom!).  I asked you to research information about the jobs you’d like to have in the future (relevance!).  I urged you to write about your own life (the world revolves around you!).

 

When the due dates for all of these assignments came up, I was disappointed to see you hadn’t done them.  I empathized with your valid excuses, but your zeroes will remain until you turn something in.

 

Was I too nice?  Did you enjoy class so much that you forgot we had some work to do?Did my laid back persona have you assume you could pass my class with no effort?  I can recommend a good hard-ass of a teacher if my methods confuse you.  Otherwise, I’ll see you in a few years when you have to retake my class

 

Your friend teacher,

Sonny Harding

Such a Gay Post

Is this a growing concern for anybody else?

Stupid Stupid Laptops

I’m technologically adept–mostly.  For the past few days, however, my PC patience has been tried.

 

My school has a few “mobile computer labs”: wheeled carts filled with laptops.  They’re supposed to be an easy way to get computers in the hands of our students, and they do a great job of that.  What the students are able to actually do with them, however, is another case, making for a pretty stressful day.

 

Each class has the same problems in the same order:

1.) Some kids don’t know their passwords, requiring a trip to the IT guy, who’s always hard to track down

2.) Half of the laptops can’t get on the server.  Students flip out.

3.) Student flash drives met with hardware installation prompts that never seem to go away.  Can’t save work and take it home.

4.) Every popular email site is blocked by the county.

5.) Handful of computers freeze up when trying to save work.

 

Look, I know my school is extremely lucky to even have computers.  I know teachers whose technology consists of an overhead projector that’s shared among the entire department.  I feel bad whining about it, but it’s just such a frustrating ordeal, more trouble than it’s worth.  90% of my time is spent fiddling with ethernet cables, switching out computers, and assuring students that patience is a virtue best shared with a Windows machine.  I don’t have a lot of time to , you know, teach.