Sunday, December 14, 2008

Credit Recovery Classes

I am annoyed to say that I got a memo on Friday telling me that my classroom will be used for Credit Recovery classes starting on Monday afternoon.

Credit recovery is a way for students who have failed classes to get the credits for the classes they failed with minimal effort. Sounds great, right? Who needs accountability?

Anyway, if you have failed a class (or are currently failing a class), you are eligible to sign up for credit recovery. You must come to an after-school class for 6 weeks, twice a week, for 1.5 hrs. (So, in total, 18 hours). If you do so, and you don't manage to get kicked out for any reason, voila! You have a credit. The credit is worth the same thing as passing a full year-long class.

No wonder I find it so hard to teach sometimes -- what, truly, is the motivation for passing a class the first time? It's so much easier to goof off for a year, and then take credit recovery!

(Or if Credit Recovery doesn't work, there is always Saturday School, Do-or-Die Tests, Summer School, After-School Programs, etc, etc, etc... Not to worry. That credit can be obtained even if you are OBSTINATE about not completing a single assignment. Good thing, too... otherwise the students might start thinking that there is some value in exerting effort, and that the teachers actually expect them to do so).

Anyway, if you are interested, please come to Room 205 tomorrow afternoon. :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Germantown in the news this week

3 students assault Germantown High teacher

Ministers say Germantown High is slowly improving

21 months later, beaten teacher still recovering

Do I want to Blog?

It is evening after a lovely Shabbat, and I am surprised to find myself wanting to write. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to fill every minute with something that I warrant 'productive.' I sustain that as long as I can, and then end up crashing and doing something incredibly unsatisfying, like watching old episodes of TV shows on Hulu.

But tonight I want to write. And out of complete admiration for those who blog, I decided to join the ranks... at least for tonight. Let's see if I feel like writing tomorrow.

I chose the name Keva and Kavanah, which refers to two aspects of Jewish prayer: the prescribed prayers and words which are meant to be said (Keva) and the intention with which they are said (Kavanah). To me, this is an incredibly powerful lens to with which to view my own life, and I do feel humbled by the name of my own blog. The Keva in my life is that which I DO. I get up every morning, I go to work, I teach teenagers, I come home, I answer e-mails.... The Kavanah in my life is that which my mind does - it is my attitude, my mood, my eagerness, my expectations, my feelings of guilt, my hopes, and my will. The intersection of these should dictate the choices that I make, although in reality, it doesn't. Why is it that I can have the full intention to do something - really want to, and then it doesn't happen? Pure laziness? Perhaps.

For sure, Kavanah alone isn't enough. It is a crime to believe in something and not act on the beliefs, just as it is a crime to witness wrongs in the world and not do something to correct them. Is it also wrong to do the right things, while thinking the wrong thoughts? Keva without Kavanah? Most likely, but I might need a little more convincing.

Anyway, a bit preachy for a first blog entry, huh? Back to grading papers...