Monthly Archives: February 2009


I walked in at 9 p.m.
This is the second 9 p.m. of the week. Two 8 p.m.’s and a 5:30.
Two more weeks and the yearbook from hell (that looks really awesome) will be done. It’s kicking my butt!
On the bright side, DD called and she’s got two interviews with camps for this summer.
On the not so bright side she’s suddenly decided she wants to live in an apartment.
We told her fine, but she’s got to pay for it.
I lived in an apartment at her age. So did DH. But both of us worked full-time. I guess she’s really growing up.

Sad News

It’s a sad, sad day for journalism:

The Rocky Mountain news has provided some of the best stories out there for years. Tomorrow they’re gone.
Click here for my favorite

New Policy

My district is adopting a new grading policy. You can check it out here
if you’re interested.

I started off opposing the policy because it seemed grade focused instead of learning focused, and I think we spend way too much time worrying about grades and not nearly enough time worrying about what’s actually learned in a classroom. I’m also a firm believer in deadline. I teach a class built completely on deadlines, so how could I possibly not believe in them.

Back in the olden days though, I was a bad student. I struggled like none other with math and math based sciences. By the time I hit high school while everyone else was moving forward to higher level math, I was giving up. I could not catch up. I took four years of a foreign language to avoid one college math class. With the new policy our interim superintendent has put forward, learning is not an option. I also definitely see the truth in the current grading system makes no sense. 90-100 is an A (10 pts), 80-89 a B (9 pts), 75-80 is a C (5 pts) and 70-74 is a D (4 pts), the 0-69 is an F (69 pts). That doesn’t make a lot of sense.
I’m a firm believer in re-teaching and telling students learning is not an option. In contemporary public high schools we’ve made it quite easy to get through school without learning a thing. And we move on telling the students it’s their responsibility to learn the material they missed. A heck of a lot of students give up instead of bothering to try because there’s no way they’re ever going to master the content.
One of my students today was telling me all the reasons he didn’t like the policy. He said it creates lazy students and even rewards them.
He said he failed a test in Alg. 2 and he knew he’d have to study hard for the next test. He passed for the six weeks, but only with a C because of how badly he’d failed the test.
I said GREAT that he’d learned the value of studying hard and earning a grade. However, I had a question. WHAT was the content of the failed test.
He said it was over imaginary numbers (I have no idea what they are. I wonder if they have something to do with Pixie dust. )
So I asked him if he understood imaginary numbers now.
He said no.
So I said wouldn’t it better for you to be forced to come in for tutorials for however long it took to learn about imaginary numbers so every time you saw them from now on you’d see them and say YEP, I got this.
And wouldn’t it be better to be able to prove that by retaking a test and SHOWING he totally got imaginary numbers and everything about them and would never have a problem with them again because they’ll certainly be back over the course of the next two years of math he’ll be taking.
And I think by the end of that discussion he understood why I’m for the new grading policy now.
Yes, I’ll have to restructure how we do business in the newsroom. But it will ultimately be better for me and my students.


No, you cannot write an editorial stating all the reasons police should not hide around school streets and give tickets to the teenagers (and anyone else who may venture on school streets) daring to speed on their way to school or away from school. No, police are not profiling you. They are ensuring you and everyone else on the road around schools slows down, pays attention, and stays safe.
I’m sorry I hurt your feelings by laughing at what I thought was a witty satire.
I hope you will forgive me.
You are awesome, but in this, you are wrong. Slow down, pay attention, stay safe.

Your loving adviser,
Mrs. Lee

The above note brought to you by a teacher trying to figure out how to turn this into a teachable moment.


Every year we make our way to the home and garden show in February. Usually we go to get great ideas a bunch of pens and to check out bake interest rates.
The banks weren’t there this year. In fact, this year’s show was pretty much a bust.
After that we stopped by Wal Mart for groceries. On almost every aisle someone mentioned how expensive groceries are.
They’re right.
When I got home, I thought about taking a picture of my house. It’s falling apart. Has been for years. I live here though, making the most out of it because it’s what I can afford. A few years ago we were told we qualified for a major home loan. We chose to stay here in the old house. Now the government’s going to help people stay in houses they can’t afford.

Tales of a slacker

I never planned on being a slacker student.
I still remember sitting in an 8th grade class talking to the high school counselor about the classes I would take so I could one day go to law school. I’m not sure why law school was so important to me, but at that time, it was.
Then I started high school and math was a disaster and English, the class I loved more than anything else, the class that should’ve been my refuge, a place I could shine, was turned into a class where I hid Karate Kid (or whatever movie was big at the time) books and tiger Beat magazines behind the novels I was assigned to read. Usually, my teacher read aloud to us, but first, she had us cross out all the curse words. I don’t remember a single one of those novels, but I do remember I thought Ralph Macchio was hot and I planned on marrying Tom Cruise if I ever made it to Hollywood.
I dropped the tough history class and ended up in a class taught by a coach. He liked to watch basketball. I didn’t care about basketball, but I did love reading Gone With the Wind and The Mists of Avalon in his class. I don’t remember much else.
Band challenged me, newspaper challenged me, but nothing else. After that first year, I chose to do the least amount of work in school I could possibly do and still end up with a diploma.
It took a couple years of tough college courses for me to remember I actually loved school.
These days I stand in front of a classroom teaching journalism, and I love it. I hope I inspire my students to do more, be more. I don’t know if Tiger Beat still exists or not. I guess these days my students would be more apt to be checking out TMZ or Facebook on their iPhones than reading a magazine about Hollywood. But I do know I have kids just like me sitting in my class, kids with big dreams, and it’s my job to make sure they continue striving for those dreams.

Kudos to the kids who competed at the UIL practice meet today. Every one of them placed. We took 1st and 2nd in news, 1st in feature, 1st in Editorial and 1st and 4th in headlines. Woo hoo!


I started a great book. Three chapters in I was sure I’d found a new auto-buy.
Unfortunately, from that point on NOTHING about it was believable.

Mid-life Crisis

To the person who said 40 is too young for a mid-life crisis: BS.
Today I saw a candy apple red convertible with the sticker tape still visible. It flew past me and I watched it until the driver turned the corner. For a brief moment I wanted the car and the freedom it represents and, okay, I’ll admit it, the liquor the college kids inside were on their way to get.
Today’s a gorgeous day.
Back when I was a kid my friends and I would roll the windows down and drive from Burk to Wichita and back. We’d play Bon Jovi as loud as the my little Datsun B210s speakers would go and we’d sing along laughing if we happened to see barely green grass in the sea of blah or tiny buds on trees or birds flying north.
Back then we wore ridiculously huge sunglasses like the ones in style now with lycra tights and keds and long sweaters or t-shirts with socks to match. Our hair was teased so high it hit the top of the car when we got in. We’d see cars like that convertible and talk about how “one day…”
Now the one day’s here. Me and my Focus are feeling a little blue. The friends from those years are long gone, replaced with new friends and new one days.
I’m not real sure where this funk came from. Maybe I’ll break out the Bon Jovi and sing along while toasting this beautiful day with a glass of wine or ten.

Mary Beth

It’s a meme. Feel free to do it if you haven’t already. It’s funny!

1) Type in “[your name] needs” in the Google search.
2) Type in “[your name] looks like” in Google search.
3) Type in “[your name] says” in Google search.
4) Type in “[your name] wants” in Google search.
5) Type in “[your name] does” in Google search.
6) Type in “[your name] hates” in Google search.
7) Type in “[your name] asks” in Google search.
8) Type in “[your name] likes ” in Google search.
9) Type in “[your name] eats ” in Google search.
10) Type in “[your name] wears ” in Google search.
11) Type in “[your name] was arrested for” in Google Search.
12) Type in “[your name] loves” in Google Search.

You can use any from the first page.*

1. Mary Beth needs a considerable raise in salary…amen!
2. Mary Beth looks like she has down syndrone cuz she started to laugh.
3. Mary Beth says count to ten.
4. Mary Beth wants to Change America.
5. Mary Beth does not share conversations with Matt Hasselbeck or Mike Holmgren with her father.
6. Mary Beth hates: Like We Need Another Reason to Hate Ann Coulter
7. Mary Beth asks “Y’wanna party?”.
8. Mary Beth likes hiking with Kerby.
9. Mary Beth eats for $25 and changes.
10. Mary Beth wears red Prada.
11. Mary Beth was arrested a library book?
12. Mary Beth loves to help!!.