Monthly Archives: August 2015

One Week Of Blessings Down, Thirty Five To Go

First full week of school and it was filled with challenges.  Yea, I got sucked into the whining and complaining with the other teachers.  My class roster changed so many times this week, I actually lost who was in my class and who was not.  I have under printed several times and then compensated and over printed materials.  Argh.

After school, I helped clean out the football ticket booth. It had become a dumping grounds for just about everything.  We store our tennis gear in there between practices and matches.  Football stores their tables and chairs in their for ticket nights.  Cross country stores cones to mark lanes.  I even found a few things I had no clues how to identify.

At the corner of the ticket booth is where the new freshman passed away a week before school started.  She was on the cross country team and had just finished 3 miles of practice running when her team mates found her dead.  The memorial placed by her friends, team mates and family was still there.  Over the past week, I took it upon myself to remove the dead flowers, change the water and make it look fresh.

I cleaned the inside of the booth, went outside, started cleaning the area round the booth and found a note someone had left for the memorial.  “We are going to miss you.  Love XOXO”   The note had blown through the fence and was laying against a tree covered by a bit of pine straw.   Was this from a close friend?  Team mate?  Family member? Or, just a fellow class mate?

I have thought about that note several times tonight.  “We are going to miss you.”  Six simple words, but those six simple words carried with them such power tonight.

empty chair

If I were to not come to school, would my students miss me?  Would my students really care if I were gone?  After all, it is only the first week of school.  They don’t know me.  I get a lot of kids that come by every day from previous classes and get hugs, fist bumps, high fives, and such.  But…..  what about the new kids.

I had a lot of kids absent this first week.  Did they not make it back from vacation?  Was something going on at home?  Have I missed them?  I have to say, I don’t know because I don’t know all of them yet.

This first week is gone.  There are 35 more until summer vacation.  I only have 35 more weeks to make sure these kids know they are missed.  I need to get to know what is going on, make the connection and let them know they matter.  It really doesn’t matter if they miss me or not, but they need to know they will be missed.

Why In The World Am I Doing This?

Why in the world am I doing this?

Don't Drop Out

This is starting to be another very rough year.  Over-crowed class rooms.  Not nearly enough supplies to make sure every student have what they need.  Majority of students that are making the choice they would rather disrupt than learn.  Students talking back.  Parents that tell you they can’t do anything with their kids and I need to do something.  More responsibilities, more paperwork, more documentation, with less time.  More people blaming the teachers because students are not performing.

Yea, I’m painting a very bleak, poor outlook to my career.  I am a teacher.  Worse: I am a SCIENCE TEACHER!  {The masses of parents, students and general public go into hiding at the mention of this topic}

I could make 25-100% more by going into the private sector.  My hours would be shorter.  My expenses would be covered.  I would actually get a paid vacation.  I could travel.

But…. I chose to work with kids.  I choose to find ways to open minds, excite and make kids question and wonder.  I choose challenge a group of kids to be more than their ‘hood’ had told them they could be.  I choose to help kids understand they are using science daily, and they never realize it.  I choose to inspire, cause intrigue and present mysteries.  I choose,…. this.

For my choice, state legislators cutting money for my classroom.  Retirement, raises, benefits are all in jeopardy.  Legislators changing laws to make it more difficult and expensive to take athletes to contests.  I’ve spent over $1000 out of my pocket last year for my students.

For my choices, I get…. Well…. Hard to explain.

Yesterday was the first day of the new semester.  As I returned from the copy machine, I had someone waiting at my door before school.  “Mr. Case, you remember me?  I was in your class a few years ago.  I decided to come back.  I dropped out a couple years ago.  Will you help me?”

Later that day, between classes, “Mr. Case!  I gotta show you sometin!”  They pulled out transcripts showing them in 12th grade. “I did it!  I am a senior!   You gonna help me on my senior project?  PLEEAAAAASE!!!!

Today, right after school, she came running down the hall.  “Coach Case! Coach Case!  I went to guidance and told them I wanted you and they said you didn’t have any classes I can take.  I really wanted to have you for a teacher.  Can you talk to guidance for me?”  ecological footprint poster 2

During tennis practice today, one of the parents from another sport came by the courts.  “Coach Case, may I speak with you a minute?  I heard you work wonders with kids.  Can my son come to your learning labs?  He really needs your help.”

I was getting a bit frustrated with not having the necessary skills to help the girls get better at their tennis game.  I was trying to get a bit more like a ‘coach’ and be a bit more mean.  “Coach… what are you doing?” “I’m trying to be a little meaner to get you to work harder.”  “Coach, you couldn’t be mean if you tried.”

Today, I was blessed to be named the DEN (Discovery Education Network) community member of the week.  http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2015/08/25/den-community-member-of-the-week-mark-case/

Why do I teach?  It’s because the dropouts the come back. It’s because of the senior project advisors.  It’s because the kids that want my class, and they don’t need it.  It’s because the parents that believe I have super powers (or something).  It’s because the athletes that love me when I can’t really help their sport.  It’s because someone out there believed in me.

Why am I doing this?  I teach because you can’t put a value on the reasons I teach.