16 June 2010


I'm slowly trying to figure out the best way to organize my new classroom and even the access that I want to make available to the parents of my students. I do mot want to create too much change in the classroom at once, but I know the classroom will be much different (in appearance and in concept) by the Christmas break. I can't wait to see what that means.

-- Post From JoeB's iPhone

10 June 2010

Job Hunt: Finished Already!

What a great day.  I was offered the position at Twin Falls Middle School yesterday after my follow-up interview with the principals.  I was able to see the school, and some of te teachers that were there.  I was able to meet the teacher who I will be trying to replace, and also one of the classroom aides.  If you read yesterday's blog post, I discussed my conundrum of trying to figure out how to handle stepping into a new position versus staying at Tahoma.  By the time I had talked with the principals, toured the school, and saw the classroom, my mind was made up.  However, I wanted to take a day and make sure it would work with my family's needs for this next year.  If I waited for another position, I may not find one as good as this one.  I will post about the position later, but I have accepted the position to be the new Life Skills teacher, and I was able to do this quicker than I thought possible.  I feel good about the decision, and though I will miss the Tahoma students I've worked with, I am excited about starting anew. 

09 June 2010

Job Hunt: My Conundrum

Today I have a follow-up interview with Twin Falls Middle School.  It is supposed to be more casual, and get a chance to walk around the school and see the classroom.  It is quite exciting.  However being one of two candidates considered for this position is exciting, I am conflicted.  IF (and this is a big "if") I get this position, do I take it, and relax the whole summer knowing exactly where I'll be next year?  I will have a chance to start anew in a new school in a new district where no one knows me or my family (much like when I started in the LWSD years ago).  I will have an opportunity to be known strictly as a teacher, and not as an instructional assistant or a paraprofessional.  I will be able to become the teacher I want to be. 

On the other hand, I have put A LOT of work into the kids in the Tahoma School District, and if given the opportunity, I would like to see them through to their finishline.  So this is my conundrum, but only because I'm not in a position to choose yet.  Once placed in that position, I am sure I will make the right decision for me and my family, whatever that may be.  The kids at Tahoma, I will miss, if I do not end up there, but I will keep in contact with them and check up on them.  My real hope is to be able to choose, and not be forced into a decision.  That is my hope.

07 June 2010

Because I said so: Instilling Intrinsic Value

Working in secondary schools I have experienced the entitlement mentality of the society we live in played out in the attitudes of today's youth.  With two kids of my own, my wife and I often discuss how to teach them properly and build a proper work-ethic within them.  We live in a society that does not value anything that is good for us physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.  However, I am not blaming it.  The society is a reflection of its people.  I am not going to sit here and blog about the troubles that we have, because we already know what's wrong.  I want to give you a solution to consider. 

As a parent, I am going to do something that could revolutionize child-rearing for Americans.  I am, with the help of my wife, going to take responsibility for the growth and development of my children mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  We are not going to count on the schools for mental and emnotional development, we will not depend on organized sports to develop our kids physically, nor will we leave it in the hands of the Church to grow our children spiritually.  I believe in the usefulness of these three institutions, but we have lost sight of the most important institution: THE FAMILY. 

The family is at the heart of our society.  Consider the state of our society and the state of families.  How broken and shattered are we as we watch the divorce rate slowly rise above 50% and beyond?  What is a child's first glimpse of what it means to be connected to another but in a family?  What is a gang, but a sense of family that someone gets from outside of their biological connections.  There is a definate formula for families that aides in the proper growth of children.  The constants of this formula are love, stability, security, and trust.  Everything else is a variable.  When one of these constants is missing, then the family unit becomes off center.  The more that are missing, the more off center and dysfunctional this family becomes.  Most commonly, families have been missing trust and stability, which means that there is a 50% chance of survival. 

I am not going to make an argument for or against gay marriage.  But I will say that I have worked with some kids who will take two moms or two dads who want a family over their current situation.  I worked with students who spend more time at their friend's house in order to feel the family connection they are missing in their home. 

How do I practice what I preach?

We have a natural inclination to assign value to things, and to people.  This guys is better than the next.  This lady is prettier than the others.  My dad can beat up your dad.  The problem comes when we do this with our children.  There are two important "why" questions that children ask that we are answering in the wrong way.  When they ask why they have to do something we've asked them to do, we say, "because I'm your father, and I said so."  When they ask why we love them, we give an infinite number of responses.  This is backwards and damaging.  Whatever the reason is that we give them for why we love them or show them affection is the reason that they will begin to think gives them worth.  Therefore, when we tell them to do something, we need to have an infinite number of ways to explain why they need to do what we are telling them to do.  When they ask why we love them, our response simply needs to be, "because I am your father, and I said so." 

If there is nothing our kids have to do to earn love and affection, then there is nothing they can do to lose love and affection.

03 June 2010

First Interview in the Bag

I feel very fortunate to have had an interview before finishing my student teaching and before getting into the unknown limbo that is the summer months.  On Tuesday I had my first one, at Twin Falls Middle School, which is in the Snoqualmie Valley School District.  It was for a position in their Life Skills Class, which I think is like a self-contained Special Education classroom. I don't know if I rocked the interview, but I feel pretty good about it, and the program sounds like a good situation for a new teacher starting out.  I was able to learn that the class consists of four students with Autism Spectrum Disorder; two of them spend most of their time in the general population, and the other two spend most of their time in the Life Skills Classroom with their one-on-one aides.  In all honesty, I hope that this position works out; it is a brand new school (build in 2008) in a district that has just passed a technology levy. 

On the other hand, there is a position that I also applied for in the Tahoma School District, where I have been working the last couple years, and am currently finishing my student teaching.  The position will split its time between the Personal Academic Instruction program on the Satellite Campus and the new Special Education Math classes at the high school.  Tahoma is a great school district, and on of the better districts in the area.  For this reason, I know that if I am able to somehow get into this district, it will be a hige blessing. 

I hope to be able to land some more interviews, especially if Twin Falls or Tahoma do not work out.  It would be nice to know what I'll be doing in September before the end of June.  I'm just ready to get moving on this teaching career that I've been working towards for over four years.