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January 2007

Teacher Interruptions

Did I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

Something happened today that just irritates the heck out of me.  One of our less than computer savvy teachers walked into my classroom while I was obviously teaching a class to get an answer for a probably stupid computer question.

I honestly do not mind people asking dumb computer questions, but I hate it to happen when I'm teaching my students how to write a program.  If I walk into a classroom and I see a teacher is working with students, I leave.  If it is real important -- like a quick question about something I'm doing for them, I might ask it, but usually wait and come back.

Not this woman!  She just keeps standing there while I am teaching.  I had to stop and ask her what she wanted, but I wasn't able to help, because my mind was still on the program I was writing for my students.

In fact, I just sat down and wrote down my gripes and sent it on to our Faculty Advisory Committee.  It probably won't help, but I feel better I wrote it here, and sent it in.


Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson : The Computer Teacher is Overworked

He is not kidding when he says Computer Science teachers are over worked. 

Link to Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson : The Computer Teacher is Overworked

My first year of teaching, I taught three preps.  AP Computer Science which was Pascal, Computer Math, and Algebra II.  That wasn't too bad.

Currently I teach the following:

AP Computer Science II - 1 student in a mixed class with 4 other subjects.

AP Computer Science I - 5 students

PreAP Computer Science -- 3 class periods.  My first period is half PreAP, 4th Period is all PreAP, and 7th has two students.

Regular Computer Science - 4 class periods.  Half of first period, all of second and fifth, and I have one student taking it 7th period.

Webmastering - 1 class period 8 students, three are special ed.

I'm also trying to learn Spanish, but may hang that up, the first week of class was not good.


Bad Weather

We've been having extremely bad weather in Dallas.  It was actually snowing when I went to school yesterday.

Up north, it would have been a no-brainer.  Have school.  Unfortunately, just about every other district in the area shut down for the day, we didn't.

Here's why we don't.  We know that there is a large number of parents who are going to have to go into work.  Let's face it, in bad weather, it's the lowest paid workers who have to go to work.  That means their children, if we don't have school, are not being supervised and are not getting lunch.  Not a huge problem for my population, though I would argue that most of the 9th grades and some of the 10 graders need the supervision.

So we had school.

However, our local ABC affliate, Channel 8, WFAA, decided to announce that we did NOT have school.  Quite a few teachers, parents, and students, including myself, heard that.  Many of us went back to bed.  I started to, but my dogs wouldn't let me.  They wanted to be fed.  So I sat down after feeding them and ate my own breakfast.  Whoops!  DISD spokeswoman came on, blasted Channel 8, and told us we would have school.

I made it there, and before official school time, but not as early as I would have liked.  I also didn't like the added stress from leaving 20 minutes late, but I did get here.

We did have school.  I gave some "free" answers to some assignments as a reward to my students that were here.  I also took a group of another teacher's students, who didn't make it here, and put them on computers and had them do "Texas Web Tutor". 

All in all, it was a good day.  No thanks to Channel 8, which I am no longer a watcher of their local programs, especially their news.  That also means Goodbye to Good Morning America, since it was during their time, that the misannouncement was made.

My biggest problem with Channel 8?  They haven't sufficiently apologized.  In fact, they are obviously holding the position that we should NOT have had school yesterday.

Well, back to the facts -- there are students in the district that would not have had supervision and would not have fed yesterday.  The majority of our cafeteria workers were here.  Everyone that was here, pitched in and made the day good for the students.  It was the right decision.  And sadly, it might not count as an attendance day and we still might have to use our inclement weather day -- meaning that I didn't really get paid for yesterday.  All because Channel 8 decided to make their own announcements up.


No longer blocked! -- and on Censorship

This site is no longer blocked by Websense.  Lessons learned -- they don't do much over the weekend and they seem to have even been off on MLK day.

I've learned a lot from the experience, and I am going to share some of it with my students.

I am not a big believer of censorship.  I would like that our network be set up so that students cannot get to pornographic materials, but that is as far as I would like it to go.  I think it is up to the individual to determine what they should have access to.

If my students get their assignments done early, I don't have a problem with them checking email or doing research for another class.  I would just as soon they didn't play games, but I'm not going to get onto the kid that has a chapter for playing a computer game.

In other words, I think Websense goes too far.


The things kids are interested in...

 

Link to Fire official: Man's cell phone apparently sets him ablaze - CNN.com

My students have been intrigued, excited, etc over the exploding laptops, it will be interesting to see their reaction to this.

Actually, it's mostly my 7th period class.  My AB kid has always been into technology news, and he has gotten the rest of the class into it.  So we always start out a few minutes with the issues in the news. 

The Cisco/iPhone, especially has one kid in a lather.  He actually asked if he could make a phone call last week -- and when I asked, he said his stock broker.  I told him to wait until after school, which as soon as the bell rang, he whipped the phone out and made the class -- I really wanted him to at least leave the room, but since I didn't say that...

And I really hope he didn't base the transactions on my opinion -- he said he'd researched it during class .... I don't mind TOO much as he did get his assignment done.

But it's one of the weirdest things that have happened to me as a teacher.


Websense

I finally got an email telling me that they had changed the categorization of my site.  However, it could as many as 72 hours for it to actually change.  Fun.

Some things to know -- they do not do 24/7 support on categories, they will only change them on Business days.


Websense - More

When I got home and things got calmed down, I decided to research the issue on the internet.  I actually went out to the Websense site and found their site look up tool.

If anyone else runs into it, it's at http://www.websense.com/global/en/SupportAndKB/SiteLookup/

I looked up my site (you have to do the registration thing), and sure enough, it's listed as "Personal Web Sites".  I went in, and requested that the relist it as Educational.

Nothing has happened, but it was Friday night.  However, they do claim 24/7 support.

I looked it up on Saturday, and again requested it.  The database claims to have been updated on Saturday, but still it shows as a Personal Website.

I also looked it up today, and again requested it to be moved.  Still hasn't happened.  One thing I do not like, is that you do not get any type of acknowledged besides the accepted webpage.

One thing I'm planning to do today, is to change Metatags, and information on the first page so it looks more like an educational site.  Hopefully that will help.

Let me know if you have any ideas.