Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day

So, those of you who know me, know that I have this thing with trivial information--like I can't fill my head with enough of it. I'm also very curious. So, on this day off I thought I would do a little research to answer some questions that I have. Then, of course I will share my information with you.

President's day. . . hmmm.
This morning I asked myself the following:
Why do we celebrate this random day? How was this specific day selected when only 4 of our presidents celebrated birthdays in February, yet 6 of them were born in October. Shouldn't President's day be in October? or even August when 5 presidents have birthdays? Why February? This month is the shortest and it already has "The Day that Shall Not Be Named" (having to do with flowers, candy and hearts). If it's true that we celebrate President's day to honor the birthday of our first president George Washington, then why in the world don't we call it George Washington Day (you know, like MLK or Columbus)?

I did a tad of research and found out that President's day is indeed meant to honor the birthday of good ol' George Washington. His birthday is February 22nd. . .which means that we never actually celebrate President's day on his birthday since on January 1, 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the "Uniform Monday Holiday Act." This date places President's Day between February 15 and 21.

WAIT A SECOND!!! Did you know that we have something called the "Uniform Monday Holiday Act?" Yeah, me either. . . . I guess I'll save that little nugget for later. Right now I think it's important to actually celebrate President's Day the way it was originally intended.

So, here's to George Washington. . . and a few things we owe to the man.
Our democracy as we know it is owed to GW. After the revolution he could have "ruled" like a dictator but essentially, he established our Presidency as we know it (he refused to run for a third term which is why we have 2 term limits). He was an influential founding father, valued the will of the people, and his foreign policy kept the US out of a lot of skirmishes that would have threatened our countries new-found freedom.

By the way, he didn't have wooden teeth (dentures, yes, but they weren't made of wood), the cherry tree story isn't exactly factual (more of a legend), and he was the first of the founding fathers to free his slaves. How 'bout that.

So Happy Not-Exactly-George-Washington-or-Abraham-Lincoln's-Birthday Day. Hope you enjoy the day off. :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Parent Teacher Conferences

Good ol' parent-teacher conferences. . . the time of year often dreaded by both students and teachers, and some parents too-depending on the news they receive. It's a crazy time for those of us who are also in the middle basketball season, with the added stress of preparing progress reports. (I'll be honest though. . . I don't mind so much. I actually enjoy having a bit of a chat with the parental units. They always give me some added insight into just why their children act the way they do.)

Anyway, I just thought I'd post some random thoughts (and advice) about parent-teacher conferences.

1. Teachers do not want to hear that "_____________ wasn't my favorite subject either." It's not a good excuse for why your kid isn't turning in his homework.
2. The phrase, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," is applicable (in both good and bad ways) more in this one day than any other.
3. The parents of the students who are struggling are rarely the parents who show up for conferences.
4. If your student has an A in a class, the teacher doesn't really need to hear a speech about why he/she should be receiving an A+. They're doing FINE, believe me; I'm the teacher.
5. Just because a student CAN do the work doesn't mean he/she WILL do it.
6. A few positive comments (for teachers and parents) can do wonders.
7. When your class is a graduation requirement (like mine), parents take you more seriously when you say the diploma is on the line. . . Don't order those announcements yet!
8. Bring the hand sanitizer and do some facial stretching beforehand. You're going to shake a lot of hands and smile a lot.
9. We also don't want to hear, "So, when is my kid ever going to use this again?" Believe me, they'll use English. Communication, reading, writing, and general personal skills are important. I promise.
10. Thank a teacher when you have the opportunity. They work hard.

Take it or leave it, but there you go. See you at graduation. . . hopefully. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Facebook. . . Finally. . . I guess.

Well, I did it. I finally joined the Facebook world. I broke down and succumbed to the insanity. Over the Christmas break I decided it was time. I suppose the fact that my 61-year-old dad has been a Facebooker for over a year was part of the motivation. My sister helped me navigate the set up and all of the craziness with settings etc. And now, well, I'm resisting the urge to become an addict.

Addiction to Mt. Dew, mashed potatoes, McDonald's Cokes, and General Hospital. . . yes.

Addiction to Facebook. . . not yet. :)

I'm also avoiding any "friending" of my students. . . not wise, not wise at all, and I certainly don't want to know what they're posting on their home pages or each others' walls. Too much information for sure!

Anyway, for those of you who read this, well, we're probably already Facebook friends, but in case we're not. . . let me know. And we can catch up with "sound bites" of our lives. Good Times!!!