Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Your Ideas

Usually, my posts on here are my own thoughts and observations about life, love, and the plight of the duck-billed platapus, but today I want to ask you about a topic that has been at the center of some great conversations among members of the faculty here at PCHS recently. We have been spending a lot of time discussing the ways in which the current way of delivering instruction to students may or may not be the best, most effective, way of doing it. I'm not talking about, "Oh man, my English teacher is sooooo booooooring! All he does is talk about pronouns." I am talking about the kinds of classes we offer and the context in which those pesky pronouns are presented to you. Now, we have had one student join our discussion (this all takes place on Mr. Meister's blog, which you can link to through the high school's website), and I would encourage more of you to join in if you would like, but it occured to me that since I offer extra credit for responses on my blog, I might get a little more feedback. So, this is your opportunity to sound off and let us know what kinds of learning opportunities you would like to see in a perfect world.

I would remind you that chances to voice your opinions should be treated with ultimate responsibility. I often hear students complain about one thing or another in regards to how the school operates, but I must remind you that if you really do want your voice to be heard, you need to make sure you are speaking out as a young adult if you want to be taken seriously.

Punctuating Dialogue

Creative Writing- Here is the link for the easy guide to punctuating dialogue that I talked about in class. I hope it helps with your revisions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Buzzer Beaters

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

-Albert Einstein

I know Einstein was a genius and everything, but I think he missed on this one. It is a fact that time exists, but this year it feels like everything is happening at once. I feel like we just went over syllabi yesterday, yet here we are in the closing seconds of the first quarter. It seems like I am assigning work and then collecting it three weeks later with the feeling that no time had even passed since I assigned it. If that is how I feel, I can only imagine how you all must feel.

I see the look on students' faces when they realize that the mad dash we have all just survived has left them with grades they simply don't want to take home to mom and dad. For these students, I have a couple of pieces of advice.

The first is to let this be a lesson. In the fast-paced world of high school, and even moreso in the faster-paced world of the workplace, allowing yourself to get off-track or behind by losing track of your goals and priorities can have far-reaching effects. Sure, we all want to take time now and again to just relax and not worry about the things in our life that bring us stress, but the difference between those who succeed and those who just show up is that successful people put that relaxation time after their work. They realize that doing what you want to do is far more enjoyable and, frankly, possible once you have done what you need to do.

I hear a lot of people say, "You are only young once, so you might as well enjoy it." They use this as an excuse to blow off school work and other responsibilities, choosing instead to spend time pursuing unproductive leisure activities. These people rarely become successful because their way of prioritizing and viewing the world doesn't match up with what it takes to be successful. I think a better motto would be, "You are only young once, so make the most of it." Whether people realize it or not, what we do and who we decide to be when we are young sets the tone for our entire life. Sure, there are people who make big changes and turn their lives around, but many times those changes are cosmetic. Who they really are, the things that drive them, change very little. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have any fun while you are young, but if you have too much fun when you are young, you might squander away your chance at a fun and fulfilling adult life, which is a much larger portion of your life.

The other advice I would give to those who find themselves with grades below what they would want: Fight like heck until the final buzzer. You still have a couple of days before grades are final. Make sure you earn every point possible. Your teachers don't accept late work? Fine. You can't change the past, so just make sure tomorrow's assignment is done, and done right. If teachers offer extra credit, make sure you get it. Disclaimer: Most teachers hate it when students who have slacked all quarter come to them in the last few days begging for extra credit, so this only works when teachers (like me) have already stated that extra credit is available. If there is nothing you can do to salvage this grade, start concentrating on second quarter. Remember, semester grades are a combination of your quarter grades and your exam grade, so if you can excel over the next couple of months, this quarter's letter grade will never really matter.

The clock is running out. How bad do you want it?