Friday, September 30, 2005

Best Classroom Sign EVER

The following is a sign that has been posted on a wall of The Job's post-toddler room. It is a large sign, written in big print letters, and has been up clearly visible to all the children, staff and parents for months. It was written by Ms. M, a respectable woman with a lot of experience in early childhood.

Class Rules
1. Follow directions
2. Use our words
3. Clean up after ourselves
4. Keep hands to ourselves
5. Use inside voices and walking feet

See the humorous aspect? You have to read down and think acronym.

No one noticed.

No one, until --- and this is very much like The Emperor's New Clothes --- FW, one of my four-year-olds, walked over to the sign while I stood nearby and started saying, "There's an F, and then a U, then a C, and then---"

Wait, what? It was only then that I saw the (purely unintentional) genius of this sign.

I like to think of it as the ultimate meta-rule.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

If you're riding a dead horse, get off

On the 15th, I bitched about the amount of out-of-class work (not homework, but mandatory activities that must be done outside the classroom) Mr. A expects of us in American Public School. Now it turns out we have to find the time to sit in on a school district board meeting. A school district board meeting?! I don't even know what that is. What goes on? When do they have those? Who runs them? Can anyone go? We're expected to take notes by hand on a copy of the minutes. The minutes? They're going to give me a copy? Look, I work full-time. Yet another thing I have to fit into my busy schedule.

In class, we talked about formulating teaching philosophies. I think I already have one based on my Pre-K experience, which isn't to say that it won't change. I believe in the essentials, I believe in pragmatism, I believe that all children are born with a thirst for knowledge, I believe children learn best when they feel safe and loved (or, if they're older, respected). Mr. A tossed out a good one that I took note of: "I believe that part of my job is finding a way to help students succeed."

I like that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Reflections on past and present

San Nakji, whose interesting and varied blog I really can't recommend too highly --- he's got pictures of exotic animals, people!! --- did a "meme" back here. I did it too.

A few desultory questions (well, more like word-association stimuli) and responses follow.

1. Ten years ago -- I really am not good with years. I had to look back at my various writings to determine the answer. In late 1995 I was working at a now-defunct alternative newspaper in Oregon.

2. Five years ago -- Um... In late 2000 I was... uh... Not sure. I was in some other U.S. state doing something far beneath my lofty talents, that's for sure.

3. One year ago -- I was in Texas, where I am now, doing what I'm doing now.

4. Yesterday -- Got up groggily as is my wont, walked the dog, went to work, came home, surfed the web a little, watched some of All Quiet On the Western Front. I lead a pretty unremarkable life.

5. Today -- Same routine, really.

6. Tomorrow -- After work I'm going to a restaurant for my best friend's wife's birthday. There will be several people I don't know there, which I'm not crazy about.

7. Five snacks I enjoy -- Stonyfield Farm yogurt (oh man, the yogurt from Heaven!); this oriental rice and seaweed snack mix whose name escapes me and I rarely get because it's so expensive; Silk brand chocolate soy milk (the smoothest!); Bearitos cheese puffs (they make Cheetos taste like drain cleaner blended with the runoff from a Dow chemical plant); Endangered Species chocolate bars (truly delicious, and 10% of profits go to wildlife charities). And also, fresh fruit. I like fresh fruit. And what Texan doesn't appreciate a cold Dr Pepper now and then? Well, the ones who don't like cavities and caffeine, I guess.

8. Five bands (or singers??) I know the lyrics of most of their songs -- Tom Waits, Magnetic Fields, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Green Day. And, sadly, most of the bloated rock they play on "classic rock" stations --- I literally haven't listened to the radio in years, but a decade of listening to the same 150 songs has its effects. "I can't deny Bad Company 'til the day I die!" "Agaaaaainst the wind!" "Smokin'! Smokin'!" Oh, won't someone invent BrainBleach?

9. Five things I would do with $100,000,000 -- Buy houses for all my friends and family; travel the world by boat (yes! by boat! it's the only way to travel!); hire experts of all fields to tutor me in many things, especially languages; donate a million dollars to my alma mater and to the WWF (the World Wildlife Fund, not the wrestling thing); and finally, repeatedly patronize the highest-class escorts money can buy! Just kidding about that last one. Obviously, I'd do the respectable thing and get married to some trophy wife who pretended to love me for my money.

10. Five locations I’d like to run away to -- Goa, India; Ireland; Paris; Nepal; Japan; China.

11. Five Bad Habits -- I procrastinate, I'm lazy, I'm often rude to people I've only just met, I often look down on people who aren't in the habit of ratiocination, I have a bad temper, I drive away everyone around me by my selfish neediness, I'm sloppy in my appearance, I have atrocious table manners...

12. Five things I like doing -- Purchasing and preparing healthy food made by progressive companies; reading (a lot); listening to music and making mix CDs; hanging out with my friends in small groups at places I'm familar with; surfing the web.

13. Five T.V. shows I like -- I don't have TV reception in my house, so I don't watch much TV. I like "Scrubs" and I was just recently turned on to "Arrested Development." Years ago I watched "ER" with a passion but drifted out of the habit and last time I saw it, it had degenerated into laughable soap opera dreck. Same for "The Simpsons" and "NYPD Blue" --- I used to watch them, but ages ago and now when I catch them in reruns I'm less than enthralled. Oh, wait --- HBO's "Deadwood" is very good. That's probably my favorite current show.

14. Famous People I’d like to meet -- William Shakespeare, Jesus of Nazareth, Gandhi, Akbar, Bob Dylan. Not in that order, and preferably not all at once. My questions to them would be similar only in general theme --- how on earth did you do what you did? What went on through your mind when you were blazing that trail? And (indicating this modern world in all its shame and glory) did you ever think it would come to this?

15. Biggest joys at the moment -- Exercise, good books, my dog, my family, cheap escapist movies

16. Favorite toys -- I like my CD burner. That's a high-tech toy. I guess my CDs are toys as well, in the loose sense of the word. I don't own any video games or RPGs or model cars or collectibles or action figures or anything. Don't get me wrong, I'm a geek; I just don't have any toys. Oh, wait, I have plastic figurines of Tintin and Snowy that I bought in France gathering dust up on my shelf. I hardly think about their existence, though, so I wouldn't say they're my favorite anything. I prefer to reread the albums.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Test results

Got my test back from Psychology of Education. At least, I was allowed to flip through it, then had to hand it back. The prof keeps tests for a year after class has ended for some stupid reason. What about having it to help me as a study aid? Anyway, it turns out my fears during test day were only partially justified. I got an 85, which, due to the curve or whatever system Mr. S uses, is the lowest possible A-, not a B. Despite my worries about what I forgot to add in, all my written answers were perfect, with full possible points. It was, as I feared, the multiple choice section that bit me on the ass; all of my deducted points came from those 25 questions. There were one or two that I flat didn't know, but most I got wrong because of the poor phrasing of the questions. It's my training in philosophy: I can make a justified argument for any answer choice within reason.

Class, by the way, was the most boring session ever. Mr. S noted, without expounding on them in the slightest, some key points from the text --- it was old hat to me since I'd actually read the chapters, but apparently new to nearly all of my fellow students, busily taking notes and asking questions that showed that they had either read not a page of assignment or remembered none of the information therein. Then the TA read us part of the discipline policy from the middle school where he works. Rather pointless, it seemed to me. I'm paying $50 a pop for this?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Kids say the...

CF, apropos of nothing: "You don't have a circle head!"

Me: "I d---"

CF: "You got a rectangle head!"

Me: *sobs*

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Window dressing

This week's chapter in my Educational Psychology reading deals with exceptional learners (children who are gifted as well as children with disabilities).

Inclusion, as teachers and some parents know, is the modern way to approach learners with disabilities. That is, their instruction takes place as much as possible in the regular classroom. Schools must provide the least restrictive environment --- that is, one that is as similar as possible to the mainstream classroom.

Now, I was a special ed teacher's aide for a while, but I am far from an expert on the development of children with disabilities (yes, that's a very PC and awkward term, and believe me, the text wraps itself in knots in some passages trying to avoid using efficient, non-judgemental terms like "normal" or "disabled," but when in Rome, do the PC thing). So I'll try not to pontificate on this much. But I do want to state for the record that as of this point in my training, I am against inclusion. No, I have no choice in the matter. But I'm against it. What good does it do the children?

While my mind is probably above average and my education certainly superior, I was born with a birth defect that limited my growth. Should I, under the principle of inclusion, have demanded to be placed on the football team? "But don't tackle me, 'cause I can't take it! I just want to suit up and wear a helmet, and gosh darn it, be a player on this crazy old team! What do you say, fellows?" Or the basketball team? "Don't expect me to make any shots or block anyone. Oh, you're all too tall for me to have any effect on you at all! But I'm here on the court! Cheer me on!" Why is sports the last bastion of true fairness in our schools?

Isn't that a similar analogy to the classroom? "Here's a kid with Down syndrome for your mainstream third-grade class! Don't expect him to answer questions or follow what you're saying, though, 'cause he can't! He's just here to feel included! What? Sure, he'd probably be better off in a place suited for his needs, with a teacher who'll speak slowly and help him with concrete, one-on-one instruction, but gosh darn it, that would make him feel so out of place! Oh, and you other kids, would you mind not answering questions so fast? That makes him feel bad!"

I am not --- not, not, not --- trying to mock kids with Down syndrome or any other learning disability. God love them, I want them all to have high self-esteem and be instructed in the manner best for them and for them to get the best possible care and education and life they can handle. I do think that inclusion is not going to do that. It's a pat-yourself-on-the-back, feel-good approach that seems to ensure "the appearance of normalization without the expectation of competence" (James Kauffman).

Support is what children with disabilities need. Competent, caring, developmentally-appropriate teaching is what they need. (Why is developmentally-appropriate learning such a sacred cow when we're talking about ethnicity, but when we're talking about quantifiable levels of learning skill, suddenly it's not so important?) I love kids. All kids. Kids with disabilities. I want them to have the best we can offer. Pretending that everyone is equal is not the best we can offer.

A Jason generation

Tired... so very tired... been slacking off homework all week and now feel vaguely guilty and yet also vaguely satisifed...

So, in a previous post, I mentioned two of the very few black kids at our child care center in Oregon, AR and KI. The latter was a great kid with very few problems; AR was another story.

His mother apparently let him listen to gangsta rap and watch whatever TV shows he wanted. He was from a low-SES family like all the kids at VOA, and like a lot of kids raised by a single mother in poverty conditions, he had poor self-control. This, combined with his mother's... uh, permissive parenting style, made him a rather wacky handful at times.

His mother told me how, once on a bus, he turned to her and said excitedly, "Mama! That woman looks just like Snoop Doggy Dogg!" She tried to hush him, but he just kept on louder, trying to make his mom look at the lady. Hilarious.

Slightly less hilarious was when we needed to physically restrain him. Now, this was (and I'm sure still is) strictly against VOA policy, but let's face it, policy and reality are so often at odds. Officially, we were forbidden to restrain in any way a child who didn't want to be held, even if the child was putting himself or others in danger. Yeah, right! Sometimes, it simply needed to be done, and I was willing to take full responsibility for my decisions. No, we didn't do anything horrible like tape him or lock him in a bathroom or anything else that could reasonably be called abuse. We were calm and professional and gentle and just held him in our arms or lap so he wouldn't hurt himself or others.

When I would hold him, usually at nap time when he'd decided he wanted to walk around and step on his classmates, he would grow very resentful. Typically, he'd shout something like this: "Goddamn motherfucking let go! I'm gonna kill you and shoot you and slit your eyes with a razor blade and pour alcohol in your eyes! I'm gonna get my pet falcon and pet tiger to claw your eyes out! Fucking let go of me! I'm gonna shoot you with my gun and stab you with my knife and pour alcohol in your eyes and make you drink poison!"

A four-year-old.

No, I'm not exaggerating or putting any phrases in his mouth he never actually said.

It wasn't his fault. I loved that poor, crazy kid who needed some firm and intelligent guidance. His mother, I'm sure, meant well, but she worked long hours. AR --- at VOA for nearly 12 hours a day --- saw little of her; when he did, she utilized a very unfortunate blend of neglectful (not setting boundaries for his entertainment) and authoritarian parenting. Most of the time, AR was sweet and calm. He would tell me he loved me. He participated in the activities. (He would also insist on taking his shirt off to go to the bathroom, which was weird, but harmless.) So what made him that way? And I wonder what he's like now?

A child watches 1500 murders
Before he's twelve years old
And we wonder how we've created
A Jason generation that learns to laugh
Rather than abhor the horror
-Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy, "Television, the Drug of the Nation"

Friday, September 23, 2005

Vocabulaire: ramasser

French vocabulary word

ramasser - to pick up, collect, gather
Les enfants gentils ramassent leurs peluches et les placent dans une corbeille.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Why Gender Matters

I just finished a terrific, layman-friendly, immensely thought-provoking book, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. In a nutshell, Sax argues that gender differences are more biological (starting in the brain, hard-wired) than social, and that the recent "gender-neutral" teaching and parenting vogue has been disasterous for both boys and girls.

In general, I agree. And Sax has hard science in the form of experiment after experiment, not faddish claims, to back him up. Sax is a vehement promoter of same-sex education. I was ambivalent about mandatory same-sex schooling before reading this book, but I think Sax sold me. In terms of social development, self-esteem, pregnancy rates, and academics, the evidence suggests that same-sex schools truly are the best for our nation's children.

I don't agree with everything Sax says. Some of my empirical observations of early childhood development in my four years as a Pre-K teacher contradict some of Sax's claims. For example, Sax says that girls hear, not just different frequencies, but better than boys from a young age. Girls think men shout and boys find soft-spoken elementary teachers boring. I have seen a bit of evidence of the latter (boys listen to men much more frequently). But if the former is true, why do so many 4-6 year old girls shriek and talk in such a piercing, squeaking manner? I also think that Sax underestimates certain social pressures, such as the pressure on boys to look good (Sax says boys take drugs for the thrill of danger, but most steroid-takers do it for one reason only: to improve their looks). Finally, Sax gets a bit preachy at the end when he starts talking about co-ed vs. same-sex education; his argument to historicity (humans have always, in nearly every culture, offered their children the opportunity for same-sex learning experiences, so the modern idea of co-ed learning is backward) is flawed. After all, humans have always, in nearly every culture, until recently endorsed slavery as well. Sax should stick to psychological and biological research in his arguments.

Disagreements aside (and who besides semi-literate Dittoheads would want to read a book whose every word they agree with?), this book is a must for all teachers. Personally, I think that it's practically a disgrace that the only academic role models a boy sees until he's about 13, aside from coaches and maybe a science teacher or two, are females. The plain fact is: boys don't want to be women. When a well-intentioned woman teacher asks a boy to behave, she's basically saying, "be like me and these well-behaved little girls," so why would he want to? When the only teachers they see are women, is it really any wonder that statistically boys are in the bottom half academically and they grow up thinking school is for girls?

The book also offers some back-to-basics parenting advice which boils down to: the parent is in charge. There's been too much asking and offering on the part of parents to their kids and not enough telling. Parents basically know what is better for their kids than kids do. Make them do it. Reasonable enough, if tempered with the knowledge of the difference between an authoritative style of parenting vs. an authoritarian one (after Diana Baumrind).

In my opinion, every teacher and parent should read this book and be aware of the science behind its arguments.

Don't be quick to tear down fences until you're sure why they were built

The title is today's apohorism by Mr. A, who is fond of such home-spun wisdom. Several students today talked about how at tutoring they made connections with students labelled as poor learners by their regular teachers, and while Mr. A is pleased at our enthusiasm, he also counsels letting a situation play out and see if we won't see the reasons for the teacher's judgement in good time.

American Public School was fun, as always. We watched a quite interesting and well-made video (An episode of The Merrow Report, on how public schools have evolved since their inception in the 1840s and the myriad efforts to improve them or pursue some agenda through them), then broke up into groups for a rather silly and meaningless project involving newspaper and tape that was meant to teach us about working together. The silly project aside, we did work together, and I'm sure we need all the reminders we can get about the importance of surrounding yourself with capable people, and we also got some experience in presentation as well.

One of my group members asked my age, and I told her. I'm sure she has a completely different view of me now. That's how it is.

At work, I played They Might Be Giants' album No! At the song "Bed Bed Bed," when the clock, alarm, and sawing wood sound effects all start up, CM said, "That sounds like the Beatles." Man, kids really do have great powers of perception, don't they?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Test day

Had my first Educational Psychology test (or, as Mr. S calls them in his jocular fashion, "opportunity"). I think I did well enough, though I was slightly alarmed by the amount I forgot. I referred to Gardner's spatial intelligence as analytical intelligence, I couldn't confidently list Piaget's stages, I wasn't 100% confident whether creativity was part of Sternberg's triarchy of intelligence, I failed to mention the importance of private speech to Vygotsky, etc. And the multiple choice part left me less than completely confident, as well; questions like that, where there's no place to explain your line of thought, often bemuse me if several responses seem fairly likely or none seem at all relevant.

Anyway, I got out of class in just an hour instead of two hours 45 minutes, extra free time which I promptly wasted goofing off on the Net.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Gardner lists eight types of intelligence, and I don't have a single one

Went to tutoring at W Elementary today. Small group activities, free choice stations with partners: a bit more less orderly than last week. Two new students: one refugee from Hurrican Katrina, one Mexican student with not a word of English. Something bothered me today at W: while all the other children moved from station to station doing activities, the new Mexican kid with no English was allowed to just sit and draw. Soon, two other Mexican-American students, both of whom could speak English, were sitting with him drawing as well. Couldn't Nino Nuevo have done picture cards or practiced writing or been given some number sorting, something rather than just draw? I saw this seven year old and I thought, if this keeps up, in a few years this kid's going to think school's not for him, there are no expectations, he's not there to learn or be taught. I didn't think I had the authority to sit with him and focus on some simple morphemes, or I would have. Instead, I made the rounds, helping others.

I'm not saying W is a poor school or Ms. D is a neglectful teacher (she works very hard and has her hands full). I'm just noting how early the tracking and the low expectations start.

After tutoring, The Job. CF vomited at afternoon activity, all over one of my number cards. Lovely.

After work, mandatory staff meeting on safety tips. Fire, terrorist attack, intruder, tornado, bomb threat, etc. etc. Whatever; they all boil down to: evacuate and call 911.

Studied all day Sunday. Studying continues now.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Vocabulaire: une cloche

une cloche - a bell
« C'est sans doute une bonne idée, » dit la vieille souris sage, « mais qui parmis nous possède le courage de placer la cloche autour le cou du chat? » Personne n'a répondu.

I'm both worn out and lazy, oddly enough

It's a bit past 11 p.m. I just got back from Parents' Evening, a service The Job provides occasionally for parents who want to drop their kids off for an evening. Worked 6-11, netted a nice $60 (which should have been $70 but someone didn't show up). Tired. I meant to use the second half of the evening as study time, but the little bastiches would not sleep.

Since my class is Tuesday, and The Job has helpfully pencilled in a mandatory Monday night staff meeting in my schedule, that leaves only Sunday to study for the Educational Psychology test. Just as the leopard can't change his spots, neither can the procrastinator become a wise budgeter of time.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ah, good times

A brief anecdote from my two (quite enjoyable) years as a pre-K teacher at Volunteers Of America Oregon, which was a wonderful organization:

Oregon is a fairly white state. In my entire two years there, though the program was for very low-SES families, we had maybe five black kids at our center. This story takes place at a time when we had two black kids, KI and AR, out of about 25 total. One day, we were having our normal circle time; I was reading a book or leading a discussion or singing a song --- I forget exactly, but some routine circle activity. Suddenly, apropos of nothing at all, four-year-old KI leaps to his feet. "Look at all these white kids!" he cries. "Let's count 'em!"

And, pointing, he begins to do so. "One, two, three..."

"Yes, all right, thank you, KI. Thanks. That's good. Sit down now."

I still smile at that.

VOA was a wonderful time in my life, and although I'd worked with kids before, it was there that I really found that I had a calling for it. Honestly, some weekends I was almost eager for Monday to come. (It seems bizarre now; I'm so much more burned-out and jaded.) The pay was quite low, but the benefits were good, my coworkers were mostly a good bunch, and the intangible rewards were plentiful --- just like, as far as I can tell from everything I've heard and read so far, real teaching in the public school system!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The easiest thing is to find fault; the hardest thing is to find solutions

So yesterday was American Public School. I enjoy that class a lot; it's as fun as Tuesday's is boring. We break into small groups, we present opinions, we have lively discussions (someone says free in-school child care for teen mothers is going too far, then another student raises her hand and says, "Well, when I had my baby at 19..." and then HOO BOY it's on). Mr. A keeps things rolling, doesn't let people ramble, and encourages a light tone.

But... (1) Mr. A had us break into groups of five and exchange our personal info so that we can work on long-term group projects for, I assume presentations later on in the semester. (2) Mr. A further presented us with a long-term assignment based on our 20 hours of public school tutoring. We have to write some observations of a social setting at the school and / or an official school document (the basic idea being, get some vague sense of how this school operates day to day). Fine, good. But we also have to interview a teacher! Now I am at work, normally, nine hours a day. I have reluctant permission to go to W Elementary once a week for two hours. I don't have time to coordinate a project with four of my classmates. And how in the world am I going to find time for a face-to-face, half-hour interview with a teacher? They work long hours too (Ms. D says she stays 7 a.m.-6 p.m. most days). Groan. I may have to fake a sick day.

Speaking of work, ever since we lost most of our 4-5 year olds at the end of summer due to a horrific lack of planning by the Boss (which I don't want to get into, but I knew this would happen), the Pre-K room has been getting younger and younger. Now the B wants to bring in a crowd of 2-year-olds by the end of the year. We're going to have 18 kids, almost all of them 2-3, with only 3 or 4 in the four to six group. All in the same room, though ostensibly in two different "classes." Cripes. I may have to start thinking seriously about whether I want to keep working there. I can land some kind of part-time job and go to school more. It'll be a squeeze, but that might be preferable to being a freaking toddler caretaker. That is not my thing. Anyway, I'm exhausted these days as it is. Also: no insurance, all my vacation time is used up, generally unprofessional working conditions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Vocabulaire: enlever

enlever - se débarrasser, déshabiller, ôter (des vêtements, etc.)
Enlève ce chapeau idiot ; tu as l'air ridicule.

Ratchem fratchem know it all TA

Last night / early this morning, I was plagued by mocking dreams. I was at a State School class (something like Mr. S's, but undefined, really), and completely unable to get a handle on the discussion. I recall that everyone got it except me and that I was standing out as an idiot. Also that the discussion was somehow centered on philosophy, which made it worse because that was my major. In the dream, I felt completely baffled and humiliated. It felt so real, that once I woke up, I had to remind myself that this hadn't actually happened. It's weird, because I never have dreams of unreadiness or social / intellectual inadequacy. It was a disturbingly vatic dream, it turned out.

(Synchronistically, at work today Spookytooth asked me if I was still married and said she'd had a dream I'd gotten divorced. I had no comment. Did she really have such a prophetic dream, or did she just notice that I no longer wear my wedding band? Or has word gotten around to everyone by now?)

After work, Mr. S's class. I sat through Mr. S lecturing straight from the book and telling us exactly what would be on next week's test. At the end of the period, I retrieved my homework, and was shocked to see a B rather than an A, as I got on the first assignment. I truly was stunned for a bit. I stayed 15 minutes after class ended (and this is getting to be late at night, remember) to talk with the TA (who grades all the work and tests for S, the big shot) about the notes he'd made on my paper. When we talked, he made a few noncommital comments like "I see your point" or just "yeah," but he made at least one constructive comment along the lines of, "If you'd typed out what you just said, I would have...," etc., etc. Still, of course, he didn't even begin to suggest that my grade should be altered. I don't know what I expected from talking to him, and I don't really know why I did it. I was just a bit taken aback. I haven't gotten a B since my first year as an MA candidate way back when, and that was a B+.

Why was I so upset over what is really a fairly petty matter (one grade on one weekly assignment in one class)? Don't know. Is it perhaps because, as I have no relationship, no serious career, no family, etc., I figure my effortless academic excellence is all I have? That without turning in A quality work each and every time, I'm nothing? Is it because for once school has a qualitative practical purpose, that this is a career track certificate I'm going for? That my future placement as a teacher depends in part on these grades? Is it because I take this so seriously, doing a lot of non-assigned reading and extra work with the book? I guess I assume that if I'm interested and trying hard, I will not only get an A, I deserve an A.

I mean, the TA sits through Mr. S's lectures. Doesn't he see that the questions Mr. S gets as he mentions broad themes from the text ("Where is that? "What page?" "How do you spell that?") and their reactions to his book excerpts make it quite clear that few of them have even looked at the assigned chapters? I read every single line of the reading assignment. I simply cannot conceive that these college-age, pre-bac flakes who scoff at the class under their breaths and don't do the reading can possibly be turning in work that is worthy of As and Bs, while I turn in grammatical, well-spelled work that shows I have read and understood the material, and I get that same (or worse) B.

Now, what to do? Shall I redo the assignment (without asking or being asked to) and turn it in again, trying for a new grade? Should I forget it and concentrate on next week's test and doing better in the future? Should I meet with the TA again, or send him an email with some of these concerns?

Well, I guess I'll sleep on it. I have definitely not been getting enough sleep.

Monday, September 12, 2005

First tutoring session at W Elementary

I got up extra early (groan) and drove up to W Elementary to begin my 8.30-10.30 tutoring shift. I was placed in Ms. D's 2nd grade classroom. The 16 or so kids were mostly from low-income families and predominantly black, the rest white and Hispanic. No truly special-need or highly at-risk kids as far as I could tell. Nearly all could read well; one or two seemed unable to read much beyond a few words. Apparently one or two also don't speak much English. They were orderly and self-controlled enough the time I was there; a few boys not paying attention, some pencil-grabbing, the usual. No hostility or deep antagonism toward school or teachers. Ms. D was pleasant and seemed highly capable. I mostly just circulated around the room, helping with worksheets or reading the story to three less verbal students while the rest read it independently.

It was all pretty average. I guess I'd have more observations if I hadn't been working with kids pretty much my whole adult life. At the end of my sesssion, one seven-year-old boy (deemed "a wild one" by Ms. D) lifted his hand for a high-five, and I slapped it, then turned to go. He said, "Hey!" and I turned around. He was still holding out his hand for one of those urban handshakes. I gripped it sideways, then pulled back, but again he held out his fist. I bopped the fist, then he bopped mine on top. I had the feeling there was more to it, but I had already botched the procedure so much, it didn't matter by that point. Yes, I had experienced The Humiliation Potential of Shaking a Black [Boy's] Hand.

Then I drove to State School, finally bought my parking permit. I've been parking illicitly sans permit, risking a ticket; I figured the odds are low that I'll get one during evening classes, but I have seen lots of School cops in the parking lots at night, and why give myself one more thing to stress over? Also, who knows what my schedule will be like next semester? Just get the damn permit and be done with it. Still, $75 is a rip. I also bought two TExES study guides for my specific tests (#100 and #101).

Then I drove to work. Pretty much a normal day. At lunch, CF pointed at GV and said, "Your holes are bleeding." He meant that GV's nose was bleeding, but it wasn't, so it was still pretty weird. CF is a special child.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Vocabulaire: guindé

guindé - stiff, starchy, straitlaced
Le savant guindé range ses livres méticuleusement chaque jour. Tout le monde le trouve sacrément rasoir.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Joke and anecdote

A second grade teacher asks a student in her class to use "I" in a sentence.

Student: "I is---"

Teacher: "Stop right there! We never say 'I is.' We must always say 'I am.' Now, go on."

Student: "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."

***

CEO to a teacher, at a dinner party: "Sure, my salary is large, but I'm an important guy. I feel like a person's professional worth is related to what they make. So tell me, what do you make?"

Teacher: "I make a difference. Do you?"

***

...Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Course Load, Fall '05

My certification plan looks to be a very long road. I am taking the first two core classes, and have something like (the exact number depends on a few external factors) 14 classes left to take. All this despite my test scores, my BA, and my MA. I wish I could just demonstrate mastery of a variety of things with another test or two and skip the remedial literature courses. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure I do need the biology, and Math For Elementary Teachers is probably a good idea. Still, 14 courses to go... the mind boggles.

At the rate I'm taking classes, this will take a little over three years, assuming classes are available summers as well. I wish I could quit my job and go to State School full time and get out there quicker, but I simply can't. I have too many financial burdens; I'm just getting by on my salary (which boils down to between $11 and $12 per hour) as it is.

The irony is that if I wanted to be a 4-8 or 8-12 teacher of, say, social studies (history) or language arts, the course load would be much thinned out and I'd be teaching a lot sooner. But in order to be an EC-4 Generalist, you need to have a broad base of the basics, and I took a lot of philosophy and Asian history, not much else, in college and grad school.

I'm reasonably certain that EC-4 is what I want to do; I like experiencing the emotional bond you can have with the younger kids, and I picture myself as a classroom-based, one-group-a-day teacher rather than a lesson-based teacher for the older ones. Still, changing plans and veering onto the 4-8 track is looking mighty tempting.

Besides, teacher friends (such as CS) tell me that I can just take the 4-8 certification, then pass an EC-4 Generalist TExES, and boom, I'm qualified for both. I had thought of that almost immediately when meeting with my advisor, but she brushed off the idea without exactly saying it was unfeasible. It does strike me as somehow cheating --- I would be an EC-4 teacher without any of the classes than explicitly teach the specific skills that an elementary teacher needs. I want to be the best, most skilled and qualified teacher I can be, so I don't mind taking the classes --- indeed, bring 'em on! It's just the sheer length of time this will take that makes me look for easy outs.

Of course, keeping everything in perspective, I just saw on a TV show that the apprenticeship for a Tibetan metal sculptor is 12 years.

And finally, today at work a four-year-old pooped in his pants at lunch time. A kid that old who has no control, awareness or remorse about his bowels has something seriously wrong with him. But then, there's something seriously wrong with my whole employment status. I must be the only master's of arts holder in the country whose job deals in at least some small part with poopy pants.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Vocabulaire: un hoquet

un hoquet - a hiccup
Mon ami, je te prie d'arrêter ces hoquets avant que je t'étrangle.

No one is tough enough to handle the profession of teaching alone

It's nearly 11.00 p.m as I sit here listening to Dylan and write another daily rundown (and probably no more after this; this is just to document the two days I have a combined work and school schedule).

My father drove me to work, which starts at 9.00 a.m. Again, I try to teach a few basic kindergarten-type skills and knowledge sets (using the TEKS as a rough curriculum guide) to the 4-6 year olds, and switch off to social skills and basic ABCs for the 2-3 year olds. Of the latter, one of our previously immacuately potty-trained girls has taken to having literally four or five BM accidents every day. This is, I'm sure it goes without saying, immensely tiresome as well as disgusting.

Anyhoo. My nine-hour day (with hour for lunch) ends at 6.00 p.m. Today my father picked me up from work early and took me to the car place. Newly tightened and tuned car in hand, I wheel clear across town and up north a spell to State School for Wednesday's 7.00-9.45 p.m. class, American Public School. As noted earlier, Mr. A is an infectuously ebullient teacher with a folksy, homiletic style. We break into small group to discuss the chapter and make visual and oral presentations. We watch a video. We hear Mr. A talk a bit on classroom management. In case the meta-lesson is lost on the dimmest of us, Mr. A makes it very clear that what we have been doing is learning in a variety of styles, exploring the topic ourselves and working to learn. Which is, of course, how we as teachers will need to structure our own teaching styles: help students of all learning styles actively experience the lesson rather than listening passively to the "sage on stage."

The video was pretty good. It was a clip of Harry Wong lecturing; he gave a brief outline of the criteria that make an effective (not good, but efficient) teacher. (Good classroom management, lessons designed for mastery, high expectations for all students).

Based on my four years as a pre-K teacher, I need to work on my patience and I need to maintain high expectations even for those children whose participation or willingness to try is in my opinion sub-par. I also would very much like to emulate the calm, polite, professional, low-key management / discipline style that Mr. A models for us, especially when recounting war stories from his experiences with highly at-risk kids (the "thug" children the district writes off).

Got home at 10.30 p.m. or so, 14 hours after leaving home this morning. Played with the dog, wrote this. Before bed will work out and make lunch for tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No one can ruin your day without your permission

So my Tuesday goes like this, and it's atypical because my car is in the shop.

My father very kindly gives me a ride to work around 8.45 a.m. I try to instruct 4-6 year olds in letters, numbers, spatial thinking and deduction. I try to instruct 2-3 year olds in social graces and some fine motor skills. My workday ends at 6.00 p.m.

My father very kindly picks me up at work. My father extremely kindly then proceeds to drive me to school, which is about a 35-40 minute drive.

From 7 to 9.45 p.m. I sit in Psychology of Education. The lecture by Mr. S, as usual, consists of a few key points from the text, with the reminder that if he mentions them, they'll be on the test. Then the trusty TA takes over and he talks about certain real world applications of teaching concepts, and we do a basic small-group exercise on this week's chapters. (Content includes Piaget's stages of learning development vs. Vygotsky's social and guided learning and Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory of moral development vs. Erikson's eight crises / stages of life, plus a bit on public schools' take on diversity, identity, self-esteem and social issues.)

My saintly father exceedingly kindly drives the 20 or so miles up to school to pick me up and the 20 miles back home. I enter my house after nearly 14 hours' absence, let the dog out (hoo! hoo!), write this, and now will go pack a lunch and dinner for tomorrow (class again), work out, and go to bed.

Whew. Hopefully the car will be fixed tomorrow.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Standardized Tests

In order to offically enroll in the school where I'm currently working toward my EC-4 certificate, I had to take a standardized test called the THEA (Texas Higher Education Assessment, same test as the one formerly known as the TASP, or Texas Academic Skills Program). Because I'm so old, my SAT scores didn't count, and although my nearly-as-ancient GRE scores would have counted, I don't have the original score report any longer, only a Xerox, which can't be accepted. So I took the THEA, no big deal; probably it's better for me to have the official state test under my belt as long as I'm starting my teaching career in Texas anyway.

So, my results came the other day. I'm not mathematically inclined, so I had studied up a bit on solving math problems. Use of a calculator is allowed during the test, and they give you all the formulas (area of a circle, quadratic equation, etc.), so the whole thing is a bit of a joke. Even so, I had a hard time figuring out how to go about solving some of the word problems; that shows you how weak my level of mathematical skill (or at least my confidence) is.

As for the writing and reading sections, I didn't even bother to review the practice sections. I'm too much of an old hand at this sort of thing, as you'll see.

My scores are
Reading: 294/300, Math: 297/300, Writing: 300/300, Essay: 8 out of a possible 8.

More tests, including two separate TExES (Texas Examination of Educator Standards) exams, are to come. So by the time I start my career, I'll have taken more standardized tests, I'd imagine, than any other elementary school teacher alive. I've already taken:

* SAT - Formerly, the Scholastic Aptitude Test. This days, apparently, Aptitude is too harsh a judgement on our nation's dimmer children, so "SAT" offically stands for nothing. (That's the spirit! High expectations for all!) Since I'm old, I took it far too long ago to remember my exact score, and I don't have a copy of the score report; I think it was in the 1100 range (1120? 1180?), which is not at all superior.

* LSAT - Law School Admission Test. Yes, there was a brief time in my post-bac career when certain external forces were urging me to become a scumbag lawyer. (I kid! Actually, three of my best friends are lawyers, and so is my brother!) I have always been interested in criminal law, America's penal system specifially and the ethics of punishment in general, but lawyering just isn't my calling. Nonetheless, I took the pre-law school test and got, I think, a 163 out of 180. Which is just a little better than average and certainly not high enough for a good law school to take notice. I then failed to apply to any law schools.

* GRE - The Graduate Record Exam. Prior to attending grad school and getting my Master's, I took this test. Verbal: 770/800, Quantitiative: 710/800, Analytical: 800/800.

* PRAXIS - Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers. Yes, I took this exam, the one used by the majority of U.S. states, back when I was trying to get into another teaching program in Oregon. However, as I'm now in a Texas program, I will eventally have to take the TExES, this state's official teachers' test. My PRAXIS scores won't cut it, even though I got English Composition Content Knowledge: 200/200, English Composition Essays: 195/200, PPST [Pre-Professional Skills Test] Reading: 187/190, PPST Writing: 188/190, PPST Math: 190/190.

* CBEST - California Basic Educational Skills Test. Again, I took this when trying to get into that program in Oregon (because they accept the California test). Reading: 67/80, Math: 71/80, Writing: 75/80.

Whew! That's a hell of a lot of little tiny bubbles filled in neatly and completely with a sharp #2 pencil. Looking back over the scores, it seems my math results don't accurately reflect my self-assessment as a non-mathematically inclined person.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Back To Skool!

I'm Chance. I am in my early 30s (ancient for my station in life, but quite immature at heart). I have a BA and a Master's for some goddam reason. On paper, I suppose I'm qualified to teach college, but I have just started attending state school to get public teacher certification, because I want to teach elementary school. It's been a long and winding road to discover what it is I want to do with my life, but this is indeed my calling.

I am also currently working fulltime at a private daycare / pre-K / kindergarten. I have mostly worked with 4 and 5 year olds, but unfortunately our current crop of kids is skewed more toward the 3 range. I could rant and rave endlessly about my place of employment, but I'd rather avoid negativity and stay focused on my career path goal: to be a first or second grade teacher.

As I've just started, I'm taking two mandatory core classes, both once a week from 7 to 9:45 p.m. I've attended both classes twice now (at, I reckoned, $53 per session). The first is the Psychology of Education. It is taught by Mr. S, who wrote the textbook and thus considers himself a pretty big lasagna around these parts. he lectures off the book and tells us the updates he's writing for the new edition. After about an hour, he leaves the room entirely, letting his TA do all the grunt work of handing out and grading assignments, bringing in videos and guest speakers, etc.

The second class is American Public School, taught by Mr. A. He is an ebullient, enthusiastic man with a true love for the profession of teaching. He loves to put students on the spot, call on them unexpectedly, make them answer a question in five (or three!) words or less --- not to inflict some kind of power trip on them or to be derisive, but to try to get students worked up, to participate, to think about and even unconsciously apply what we're studying. It seems to work.

Starting the Monday after Labor Day, I begin my first session (of a total 20 hours) of in-class tutoring at W Elementary. Now, my job history already includes public school teacher's aide, after-school care teaching assistant, Montessori teacher's aide and head Pre-K teacher, so this ain't my first ro-day-o, as they say. Still, I'd be lying if I said I weren't a little anxious.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Who are all these people?

Chance Bishop: me. I am the least successful, by any measure, of my peers.

the Friar: one of my very best friends, a true and generous spirit. I have been good friends with this man since 1986, when we were but foolish boys. He is a lawyer and a musical entrepreneur and drinks too much and is the living embodiment of loyalty. I love him like a brother.
Palfrey: his wife. She is an elementary school teacher.  They have two kids.

74: another of my good friends from high school. As with all my HS buddies, we have been in constant touch since 1986. He works in computers.
Zaftig: his wife, a lawyer. They have two children, Nora, a girl in my class, and D, a boy.

The Maddening Angel: a girl I worked with at The Job. She was a very close friend at one time; everyone assumed we were sleeping together, though it was never the case. She is much younger than I am.

K: met through Maddening Angel, now no longer friends with her. A very fun bar buddy.

Deep Blue: the third of my closest friends from high school. He also works in computers and lives in Little Canada.
Cyan: his wife.

Auric: another high school friend, part of our inner circle. He is now a famous rock musician, with a solo and band career. He is married with children. Friar's best friend.

Flax: another high school friend I don't see very often. He teaches law. He got married in 2006.

T-Bone: another high school friend, or possibly just acquaintance. I mean, we get along and joke with one another now, but we were never friends back then. He's a stock broker or a banker or something. He is married with two terrific children, one of whom was in my class.
Courtney: his blonde, beer-guzzling, very Texan wife.

神圣: a friend I met while doing my graduate studies program; we both were taking a summer Chinese course. He's the son of a missionary and grew up in Asia. He's a broad-minded, pleasant Christian, married with three kids.

LD: a married woman who used to live in Europe.

Eyeball: a slightly hefty, well-read friend of Zaftig and LD.

C: Friar's high-paid lawyer boss/co-worker.

Sonar: a local musician and friend of mine. Extremely talented guy, and nice and unassuming as hell. I like to drool over his gorgeous wife, and she likes to poke gentle fun at me for it.

Diamond: a local musician and friend, currently in a country band.
Owens: another local musician, in a rock band; co-owns a bar with Diamond.

Spookytooth aka Spooky: a woman I dated during the summer of 2006. I think she was married. In any case a congenital liar and not to be trusted.

Ram: a friend I went on one date with once and became infatuated with despite myself.

Muffin: a friend of mine from high school. She lived in New York and is married. She moved back to my town in 2009.

Anacreon: a friend who graduated a year behind me in high school. He's the curator of a museum and married. He is Muffin's younger brother. He lives in town, but I don't see him very often.

Dram aka Skullfuck: a local comedian who has an antagonistic relationship with me.

Irish Pete: My landlord; lives in California.

Mr. Hangout: the part-owner of the Hangout, a bar I frequent all too often.

AL: a barfly I know. A person about ten years my senior, who prides himself on his vast musical knowledge. Slightly supercilious.

L: a friend of Friar's, sometime barfly. Tall, bearded fellow who considers himself a renaissance man.

Tall and Fat: two barfly buddies.

Waitress T: an acquaintance from TriviaBar and a former classmate at State School. Now teaches children with disabilities.

Epalg: very good-looking girl I hung out with for a bit in date-like scenarios.

the Ex: my ex-wife. The least said the better.

Joy: an ex-co-worker.  Had a very brief and unsatisfying relationship with her for some reason.

Pureneck: an old tangential friend.  Works in PR.

The Job: the old job.

Prestigius: Fancy private school where I work.
- Ms. Hatfield: K team member, older lady, extremely nice.
- Ms. Annoying a.k.a. Ms. Blah: K team member, very negative in tone.

- Ms. Yule - third language arts teacher.
- Ms. Sanguine - third math teacher; older lady.
- Ms. Tough - other third math teacher.

- Mr. Richard - science teacher.

- Fen: very good-looking admin assistant.
- Ms. Busty: ex-team member, now reading specialist.
- Assistant C: former assistant.
- Assistant T: third assistant.
- LN (Lesbian Nemesis): teacher who once seemed to have it in for me but we get along fine now.
- Ms. Helen: teacher noted for her attractiveness.
- Ms. DeWolf: teacher I had a disastrous, very brief fling with.
- Ms. Short - fourth teacher.

- Max: ex-admissions director.
- Ms. Kent: ex-team member, two kids, snarky but decent.
- Ms. N: ex-employee that I had a crush on.
- Mr. Todd - ex-third math teacher that no one liked.
- Ms. Bluestocking: young and extremely attractive whiplash-inducing former K team member.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sapient lyrics





September 24, 2005 --- Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy, "Television, the Drug of the Nation"

October 3, 2005 ---Tom Petty, "Southern Accents"

February 1, 2006 --- Green Day, "Jesus Of Suburbia"
February 2, 2006 --- Echo and the Bunnymen, "The Killing Moon"
February 3, 2006 --- Bob Dylan, "Chimes Of Freedom"
February 4, 2006 --- [none]
February 5, 2006 --- [none]
February 6, 2006 --- Barenaked Ladies, "Lovers In a Dangerous Time"
February 7, 2006 --- XTC, "Merely a Man"
February 8, 2006 --- Blood Or Whiskey, "Sober Again"
February 9, 2006 --- Green Day, "Only Of You"
February 10, 2006 --- The Low & Sweet Orchestra, "A Nail Won't Fix a Broken Heart"
February 11, 2006 --- Steve Earle, "Everyone's In Love With You"
February 12, 2006 --- Hank Williams, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"
February 13, 2006 --- Nick Drake, "Things Behind the Sun"
February 14, 2006 --- Old 97's, "Valentine"
February 15, 2006 --- Bob Dylan, "Standing In the Doorway"
February 16, 2006 --- Elvis Costello, "Men Called Uncle"
February 17, 2006 --- Belle & Sebastian, "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying"
February 18, 2006 --- Neil Diamond, "Solitary Man"
February 19, 2006 --- Bob Dylan, "Wallflower"
February 20, 2006 --- Warren Zevon, "Lawyers, Guns And Money"
February 21, 2006 --- They Might Be Giants, "They'll Need a Crane"
February 22, 2006 --- Ray Charles, "Unchain My Heart"
February 23, 2006 --- the Beatles, "I'm So Tired"
February 24, 2006 --- Lovin' Spoonful, "Rain on the Roof"
February 25, 2006 --- Leonard Cohen, "Closing Time"
February 26, 2006 --- [none]
February 27, 2006 --- Elvis Costello, "Love For Tender"
February 28, 2006 --- Steve Wynn, "Tuesday"

March 1, 2006 --- [none]
March 2, 2006 --- Tom Waits, "Who Are You"
March 3, 2006 --- Richard Thompson, "Turning Of the Tide"
March 4, 2006 --- [none]
March 5, 2006 --- [none]
March 6, 2006 --- Wolf Parade, "You Are a Runner And I Am My Father's Son"
March 7, 2006 --- Steve Wynn, "Younger"
March 8, 2006 --- Big Country, "Chance"
March 9, 2006 --- Jude, "Prophet"
March 10, 2006 --- Soundgarden, "Drawing Flies"
March 11, 2006 --- Blood Or Whiskey, "Paranoid State"
March 12, 2006 --- Ween, "Piss Up a Rope"
March 13, 2006 --- [none]
March 14, 2006 --- Kris Kristofferson, "To Beat the Devil"
March 15, 2006 --- Billy Joel, "No Man's Land"
March 16, 2006 --- Don Henley, "The End Of the Innocence"
March 17, 2006 --- The Pogues, "Young Ned Of the Hill"
March 18, 2006 --- Flogging Molly, "The Worst Day Since Yesterday"
March 19, 2006 --- Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Who'll Stop the Rain"
March 20, 2006 --- AC/DC, "Girls Got Rhythm"
March 21, 2006 --- Neutral Milk Hotel, "Oh Comely"
March 22, 2006 --- Jonathan Richman, "To Hide a Little Thought"
March 23, 2006 --- Timbuk3, "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades"
March 24, 2006 --- [none]
March 25, 2006 --- Green Day, "The Grouch"
March 26, 2006 --- [none]
March 27, 2006 --- Steppenwolf, "Move Over"
March 28, 2006 --- Tom Waits, "Grapefruit Moon"
March 29, 2006 --- Jonathan Richman, "Satisfy"
March 30, 2006 --- Imperial Teen, "Imperial Teen"
March 31, 2006 --- Fleetwood Mac, "Monday Morning"

April 1, 2006 --- Simon And Garfunkel, "The Sound Of Silence"
April 2, 2006 --- Soul Asylum, "April Fool"
April 3, 2006 --- Flaming Lips, "Fight Test"
April 4, 2006 --- Elvis Presley, "Suspicious Minds"
April 5, 2006 --- Sam Cooke, "Wonderful World"
April 6, 2006 --- [none]
April 7, 2006 --- AC/DC, "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"
April 8, 2006 --- Bad Religion, "Television"
April 9, 2006 --- Tom Waits, "Jesus Gonna Be Here"
April 10, 2006 --- Hank Williams, "I Can't Get You Off Of My Mind"
April 11, 2006 --- Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, "Keep Coming Back"
April 12, 2006 --- Louis Jordan, "Beware (Brother Beware)"
April 13, 2006 --- [none]
April 14, 2006 --- Salim Nourallah, "1978"
April 15, 2006 --- The Beatles, "Taxman"
April 16, 2006 --- Bob Dylan, "In the Garden"
April 17, 2006 --- Elvis Costello, "Invisible Man"
April 18, 2006 --- The Who, "A Quick One, While He's Away"
April 19, 2006 --- The Hold Steady, "Banging Camp"
April 20, 2006 --- Bob Marley, "War"
April 21, 2006 --- [none]
April 22, 2006 --- Rhett Miller, "Meteor Shower"
April 23, 2006 --- The Libertines, "Can't Stand Me Now"
April 24, 2006 --- Violent Femmes, "Girl Trouble"
April 25, 2006 --- U2, "The Fly"
April 26, 2006 --- Blondie, "Hanging On the Telephone"
April 27, 2006 --- Paul Westerberg, "Knockin' On Mine"
April 28, 2006 --- Elastica, "Image Change"
April 29, 2006 --- [none]
April 30, 2006 --- Arcade Fire, "Wake Up"

May 11, 2006 --- Depeche Mode, "A Question of Lust"
May 13, 2006 --- Bob Dylan, "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)"

July 6, 2006 --- Jude, "I'm Sorry Now"

August 1, 2006 --- Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Let Me Be"
August 2, 2006 --- Daniel Johnston, "True Love Will Find You In the End"
August 3, 2006 --- Tom Lehrer, "National Brotherhood Week"
August 4, 2006 --- Bob Dylan, "Slow Train Coming"
August 5, 2006 --- Modest Mouse, "Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes"
[...]
August 20, 2006 --- Rancid, "Leicester Square"
August 21, 2006 --- The Magnetic Fields, "I Don't Believe In the Sun"
August 22, 2006 --- Rancid, "Tropical London"
August 23, 2006 --- The Smiths, "I Won't Share You"
August 24, 2006 --- Radiohead, "Bones"
August 25, 2006 --- American Music Club, "Crabwalk"
August 26, 2006 --- Spacehog, "Skylark"
August 27, 2006 --- Arrested Development, "Give a Man a Fish"
August 28, 2006 --- Mr. T Experience, "Semi-OK"
August 29, 2006 --- Arctic Monkeys, "Bigger Boys And Stolen Sweethearts"
August 30, 2006 --- Lou Reed, "New Sensations"
August 31, 2006 --- Rod Stewart, "Seems Like a Long Time"

September 1, 2006 --- Beach Boys, "Here Today"
September 2, 2006 --- Chuck Berry, "I Want To Be Your Driver"
September 3, 2006 --- Fountains Of Wayne, "Utopia Parkway"
September 4, 2006 --- Billy Bragg, "The World Turned Upside Down"
September 5, 2006 --- Tom Lehrer, "New Math"
September 6, 2006 --- The Hold Steady, "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"
September 7, 2006 --- Ryan Adams, "New York, New York"
September 8, 2006 --- Paul Simon, "You Can Call Me Al"
September 9, 2006 --- Badly Drawn Boy, "Pissing In the Wind"
September 10, 2006 --- Bad Religion, "Slumber"
September 11, 2006 --- Bob Dylan, "Masters Of War"
September 12, 2006 --- [none]
September 13, 2006 --- [none]
September 14, 2006 --- They Might Be Giants, "Women & Men"