• Happy Halloween

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 10/26/2019 4:20:00 AM

    Trick or Treating is coming up Thursday evening.  I won't be home because it is a High Football game.  However, my 8th grade son asked if he could go to a friend's house and trick or treat in his neighborhood.  My knee jerk reaction was "no."  He then went on to tell me that he would be dressing up as a unicorn...after some pause, I began to think about a nearly 6 feet tall strapping lad of a boy walking the neighborhood getting candy dressed as a unicorn.  "Sure...you can go."  

    The debate ensues every year:  "How old is too old to Trick or Treat?"  As a society, we say that kids grow up too fast, but then when they want to be kids, we tell them to grow up.  I personally thing 13 is too old, but at the same time, I am glad they still want to go out and beg for candy from strangers!  Having said that...I have rules for Trick or Treating Teens.

    1.  Be Nice--Always

    2. Be Nice--to everyone!

    3.  Use good manners...please, thank you, etc...

    4.  Don't be that begging kid who asks for more or makes snide comments with you get the fake tootsie rolls.  

    5.  Let the little children go in front of you.  Say hello to their parents.  Help them if you are able.  This is about them, not you...you are encroaching on their deal.  

    6.  Don't run through the streets maniacally.  Use good common sense so you won't get hit by a car.  

    7.  And above all--Be Nice.  

    I will drop the boy off before 5:00 with a sack full of Sonic Corn Dogs for him, his friends, and friends' family.  He will be dressed like a unicorn.  He will carry an old orange bucket from the attic around the neighbood collecting candy.  I will bring him home. And I will hope he has good candy to share with this old daddy who longs for his babies to stay babies a little while longer.   

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  • Unity

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 10/23/2019 12:35:00 AM

    Tomorrow (actually today, now that it is after midnight, and I should be asleep) is Unity Day.  We all like the day because we can wear jeans, but it is so much more than that. 

    I had a friend tell me that they wished their Middle School would go to the cafeteria light that controlled the noise and talking of students during lunch.  This is a fairly young teacher, so I did not judge...out loud anyway.  I did, however, explain the need for kids at this age to talk to one another, make connections with friends, and have social acceptance.  Lunch is one of the only and best times to let the students do these things.  I force this on students every Friday when I make them talk to others in the class about life, plans, and the weekend.  

    It is important to know with whom our kids socialize, but it is equally important to make sure that there are social connections being made.  In order to have unity, a student must have someone with whom to unify.  Please help each other find friends and connections.  If you need a friend, I will be one to you also.  

     

     

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  • Tempus Fugit

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 10/5/2019 2:05:00 AM

    One of the few phrases I remember from my two years of taking Latin in High School...Tempus Fugit.   It means "Time Flies."  And fly it does.  

    I saw a sign about 18 years ago, when I had one baby and another on the way that said, "The days are long, but the years are short."  I did not grasp the connotation of that until my baby turned thirteen last winter.  It was only yesterday when he was a little smelly baby ...now he is a smelly teenager. How does it happen so quickly?

    Love one another.  Know what matters most in life.  It was Benjamin Franklin that said, "Do not squander time, for time is the stuff that life is made of."  

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  • Some People Don't Like Me...And I am OK with that...

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/28/2019 4:00:00 AM

    I often joke with my students about the fact that I put my self-esteem in the hands of fourteen-year-olds.  And if I were honest, there is some truth to that.  I want my kids to like me, and enjoy being around me, and to enjoy learning from me.  

    That is probably not going to happen 100% of the time, and I have to be OK with that.  What I won't be ok with is if students, generally speaking, don't like me.  Kids don't learn from teachers they don't like. 

    This week, I have seen some posts that were pretty ugly to people.  I have sat in some rooms where people expressed their displeasure for others.  I have, as long as I am confessing, had some thoughts about people that were, uhm, maybe less than kind.  After all, I am human too...last time I checked. 

    Acceptance is important to me...to all of us, and I have learned that I have to have a pretty thick skin, but it still hurts sometimes, even on thick skin.  Consequently, I must do three things to be OK with the fact that some people are going to think I am not quite as good as bacon. 

    1.  Do my best every day.  No. Matter. What. 

    2.  Be Nice to everyone.  No.  Matter. What.

    3.  Remember that my worth as a person and human is not defined by others.  No.  Matter.  What.

     

    "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."  (Stewart Smally, SNL, Circa 1990)

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  • Be the Nice Kid...

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/19/2019 11:00:00 PM

    I am just going to leave this here...This

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  • Safety First

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/17/2019

    I am a scaredy-cat when it comes to student safety.  It is my number one priority that my students are safe in any situation.  Therefore, when we have safety drills, I become a little bit obnoxious about how the students behave.  Bacon lovin' Brinkley turns into crazy man

    In 24 years of education, I have been in some frightening situations along with some things that happened in school when I was a kid. Because we were prepared, things turned out OK.  And while I know that we cannot always be prepared, I do know that we can all listen to instructions of those who are in charge.  So that is why I ask kids to stay quiet and await instructions.  I now that some classes are standing outside visiting with friends...that will never be my class.  

    The kids may think I am mean, but if I am, it is because they are loved!  

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  • A Word on Grading

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/13/2019

    Yesterday my kids took a test.  Some of them did not do well on the test.  Life happens.  Mistakes are made. Kids and parents go crazy...just kidding about that last part.  

    None of us are perfect, and sometimes we make mistakes.  That is part of the learning process. Grades went into skyward yesterday, and the kids showed up this morning to "fix the grade."  I was so happy to see all those students coming in to do better, relearn content, and achieve at high levels.  Nothing thrills my soul more than a kid who wants to learn!  

    I don't put much stock into grades.  I made a 99.8 in Algebra II.  I cannot do Algebra II today...I did not learn much.  However, in English II, I did not score quite as high, but I still use much of what I learned in that class in my day to day life.  Nearly 30 years later, it is not about the grade, but about the learning. 

    I know, I know...You have to have good grades to get into college.  However, you have to have a solid foundation of key learning in order to stay in college.  I want my students to make good grades, but more importantly, I want my students to have that solid foundation. 

    Therefore, students don't just come in and make corrections in my class for a test or assignment.  It is an individualized process that students go through with me.  It may take a few days or even a week to get grades to reset because I design instruction based on the students' needs, deliver that instruction through class, and reassess the skills in class in order to make sure the students have what they need.  

    Having said all that...don't panic.  I will take care of the kids and make sure they learn at high levels and have the best grades they can get!  

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  • Get It Done

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/9/2019 10:00:00 PM

    I am a "Get it done" kind of man.  I like for things to be completed on time with quality unless of course, it is something that I don't want to do...but that is a story for a different day.  

    This morning when school started, the technology did not work the way I had intended.  I pretended to be OK with that.  We continued with the lesson as much as we could without me showing too much of my frustration.  When the kids walked out of the room, I sat frantically trying to figure out how to make it work.  My level of anxiety was off the charts, for I am not used to things not working for me the way that I want them to work!

    I emailed people who have answers, but no responses.  I did an online search for instructions, looked at message boards, read blogs, but to no avail.  I was done!  And then I stopped.  I took a deep breath and a sip of coffee and realized that I needed to chill.  I asked myself: "if you were your student, what would you say."  I answered myself...is that a sign of crazy?..."Relax...it's all good..."

    Sometimes I have this idea that students should stress over nothing, but I need to realize that we all have moments of stress, anxiety, and even a bit of panic.   We just need someone to tell us to relax, take a breath, and move along. As my dear friend used to say..."It ain't life threatenin'" 

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  • A Word on Grace...

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/2/2019 12:48:00 PM

    This afternoon I finished grading everything, and in the midst of doing that, I discovered that a couple of students did not submit the assignment correctly, and a few others missed the formatting.  My initial thought was to be irritated.  "Why can't they follow directions?" I asked myself.  While I was kind, I hope, my brain went a little bit cranky.  

    Then I looked at my own to do list, and peeled the egg off my face. I realized that I had a deadline from my principal to get something done.  The deadline was 4:00 on Friday afternoon, and I missed it.  I quickly did the task, submitted it to him, along with my apologies and sat down and laughed at myself.  

    Deadlines are deadlines, and we should all do our very best to adhere to them.  Instructions are given for a reason, and it is important that follow them to the best of our abilities.  However, when we make a mistake, we all want grace.  I know that I do.  

    As I am reflecting this evening, I am reminded that I must offer grace to the students, along with gentle reminders to get things done in on time and correctly.  I am sure that there will be a time when I "lose my chili" on someone for missing something, and I am sure that I will have someone do the same to me.  Then I will be reminded..."Everybody makes mistakes; everybody has those days."  (Gerrard/Nevil, 2007).

     

     

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  • Bad Days

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 9/2/2019 2:20:00 AM

    On the first day of school, a young lady greeted me and introduced herself.  She is not a student in my class, but felt it important to know and welcome me to McMillan.  I have been so thankful every day for her smiling face and cheery disposition.  

    Until Thursday.  She was not having a great day apparently, for when I spoke to her, she growled a little bit.  I sent her off with a word of encouragement.

    On Friday I asked if she was having a better day, and her chipper self assured me that it was much better!  

    We all have bad days.  We should celebrate them!  It is the bad days that we have that make the good days even better! 

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