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School FAQ

FAQs: Class (much of this is covered in the class standards and policies)


Q:  I was absent.  What did I miss ?

A:  At the very least, you missed the opportunity to see me in action.  But in all seriousness, you should have emailed or called me directly to report your absence and confirm the work on the unit calendar.  When you know you're going to be absent, you email me ahead of time to arrange alternate turn-in dates or test dates if relevant. 


Q:  What do I say in my absence email?

 A:  The information I need to move forward!

  • MESSAGE:  Why you are absent and what you plan do to make sure the work is done.

For examples: 


SUBJECT LINE:  Suzi Seaqueen, per 4, tennis 9/12/18

MESSAGE:  I will be gone at a tennis tournament.  I will ask a friend for notes, and that same friend will turn in my homework for me.


SUBJECT LINE:  Sam Seaking, per 2, sick 9/12/18

MESSAGE:  Ms. T I am sick. I have attached a picture of my finished graphic organizer. When can I make up today's vocab quiz?


Q:  When can I make it up?

 A:  Never assume that you can make it up unless you've contacted me.  Make-ups are usually at 7:15 a.m. on the day you return to school, unless you have already made arrangements to come in at another time.  Sometimes they are offered during intervention.  If you have a zero period, you need to be extra conscientious about managing your appointments.  The easier you make it for me, the easier I can make it for you.


Q:  Do you round grades?

A:  No one in the English department rounds.  We comply with District policy when it comes to grades.  I think SchoolLoop does you a disservice by telling you your percentage with a decimal point at all, but I don't work for them.  Stay concerned only with the whole number to the left of the decimal point, and save you and your parents a lot of anxiety.


Q:  What's your phone policy?

A:  TURN IT OFF or MAKE IT SILENT.  It disrupts learning -- unless we're using them for the lesson.  Repeated interruptions will probably result in individual consequences, or new whole-class policy.

  • In class, if I haven't explicitly said to use them, and you think you need to, please ask.  Park it at the front of the room to retrieve at the end of the period.
  • If a phone rings or chimes or vibrates and no one owns up to it, I send an email home to your parents, letting them know what the next steps are. 

Q:  What's your bathroom policy?

A:  I'm not the Bladder Police, however, you must ask permission before going to the bathroom.  Ask properly (see next question).  You must take the pass.  You must not abuse the privilege by staying out too long or going too often.  You may not go to the bathroom in the first or last ten minutes of class, or during a transition between activities (unless you've already been given instructions).

Q:  What's properly mean?

A:  I'm sure you can go to the bathroom.  I mean, you've peed at some point in your life, right?  So it's a matter of permission, isn't it?  The more formal way to ask me is the polite way to ask me:  May I go to the bathroom?  


Q:  I hear you make kids sing...what's up with that?

A:  If you interrupt my class, I must assume you've come to entertain.  You will sing a song to my class, or you will receive a conduct referral.  Most people choose to sing -- and then never interrupt my class unecessarily again.


Q:  Are there exceptions?

A:  Of course.  Anyone on official business need not sing.  Graduates are never required to sing.  People who get their jollies from performance (and interrupt class) must do something they do not enjoy.


Q:  If I come in the room when the second the bell rings, am I tardy?
Q:  If my stuff is there when the bell rings, but I’m not, am I tardy?
Q:  If I ask you during the passing period if I can go to the bathroom and you say OK, and I come in after the bell rings, am I tardy?
Q:  If I don't come in with a note from a teacher or administrator, even if I was in a meeting with them, am I tardy?

A:  Yes.  (Oui.  Si.  Da.  Hai.)  And you will have to take a tardy form to fill out and turn in.

Q:  If I spend the first minutes of class arguing that I'm not tardy or if I prevent you from beginning class, am I tardy?

A: Yes, and inconsiderate.  Your integrity grade will most likely be affected.


Q:  People say you are really sarcastic.  Are you?

A:  Hmmm...I can't tell if this should go in the class FAQ or the personal FAQ.  sighs  Sarcasm is meant to hurt -- so I'd have to say I tend towards ironic or sardonic comments, not sarcastic ones.  I have a quick wit (most of the time), and irony is something I understand and appreciate.  Most of my students seem to enjoy it; those who don't always talk to me privately and we sort things out. Please come to me if you have an issue so nothing festers.


Q:  What's a non-scoliosis group? Or a ninja star?

A:  That would be a group of students who have turned their desks to face one another in order to facilitate discussion or an exchange of information.  It's my shorthand version of saying that I don't want kids torqueing their bodies into uncomfortable positions.  Ninja stars are four desks with the right corners in.  They look like...well, what do you think they look like?


Q:  What's the difference between AP Language and AP Literature?

A:  Well, for one, I teach AP Literature, and someone else teaches AP Language.  You'll have a better understanding if you talk to either of the teachers yourself, but generally, AP Literature and Composition is designed to have you analyze literature (fiction and poetry in particular), while AP Language and Composition trains you to look at the devices of writing and rhetoric (in non-fiction as well).  To have skills in one is often to have skills in the other. 


If you are a sophmore interested in investigating AP Language more closely before you register for your junior year, you can find a general (not CdM specific) course descriptions and other information at the College Board website .  You can also look at the types of writing required by looking at this sample test from 1999.  But you really should examine the website of the instructors at CdM and speak to them, or juniors in their classes, to get a sense of whether it's the right fit for you.

If you are interested in AP Literature, there are meetings held in the spring for you to ask questions in.  Register for regular English, then after the meeting you can decide whether you want to pursue AP.  If you get in, the counselors make the change, if you don't, you're already registered for an English class.  I also recommend visiting the College Board website to investigate AP Lit!


Q:  Should I take AP Language?  AP Lit?  Both?

A:  If you are worried about advancing to AP Literature your senior year, don't be.  AP Language and Composition is not a prerequisite to AP Literature and Composition.  They are two separate courses.

This is a question best discussed with your parents and counselor, but best answered by youIf English is your passion, or you're at least good at it, then taking either is probably a good decision --  especially if you are interested in some high-powered colleges that will ask if you've taken the most rigorous course of study possible.

HOWEVER, you also need to look at the demands that your family, other classes, friends, job, significant other, and leisure time are going to place on you your junior and senior years.  From my perspective, getting into Prestigious College of Choice isn't going to do you any good if you have a nervous breakdown and can't actually attend it.  How much free time do you have now?  You will have exponentially less with every AP class.  You should absolutely love the subjects you take advanced classes in your junior and senior years.  That's my perspective, good for me and me alone. 


Q:  Why didn't I get into AP Lang or Lit?

A:  Either you are not yet writing at the level that will encourage success in an advanced class, or  your behavior and work habits do not reflect a readiness for the rigor of the class.  The former is measured by the writing sample, test scores, and your grades in English; the latter is measured by a combination of teacher recommendation and records of your grades, attendance, tardies, and discipline/citizenship incidents.  It doesn't mean that you'll never be in AP (AP are open to everyone, each year), it means that in my and others' professional opinions, you're not there yet.  We (your current and future teachers) want your classes to challenge you, not be an environment where you feel unsuccessful.



If you feel there's a question missing on this FAQ, email me.