Archive for fail

Measuring Down?

Posted in FAITH, FAMILY and FUN, THE HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE CLASSROOM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2011 by erikball123

The last time I made cookies, I had to throw the batter away half way through the cooking process. I tested the first batch, of course, and nearly choked. I obviously measured something wrong. I didn’t pay that much attention, as I’ve made cookies before…and thought, what the heck. (I’ve been watching Food Network. It’s souring my thinking.) It was a true lesson that it is not a shame to pick up a measuring cup. (Maybe I should just leave the cookie making to my wife!)

I guess some things CAN be measured. Let me restate that. Some things SHOULD be measured.

I have been thinking a lot about my students this week. It’s been a busy week. (And I forgot to tell you last week about my middle school student who, during group work, tapped me on my shoulder. I turned round. He was wearing a paper mustache and goatee. Cooly, he stated in a dark Guatemalan accent, “I don’t drink often. But when I do…I prefer Dos Equis.” I almost wet myself. It was the funniest thing I’ve seen in months.) Anyway…I digress.

My students are literally the highlight of my day, and the most concerning part of my approach TO my day. Let me explain. Faith Lutheran High School (the best school in the country) is a caring, nurturing supportive, and safe exception to any student’s Middle School / High School career. I love it there. I find myself spending hours nit-picking little tiny things to complain about daily…simply because it is such an amazing place to be. Isn’t that funny? I kick myself daily, saying “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” At the ends of my days (good days and bad)…I walk to my Nissan Cube, and I find myself worried about my students. Why should I worry about these kids, who are in our care, behind decorative gates and stone walls, sharing the good word of Jesus Christ? I’m proud of my students. I have faith in my students. I’m scared for my students.

I think sometimes…we don’t allow our students to fail.

There is an onset expectation when you purchase something, and that is, you’re going to GET what you paid for. If you grab a Sierra Mist, you know you’re getting ice cold, citrusy goodness. If you purchase a new car, it darn well better fill you nostrils with new car smell. If you purchase a Happy Meal, gosh darn it, there had better be a toy in there! You GET what you pay for. I think there should be NO EXCEPTION with that mind-set when you enroll a student in a private school for a quality education. It’s part of my philosophy as I approach my classroom everyday. I’m fulfilling my end of that expectation. Is this a reasonable expectation when we’re dealing with impressionable young people? People with personal goals, dreams, fears….and unique dynamics? I wonder.

Every time I post a cast list, and one of my students allows the ensemble role that they thought would be a principle role alter their self-control…and they begin bad-mouthing a fellow student…I break down inside a little.  Every time I witness the rules bend ever so slightly for a student so that they may be allowed to play a sport, or participate in an event….because that parent called the administration, and maybe, just maybe, this is the “least disruptive solution”….I question my approach to these kids, a little. Every time I see a student cut in the lunch line…get caught…and then don’t react with remorse…I feel a little lost.

“Wow, Erik. There are teachers in some schools walking the same halls where drug deals are being made, and your dissecting a situation regarding cutting in the lunch line?? Dang, you wussy.” Well…in my defense, this is all I know. I feel very badly for third world countries where people go to sleep starving every day. I will pray for them. But, I cannot fully understand that world, or affectively “deal” with it either…because this is the only world I know. So, in the sterile lunch lines of Faith Lutheran…yeah, these things affect me.

What are we doing to our students? Teaching them. Right. But what? Reading, Writing and Arithmetic? What about winning AND losing? Right AND wrong? Good AND bad? They surely know WHAT these things are….but do they know HOW these things are?

We do not affectively prepare our students for the real world, if we don’t ALLOW THEM to fail sometimes.

There is this saying, that I love, that goes, “Try your best. Even if you fall on your face…you’re still moving forward.”

Students are going to mess up…get a C- on their AP English homework…forget to turn an assignment in….get a detention for necking in the hallway…smoke a cigarette. All students mess up…they are all TEMPTED to compromise the free will and self-control that is gifted to them by God. It’s not the messing up that is important….it’s WHAT THEY DO AFTERWARDS that will surely define their characters, and generate exceptional, private school students…and even better, lay the ground-work for brilliant young Christian leaders after high school.

I sat four young men down after a middle school class this week. They were talking out of turn, disrupting the presentations of their classmates, snapping rubber bands and playing on their cell phones. All within 10 minutes. (I told you we had multi-tasking, talented kids at Faith.) I pulled them aside and said “look…I don’t want to give you a detention. YOU don’t want me to give you a detention. I need you to be respectful in class. If not, the school’s rules state that you must receive a punishment, which in turn makes me the bad guy…which in turn makes you unhappy with me, which makes me sad. So…here’s the deal. I’ll give you your phone back. The rubber bands I’m keeping…because, frankly, I’m out of rubber bands….but we’ll start fresh next class, with a clearer understanding of my expectations. If then, we continue to have problems…. detention. Understood?” Three of the four kids apologized. I accepted it….and waited. The fourth got a detention today. He continued down the same path. I asked him to stay after class…and then I asked him to fill out the detention form. He did it sharply and quickly…and accepted it. I think that was VERY good.

I’ll tell you something. The process of MAKING good cookies is always the same. Mix the proper ingrediants…bake them for a certain time…allow them to cool. We can measure what NEEDS to go into each cookie, very carefully. But, what happens if we make an error? I don’t blame the process of making cookies…and I certainly don’t stop making cookies altogether. Instead, I learn from my mistakes, restart and try again. I learn. Hopefully, I’ll wind up with better cookies.

If we (teachers and parents) take time with our students…nurture their needs as individuals (as we all know that God made each of these little ones by hand…there were no cookie cutters up in heaven)….and then be a part of the clean up process when they fail (continuing to nurture)…then maybe we’ll wind up with a batch of really well-prepared cookies.

And who doesn’t appreciate a well-prepared cookie?


Posted in MY "TOP" LISTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2008 by erikball123

Tis the season to be scared out of your wits by impostors posing as Jolly Old Saint Nick. How dare these two-bit crazies call themselves Santa and dish out miniature candy canes to unsuspecting toddlers! In my effort to draw awareness to this unrecognized and growing nation-wide dilemma, I give you the TOP 25 EPIC MALL SANTA “FAILS” and accompanying captions.


#1 – “Hey there kid. Stop cryin’! It’s me…Ed Anser. You know…Mary Tyler Moore Show. C’mon. You don’t remember me?”


#2 – Attacked by the Happy Elf!


#3 – “Hey! I have a day job as a Birthday party clown. Don’t make me bust out my tickle finger!”


#4 – First and foremost…let’s agree on a focal point. Secondly, could “silk shirt” and “fake blond” BE any less interested. At least the chair is wide enough. It’s like a stinkin’ Santa love seat. Neither of these peeps is feelin’ the love.



#5 - "My Santa...what fuzzy sleeves you have." "What!? These? Truth be told kid...I haven't done this in a while and I had to improvise. The hat...sleeves....cut from a roll of insulation I had in my trunk."



#6 - First of all...what's with the Frank Lloyd Wright-like chair. Secondly...this is like super-spread-out Santa. Poor kid is nearly on the floor. "Skooch over, fatty!"


#7 – A skinny, stiff as a board…purple-suit clad Santa with no hat. Where do I begin? I mean, the chest of candy canes is bigger than this guy! This must be…like, Santa after the depression. And what’s with the purple?? What is this, Norway?


#8 – This photo is evidence. Note the demon-like eyes….These communist robots disguised as children are spies attempting to infiltrate the Malls of America. Nice try with the sweatshirt, sweetie, but we see right thru ya! Oh yeah…the Santa: covert agent Higgins. Nice job, Higgins.


#9 – A lot of people don’t know this…but for every 100 Mall Santas, the North Pole donates 1 Free Santa to the state’s local soup kitchen. This is Nebraska’s Santa: William Crotty. (*Lush chair not Included.)


#10 – “Here comes Santy Joey DeLuca…Here comes Santy Joey DeLuca….Right down Santy Joey DeLuca’s lane. Whaa??? You gotta problem?”


#11 – “That’s right, little boy! Scream your head off! Neither your mommy, your daddy…my terribly rusty jingle bells, or my cotton ball eyebrows can save you now!” (*NOTE: Could Santa BE digging his fingernails in anymore? No wonder the kid is shoutin’!”



#12 - "YES! And upon my throne of crayons, I shall rule the world." Note: Like Jingle Bells. What's up with the bells?


#13 – “Hey there lilla boy! I’m your Santy Clauff….Hat? Who needs a lilla hat, or whatever. No, I ain’t been drinkin’. I don’t need no drinks. I do need a comb. You see, I gots me a HUGE head of hair. It’s like clouds…or a polar bear…or fog. It’s real too…I love it. It’s soft and warm and….STOP CRYING! Darn kids.”


#14 – Evidence of a lack of good dental insurance at the North Pole.


#15 – Is this guy for real? It looks like Paul Rudd, don’t it?


#16 – “Dude….just take da kid, eh? Look….just take her! She needs to get into the spirit of Christma—don’t make me come over dare young lady. I’ll smack those tears off your face so fast, you’ll be marchin’ here and there, all around the square, singing catch me if you can!”


#17 – “Um…yeah. Do you guys really need me here? Tell you what….I’ll just stay in the back here behind CHEEKS, EYEBROWS and the PEEKER ELF. No prob.”



#18 - "Um...yeah, Santa. For Christmas I'd like a Malibu Barbie...a Lite-Bright....and Gastric Bypass."



#19 - NO-FACE SANTA!!!



#20 - "Jim...grab SUZIE! Santa's getting bitey again!"









#24 - "Don't worry there kiddies! Just so long as Santa here has taken his pills....then we'll all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!"



#24 - Today's SCARY SANTA is brought to you by WAL-MART. WAL-MART...we've got egg nog too!



#25 - All I that I'm LITERALLY having nightmare about this Santa tonight. How freaky is this!

So, you better watch out! You’d better not cry! You’d better not pout! I’m tellin’ you why! Santa Clause might eat your small children! I suggest pepper spray in the stockings this year.

%d bloggers like this: