Saturday, April 28, 2018

I am surviving the most stressful year

I am not going into all of it, but, since August I have been doing two people's jobs. There was a small window of a month where I thought the sub they had hired would actually do the job of a teacher, the job they hired her for, since she kept telling everyone she was the REAL teacher but that passed and I continue to do her job and mine.

When I comment to the administrators that I am drowning, they tell me the end is near.

Or that this is what I asked for (going back to gen ed).

PO, I know you keep telling me to shuck it and retire, but I hate going out on this note.

I am petitioning for a job in this school in another department teaching gifted students. If I get it, I will teach another couple of years. If they assign me a single co-taught class, please join me in singing "Take this job and shove it."

And I cannot tell you how freeing that is.

Yesterday, a student warned me that two assistant principals were near (I wasn't doing 100% of what I was supposed to but they were working). And I told her, what can they do? Fire me?

Wouldn't be the worst thing that happened this year.

The unseen baggage our students carry with them

We are approaching the end of the year and I am trying to get everyone to passing. While I battle a co-worker unlike any I have worked with or even heard about. (Maleficent hates me with a passion and I have no idea why. I am, however looking forward to that day when she no longer inhabits my life.)

I am getting ready for that arduous chore of calling parents for those kids who are failing, mostly because they don't come.

Some kids are special to other teachers. You know, the teacher has taken them under a wing. So I have been checking with my friends before I call.

This one was thrown out of his house by his mother and can't get to school. (No car and not on the bus route.)

That one lived with grandma but grandma died. Not sure how the kid is taking care of basic necessities - and school is not one.

This one's parents are in jail waiting for trial and possible prison.

That ones mom lost her job and he is having to work to hold everything together.

This one is behind because she was stolen by sex trafficers and got away but isn't the same anymore.

I hate just passing them but knowing the circumstances and knowing a diploma might make all the difference in life, how can you not?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"Is there another room?"

Today I had an iep - and for the first time this year I had it in my room because there was no reason not to. I have had them in the Head Evaluator's room when we had an RDM (redetermination meeting) or on the main hall when I wanted to get specific teachers to come. My room is in the way back.

So a teacher came - we'll call her Ms. Teacher. She's been at the school a couple of years now.

She stood in the doorway for a bit and said she had another meeting to go to. I said it would be quick. Then she asked if we could have the meeting in another room.

I had forgotten.

In August a teacher attempted suicide in my room - then that teacher's room. Ms. Teacher had not been in the room since. I had forgotten because I had seen her on my hall, talking to another teacher.

Now, we have held class in that room every single day since THAT DAY. We have had kids in that room. I tried to get the room changed - nope. I have helped the kids deal. But we have been there every day.

And a forty year old professional doesn't want to step over the threshold.

It's been an interesting year and I will write more about it later. Much later.

Friday, March 2, 2018

How to become a teacher from a long term sub position

Hi.

You've been hired as a long term sub and you want to be a full-time teacher. Congratulations! We'd love to have you - and we know it is a bunch more money - and responsibility - than subbing. So let me help you!

There are school rules. You will be asked to enforce them. The students will not want you to enforce them because they are, after all, rules. Enforce them anyway.

When you don't enforce them - you make everyone's life harder. The students, the other teachers, the administrators, even the custodians. So, enforce the rules, even if you don't like them. Even if it makes the kids not like you a little.

Your basic responsibility is to keep the kids in the room. They want to go walking around the school. There will be conflicts. Keep them in the room. When you let them out into the hall, it makes it harder for everyone else in the hall to teach.

You will be given lessons to teach. Teach them. If you don't know how to teach it (which is not the same as knowing how to do it), ask. Do not say "it was too difficult for the students so I skipped it and now I am ready to test a week earlier" because you just messed up someone else's timeline.

Some courses have end of course tests. We teach to the test because the results matter. And by that I mean we have been given percentages of what is on the test and we parse the lessons accordingly. Sometimes we teach other things that are relevant but not necessarily on the test. We don't have time, when the test is 2 months away, to play movies every day, especially when the movies are pertinent to another department and absolutely will not be on an end of course test.

I have tried to tell you all of these things, but you assume I don't have a clue, that I am old and irrelevant. Ask yourself why certain things have happened lately and ask yourself if you are making yourself valuable or not to the organization you say you want to become a part of.

If another teacher steps in and repeatedly stops "traditions" you have set in place, they may be detrimental traditions. Or you can believe the other, older, actual teacher is a party-pooper. Your choice.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to cheat as a group and not show your hand

I post this as a service to my students who either think I am an idiot or never got the memo about being slick.

If you intend to cheat as a group, there are certain things you should think about.

1) If you usually get grades in the 60s, and your friends as well, suddenly getting 100% will raise a red flag.

2) So, try to miss a couple of questions. This will still raise your overall grade and not seem so out of place.

3) Talk with your friends, make sure you don't all miss the same questions. Again, it raises a flag.

4) Don't tell your mother "the test was so hard, we had to." Odds are, she might tell your teacher.

5) Don't turn in 2 different tests with the same answers (the correct answers for one of the tests) on both.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Learning for the test

A student asked me to stay after school Friday. She wanted to go over SAT questions.

Every single question was related to the unit we tested on - Wednesday.

I pointed out - with each question - how this was related to what we had been doing for the last month. I am trying to teach her how to read the questions to see the connection.

I am not hopeful.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dream 3

Yes, they are cathartic.

I dreamed, like the last one, that it was the end of the year and the principal was meeting with me to tell me what my schedule would be.

He told me he had hired the long term sub I have been working with this year and, since it has gone so well, I would be co-teaching with her.