Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Last complaining post

Which will not be the last post, but I am tired of feeling so negative, so I am going to vent it all and, since summer starts today, find a new reality before school starts again.


(Yes, that was caps on purpose)

The communication, prior planning, organization and consistency is non-existent with this administration. A coworker said "We were micro managed. Now we are not managed. I'd rather be micromanaged as there is no misunderstanding."

I cannot figure out if I am jealous or being played - or both. I hate being ignored - but realized a couple of weeks ago that I really do not fit in my department (most are not much older than my children and that matters to them). So, they ask for help when they need it and forget I exist when they talk about going out to lunch. OK. They are not my friends of choice either - and I do have friends at the school.

The principal said 6 months ago "I will be calling people down to talk. You shouldn't worry if I do - you should be worried if I don't." He never called. He palmed me off on every Tom, Dick, and Harry every time I tried to meet with him about something only he could help with and was important to me.

I finally figured out a solution on my own and got approval from the district.

I have had faux admins come in to lecture me about how I needed to teach like other people because they got such great results. I asked if they knew my results on the same test. (It was the same score as the one being held up as the star). So FA told the principal I cannot teach math - and I get ignored some more.

The new kid - great at patting herself on the back - has been given all the new advanced classes. That pissed off a couple of the other mathies. I was expecting it.

OK. Enough. Life sucks. They neither like nor appreciate me. Boo Hoo.

I went into teaching to make a difference with students at risk, not with PhDs who do not know basic grammar. I know I will get the low levels, the repeaters, but I also know I will make a difference there and keep some in school. (My last statistics were awful but they are better if you realize the numbers who dropped out under another teacher's class or the ones who could not pass the graduation test and refused to do things that would have helped them.

As Scarlet said, Tomorrow is another day - and I will rise up singing and put this CRAP behind me. They do not see what I can do - they see that great invisible person - a middle aged woman. Well, I am woman, hear me roar. And watch me follow my own path - I do not need yours.

So come back tomorrow and let's solve the world's problems.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Graduation Rate = Low

This weekend was graduation of the first group I taught as freshmen and again later in their high school career. There were a couple of surprises: two students I feared had dropped out but had found another (valid) path to graduation. I am beyond thrilled with them.

What was disturbing to me was the graduate list, specifically: who was not there.

Some had moved away - and had probably dropped out.

Some had dropped out right here at home.

Some were in school up to the last minute but didn't pull enough credits or passed graduation tests to walk.

Less than 40% of those kids I taught graduated.

The school graduates less than 70% - and I know they gave me the remedial students. I had hoped I made more of a difference.

Less than 40%.

I know that more than 10% have been arrested but still . . . .

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Six Word Saturday

Do you spread chaos or calm?

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

The administration has taken waffling to a new standard this week. You have to fill out form A by 4 o'clock. The next hour: no, make that form B by 3:30. Fifteen minutes later: Form A by 4 o'clock was correct.
All from the same person.
I am so confused about what is required that I know I messed up one thing already and will have to recreate it this weekend.
(Psst, Admins. It isn't as if the end of the year is a surprise. Most of us have been counting down for a month.)
This year we had all new ones and they turned everything upside down to make us "better." Next year they have grandiose plans. They haven't been able to follow through on their part this year. I dread the start of next year. Chaos will rule.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ethics and the overtested students

We all have those students who will tell the entire class (while you are reviewing and trying to inspire them for the upcoming high stakes test) that B is always the answer. Or C. Or whatever. Anything to avoid actually thinking and learning the material.

So, this week when we were giving the state test on math, what do I see on my row but a student dutifully coloring in C for every answer. I asked her to please read the question and try. I asked the principal to talk with her - same result.

Then I see another making delightful patterns on the score sheet - patterns that included 2 or three shaded circles on each row. Connected with heavy lines.The principal wanted me to erase some of the answers. NOT. A. CHANCE.

So, we left it at that.

(Disclaimer: events really happened. Not all the players are as described.)

And I will get judged and evaluated on students who will never take these tests as seriously as I do.

Six Word Saturday

(Dale Chihuly's Persian Ceiling)

Creativity is a gift to nurture


For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

The school year is almost over. This summer is for renewal.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Discussions I would love to have

Can you have increased rigor without first addressing an honor code?

Will students automatically move to rigor if given the option? (I say no, the principal thinks they will.)

How can you keep kids from talking over you when they do not think they are being rude when they do so?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

six word Saturday

Wrapping it up. Packing it up.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Summer is just around the corner.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Advice, anyone?

I grew up reading the advice columns of Ann Landers and Dear Abby.

Here is one from Dear Prudence that I adore.

Dear Prudence,
At my office job, clients recently came in for a big meeting that included my boss. A higher-up, who is not my boss, told me I was going to have to go pick up the lunch for the meeting participants at noon and that she'd give me the money. This is not in my job description, and I was not excited to play errand girl, but I am at the bottom of the totem pole. Noon came and went and no one came out of the meeting. Finally around 1 p.m. I went to the break room to eat my lunch with friends. Shortly afterward the higher-up found me, stood in the doorway, and waved money at me indicating it was time to go. I thought she was rude and I waved my sandwich at her, indicating I was on my break. She stormed out and picked up the lunch herself. Later she furiously insisted to my boss that I be fired. My boss doesn't think I should be, but he told me to try not to piss off this woman anymore. As the new young staffer is it my job to just suck it up? Or did I merely set boundaries with a disrespectful colleague who sorely needs them?

Dear Wondering,
Since you already feel you are the equal of the top executives of the company, imagine that one day you actually accomplish enough in your life to be behind the closed door running the meeting. You’re under immense pressure and are responsible for a million details, yet you have to be calm and commanding for the clients. You ask a young assistant to perform a task that’s surely part of her job description—“assisting”—so that all of you can work through lunch. This little pissant makes a face, and when the time comes for her to get the food, you have to run around looking for her, and when you locate her, she dismissively waves her sandwich at you. “Wondering,” if you are able to get out of your entitled head you will agree that this supervisor did not walk away saying, “Now that’s the kind of boundary-setting young person I want to see rise in this company!” You just made the transition from school to work. You’re used to being told what will be on the test and when your papers are due, so the open-ended nature of a job can be disorienting. But let me assure you that if you think picking up lunch is beneath you, there are plenty of young people who bring back the tuna salad with a smile, thrilled to be starting their climb up the totem pole. You’re lucky your boss didn’t fire you, which might have resulted in your finding a new job that consists entirely of bringing food to people. Now try to show that the lesson you learned is to step up for your superiors, not flip them off.

Why is it

. . when you call to report a student's misbehavior, the parents always feel compelled to say something like "he really liked you in the beginning, but he complains now." Gee the math is getting harder, he isn't paying attention to me as much as his phone, he gets upset when I ask him to be quiet, and really peeved when he gets the grade he earned. I liked him better before, also.

. . . when you have too much to do for the time allotted, the administration suddenly gets a burst of energy to hold meetings or doesn't hire enough subs so that you have to lose your planning to babysit a basket weaving class?

. . . when it gets close to the end of the year, and their grades are in the basement, the students think they can pass by showing up for tutoring? When they won't listen when you go over the same things in class?

. . . that I am not surprised how my students behave when I call a parent to inform her that her child is failing and she answers the phone with "Why the f**k do you keep calling me?" BTW - I haven't called her before. I said in my coldest teacher voice, "This is Ricochet. Do you have a few moments to talk about your child? He/she is failing my class." Oops - she hadn't meant the comment for me. And he/she is failing because he hasn't been there to take a test, much less pass one.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Six Word Saturday

Without some people, life is better.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Nope, no further comment is necessary.