Friday, November 30, 2007
You know your class is really too large and loud when you don't even notice a big bearded man standing in your room. Subconsciously I probably assumed it was my next new student relocating from Juvie. Anyway, I politely asked him if I could help him and he said that he was checking safety details. Unlike Mister Teacher, I have my room highlighted on my fire escape plan so I was feeling pretty good. Wonder if the guy noticed that it's accidentally inverted and has my kids heading to the custodial closet? Guess not. After perusing my various escape plans taped to my door, he then asked me if I had any motivational posters to instruct students on how to act appropriately towards each other. WHAT? Huh? How does that tie into safety details? Oh darn, I forgot to put up the hanging kitty poster that says, "Be nice, don't call your neighbor a fat cow when she doesn't let you borrow a pencil for the 2,000th time." Luckily the security guy hadn't been in the room to hear that exchange earlier in the day. I looked around my room at the various word wall displays, maps, time lines, giant statue of liberty, calendars, student work and posted TEKS objective and then pointed at my class rules. I'm afraid my expectations of human behavior in the classroom are just going to have to suffice. I just haven't seen that classroom poster that says "Shut up and be nice" yet.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
On my way home today I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Standing at the corner near my house was a man holding a 5-foot longish pole completely covered in packages of multicolored cotton candy. There had to have been at least twenty bags on that stick. Don't know where he was going or why in the world he was walking through my neighborhood with so much sugar goodness but it sure made me happy. How can a world with cotton candy be bad? Forget all the guys pushing their ice cream carts with bags of chicharrones. I'll be supporting the cotton candy dude from now on.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The past three years have really been rough for me education-wise. My neighborhood school full of people I respected and cared for was basically run into the ground by what can only be described as a unqualified, vindictive, paranoid, and possibly mentally ill principal. Last year I was offered the chance to escape to a school with some of the people I had worked with and promises of a great new position and a caring exciting principal. Within weeks, the cracks started showing in the facade of that school as deja vu set in. Paranoid rantings, personal attacks against teachers in front of the entire staff, yelling at teachers in front of their classes, moving teachers and staff randomly w/o thought to what best for students and the school because of perceived opinions she thought people had against her. The level of meanness there was sickening to your soul. Way too much like the first principal with 2/3 of the staff planning to leave by January. This year I've got administration who are there if I send someone to them but so hidden in the building that they have no effect except as reactive. I feel lost and don't know how to fix myself. There is nothing to go back to but I can't see the future either. I spent today in a great staff development and felt inspired as an educator but feel sick at the idea of going back into the classroom next Monday. How do I find myself again?
Friday, November 16, 2007
My mentor told me yesterday that I should start early looking for another job because I really should get out of our school. He said that he can't put up with it anymore. Great. I was really just hoping to borrow some Atlases. Good motivational speech there. As if I hadn't figured that out from the first two weeks of school. To top it off, one of the attendance ladies called me during my last class to yell at me because I suggested in an ARD review that her daughter was having trouble adjusting to high school. This is the same lady who writes excuse passes so her daughter shows up late to my room all the time. How do I handle this one? Want to email my principal but really just feel like running away to hide in a cave for a while.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I just haven't been up to blogging. In the past two weeks, I have dealt with so many outrageous behavioral issues in my classes that it is difficult to remember at times that I am an experienced intelligent teacher who knows the common sense ways of dealing with students issues. I am positively overwhelmed. The only modicum of relief is that all of us dealing with the 9th graders are on a slow simmer right now because of the rising issues with disrespect, defiance and thuggery. We are talking about it and organizing. I have also received 12 new students this past week and lost two. My classes are bursting at the seams. If too many students drop PreAP at the end of the semester, I will literally be teaching with students flowing out my door. My latest student announced to the class in the first two minutes that I will need to meet his probation officer. I couldn't help myself. I actually gave him two thumbs up and told him that I couldn't wait. When my department meets and the AP teachers complain about grading papers, I want to throw spit balls at them and tell them at least they got someone to turn something in. My classes are so removed from the PreAP and AP classes. They have no idea what idea my Gen Ed/Inclusion/ESL/just released from Juvie classes are like. I am at a loss to predict what the future will hold for some of these kids. I'd say a third have no idea what basic social manners and skills are required for every day living. I am not exaggerating either. I can say I am honestly trying as hard as I can. I make a point of saying hello to each student every class period and trying to make contact in some meaningful educational way. The kicker is that my head and heart are at odds right now. Some of those kids I am trying to help are responsible for beating up and trying to rob my son and his friend last night at the DART station at Park Lane. Don't know who personally but could probably find out. I am a little scared to go to school tomorrow. I am afraid I've lost something important in myself or that I'm filled with some simmering darkness that might spill out. I feel like my giant inner core of peace has been shattered just like the Taliban blowing up the Buddhas in Afghanistan. Five days until Thanksgiving break, five days until Thanksgiving break.