picked on

i've never worked for a school where i was targeted by administration.

i'm not quite sure what it is that i've done to make myself a target, but it was definitely something.

maybe that whole kids in the hall thing. that might have done it.

in the past two weeks, i've been completely disrespected by the boss.

it's a full-on display of power.

and i am the small woman who will be ground down and put in her place.

my my, the computer lab is a lovely place to throw luncheons, baby showers, and 8th grade breakfasts.

i love spilled sodas, overflowing tiny trash bins, and pancake fights over the imacs any day.


the pros, the cons, the indecision

it went fine, secret interdecoderview.
so fine, that i've since received 3 emails and 4 phone calls requesting my presence at a demo lesson in two days from now.
the train ride took about 50 minutes, and it was empty.
the walk was about 15.
the school is on the 4th floor with no elevator.
there is no lab.
the position may (or may not) be split with another unnamed school, 3 days/2 days.
the few teachers i saw there did not seem terribly thrilled.
the interviewer was awkward.
i did not meet the principal.
highly rated or not, none of these things are worth giving up my 10 minute commute, spacious lab, and no-questions-asked current situation, even if it means an additional 5 teaching periods a week plus a lunch duty.

right now i have 7 periods a week to take care of the tech around the building. apparently next year, we don't care if printers don't print, laptops don't project, projectors burn out, yearbooks don't get made, graduation programs aren't printed. and we also don't care if the same kids who received tech 4 periods a week get it again, while other kids don't get it at all.

no, we don't care.

but we're also not sure how to graciously let the other school down.


decoder ring

i have an interview tomorrow.
at a school which just might have high expectations for teaching and learning.
wish me luck.


the things that keep me up at night

at most middle schools here in the city, we use a report card system which consists of bubble sheets, numerical codes for grades, performance standards, and teacher comments. the system is mostly effective, but very impersonal, and it is very hard to remember which comment was given to which kid without referencing the report card and/or gradebook to say, oh yes, now i remember.....

there are a few occasions where the bubbles don't work for a kid. b is a smart, motivated, responsible kid, who is new to brooklyn this year from mexico, tracked into a mid-level class. b's mother visits the school at least monthly, checking in with the parent coordinator for updates in spanish on his progress.

for the first and second marking period i only saw b once a week, though his class came to the lab twice a week for tech. the reason was that b receives ESL services and could only be seen by the ESL teacher during his wednesday tech time. this is not unusual for kids receiving ESL services, or speech services, or counseling, or any other variety of services their iep's require. i have always graded these kids based on the work they complete in the time they are in tech, and make allowances for them because they have other obligations. i would never fail a child because they could not complete a project because they are only in class once a week instead of twice.

sometime in the beginning of the 3rd marking period, b's ESL schedule changed, and he was pulled from tech twice a week to prepare for the nyseslat, a standardized ESL exam. the bubble sheets allow teachers to denote absences from class in a variety of ways. m = medically excused, x=excessive absences, z=non medically excused, r=recent admit, etc.

for the 3rd marking period i coded b as a z, non medically excused. i had not seen him all marking period due to his scheudule change, and had no work from him to grade him on. a grade of a 90 wouldn't be rational, but neither would a 60.

b's mother visited this week, and the parent coordinator in turn visited me, inquiring about the 65 on b's 3rd marking period report card. i couldn't recall b being present in class during that time, had no records in my attendance or gradebook of him, so i went to the business manager to check the status of his z. turns out, when you list a student as a z, it means an automatic 65 on their report card. how unfair.

soon after the the 4th marking period began, b's ESL schedule lightened up and he is back in class once a week. unfortunately, between my bicycle accident (a post for another time) and surgery (same thing), i haven't seen him, more than about 5 times this marking period. but when grades were due this past monday, (monday! there's still another month of school!) i certainly wasn't going to screw him over as i unknowingly did last marking period. no, b earned a much higher grade, inflated due to my mistake from last marking period, a peace offering, not so high as to garner attention from the office, and not so low his mother may question me on his progress, a 90.