the first weeks back

it feels like my first year all over again.
walking on eggshells, not knowing who to trust and who not to, so trusting no one, keeping my head down and trying not to cause any problems or make any noise. so much for the high ground i thought i'd gained by doing a good job last year. i've been knocked down from that pedestal this year and it's been made abundantly clear to me.

18 classes a week. the entire school. nearly 500 students a week. 25 teaching periods, and no group during extended day, just the mandate to fix all technology. what about the teachers who have new equipment this year and have no idea how to use it? no collaboration periods, training time, or push-in periods. we're all on our own. the priorities are unclear, but we know what they are not.

and my friend, a veteran teacher, experienced and so close to retirement - she's got the same 25 resource room periods with the low-performing kids. last year she worked with the 3's and 4's too, reading with them, boosting them. this year Principal Status Quo just wants to raise up the 1's. forget about the smart ones, they're fine where they are. IEPs are not in order, CTT classrooms with only one teacher, brand new teachers all over the place. oh, and teacher's college PD just for the 3 favorite ELA teachers - nobody else. we need to save budget dollars, you know.

and need i mention the new TFA hire? not even a year of experience, but somehow a better match than any one of those hundreds of ATRs who could bring so much to the school. but those people know their rights and won't be pushed around the way PSQ can with the newbies.

some equipment in the lab is malfunctioning. it's not under warranty, and is at least 5 years old, so i asked for some replacements and have so far been ignored.

i'm looking outside the system.

i've tried and i don't think i can take another 9 months.



i thought it was going to be 12, the whole 7th and 8th grade, each class twice a week.

but i was surprised.

she gave me 6th too!

so now i've got the whole 8th twice a week, the whole 7th once a week, and the whole 6th once a week, equaling 24 teaching periods plus one friday afternoon 'club' period of my choosing. any ideas?

i feel badly for the teachers coming to me for help setting up their wireless, their email, their printers, and to sign out equipment. i keep turning them away, telling them i'm not responsible for that stuff this year, and they keep coming back.

pretty soon something's going to give. i hope i can learn 578 names in 3 weeks. if i do it'll be a new record.



to tomorrow being a day filled with warm welcomes and pleasant surprises.

that's about all the positivity i can muster for this post.


kickoff to 09/10

this will be my 6th year teaching.
3rd school, 2nd year.
patterning says i'll leave after this year.
i'm sure the patterns don't lie, and we're already off to a rocky start.

last year didn't wrap up on the high note i'd come to expect.

during the last week of school i asked my principal if she had any idea how many classes i might be teaching next year and whether or not she would need me teaching full time or if she would leave technology administrative periods in my schedule. since scheduling was not yet (started) complete, she screamed at me to expect 12 classes twice a week. ok, so 24 teaching periods, approximately 350 students. good to know.

the very last day, while turning in my keys, i inquired about the letter that had been placed in my file for showing up 4 minutes late to a poorly communicated staff meeting (no staff-wide email sent, and the notice stayed up on the memo board from 9am until 3pm, so if you didn't make it to the office during those hours, you didn't know about the meeting). of course, reminding the admins that i walked in 4 minutes late to applause for work i had done on getting our progress report system online was not noted in the letter. only the 4 minutes lateness. with no warning, just a letter. and the uft rep promised the letter would be removed on june 26. but on that fine day the principal decided she ought to hang onto it, if for no other reason than to confer with the AP the circumstances surrounding its placement.

this week, i went in tuesday, wednesday, and friday, to arrange the classroom and begin setting up for the year. i found much of my classroom furniture in the surrounding classrooms, and managed to move the 4 drawer file cabinet down the hall by myself, managed to drag the 6 seater table with now 2 broken legs out to the hallway myself, and got all of my tables and computer desks arranged how i'd left them in june from their scattered, post-floor polishing state. the custodians were not shy about letting me know their displeasure with the scuffs i left in the newly waxed floors.

i asked the principal if schedules were available. not till tuesday. how many classes? i don't know yet, we'll know on Tuesday. everyone will. is this fair?

i went in today to clean up some of the laptops and print up some surveys and contact sheets to make copies over the weekend. one of the computer tables from my classroom had been moved across the hall. the computer that was previously situated on that particular table had been moved to a different computer table, cables and all, squashed between two other computers where clearly there was not enough space. suspicious. i understand that none of the furniture is 'mine', but do we really need to scavenge an already set-up room?

the year is off to a killer start.

i suspect i'll be sharing more this year.

i think i liked it better when the abuse came from the students.

hope your first weeks are pleasant, your students motivated and polite, and your admins agreeable.