Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This Christmas stuff sucks the life right outta ya

It seems there is a wide variety of Christmas vacation lengths for teachers around the US. My niece has been off since last Friday. Our district on the other hand, will go right up until this Friday the 23rd. We return on Tuesday January 3rd, which is actually a gift because before widespread outrage we were returning on Monday, January 2nd.

It is weeks like this that I feel our board of education just doesn't care about me as a person or my sanity at all. I cannot take a long lunch to go get gifts. So, I am stuck trying to get all of the usual holiday stuff done while juggling full time teaching. I can't put anything off until school lets out because that is too late. PLUS, let's face it, teaching is twice as hard on weeks like this. The kids don't want to be there. But we get these lovely memos from higher-ups reminding us that the children should be "fully engaged" in learning activity right up until the final bell on Friday. This is despite the fact that by Friday about 50% of the students are gone and those that are left are carolling in their band and choir classes.

I've learned my lessons the past few years and this year I am taking Friday off and will fly to Texas tomorrow night. We have to get special permission to miss the day before a holiday. But no one gave me any crap about it and I pity the fool that tries.

On a more warming note:
One of the reasons I am pulling my hair out this season is because I have an added responsibility. We have a student at our school with cancer. She is unlike many of our students in that she is from a family living just above poverty. Anyway, my little Teachers Bible Study group adopted the family for Christmas. I ended up divvying up the responsibilities. The Young Life and FCA bought presents for the senior student and the teachers bought gifts for her younger sister. I was the one in charge of actually collecting the money and buying the gifts. Well, it just warmed my heart to see how much generosity is out there. Even though times are tough for a lot of people right now, so many people gave so much. THAT was really cool.

So anyway, I head to Texas tomorrow night. We'll return on Monday the 2nd and on Tuesday the 3rd I go to my IVF injections class. I am strangely excited about it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

All dressed up with no one to teach

I was officially tenured last February so now I only have two observations a year. Today was my first of the year. Our observations tend to be like pep rallies. They tell us a few things to work on but are overall very positive. Still, it had been a while since I had been observed and this would be my first one for an AP class. So I was a tad nervous, but not much. Our observations include the principal, asst principal, and department head. Well, the principal had a meeting and the asst principal was sick, so it was just my 20 students (I know I know -- so lucky), my department chair, and me. It was a relief but also a little dissappointing. I spent so much time preparing the lesson and then there was no one to really enjoy it.

Well, it was fine anyway. The kids did well and the department head learned a thing or two.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Conversations

A Conversation you DON'T want to have when your birthday is 3 days away (and you're feeling a little old already):

Me: Okay class, what else can we add to our chart for characteristics of Daoism?

Student: Daoists said that life is sweet.

Me: Yes, they did. So did Natalie Merchant.

Class: blank stares

Me: You know who Natalie Merchant is right?

Class: uhhhhh....

Me: The singer?! "Oh they tell you life is hard, misery from the start, it's dull, it's painful. But I tell you life is sweet." Surely you have heard it.

Class: uhhhh...

(I march over to IPod and turn the song on.)

Student: Oh I think I've heard this. My mom listens to it.


A Conversation you DO want to have when your birthday is three days away:


Fellow teacher:
It is supposed to snow in three days.

Me: Really?

Fellow teacher: Yes, look at the national weather service bulletin, they are already calling for possible school closings.

A Conversation you never think you will have:

Receptionist: Hello?

Me: Yes, hi, I need to schedule an appointment for the IVF talk.

Receptionist: Okay. It takes 45 minutes. How's the Tuesday after next?