Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Day 2

Not too bad a day today, although the crummy student lunch went up to $4.31 for a teacher. See, the students lunches are subsidized, but not when I buy the same thing. I guess it's fair, but I'd certainly rather have a double Cheeseburger meal at McDonald's for one cent less, than the dried up chicken breast, roll, and several pieces of lettuce that constituted my lunch today.

Live and learn.

C. A. has more than just Asberger's, methinks. I was in the counselor's office during my prep period, trying to figure out if all my reading students were properly placed. This entails not only looking at their California Standards Test scores, but also their scores from the last few years. It's tedious.

C.A came in with balled up fists and tears in her eyes. My friend R, who is a special Ed teacher said to C.A., "why don't you talk to Ms. M? She's a good listener." and then R. shot me an evil grin and walked away.

C.A. said she was mad at all the kids at school and that they all needed to die. That she wanted to kill them all. That she hated them. I asked her what happened to make her feel this way (at the same time trying to see if the school psychiatrist was hearing this from her office a few feet away). She then went into a rant about how her father tried to kill her mother and how she herself had set fire to the skirt of some girl that was teasing her and well, it was hard to get a clear comment out of her.

I've worked with kids and adults with Asberger's for over 15 years; I've never seen this kind of thing before. At this point, one of the counselors came and walked her over to Doctor B's office.

She's going to be interesting, that's for sure.

I love when these kids are put into my classes, and I'm told nothing about them. So wonderful for both them and me.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Day 1

Well, other than getting my period in the middle of my second class, things went smoothly today.

I don't know all the kids' names just yet, but some are already standing out to me:
C. A. - She has Asberger's and makes jokes about things so esoteric that no one gets them. Then she gets mad. She's into Edgar Allen Poe. I know her from last year when I worked in the library at lunchtime.
M. C. - He's a loud mouth. Spoke out several times and looked at his crew for encouragement. He's about 6 feet tall, and looks like he's 17. I suspect he's going to be a handful.
Z. J. - I gave him an information card to fill out, and by the time I had handed them all out, he had folded it in half, and crumpled it. I had to give him another one. He was pissed off he was in the remedial class, I think. I called his counselor, and found out he had been misplaced. Would have been helpful if he had said something instead.

It's frustrating that the loud/strange/obnoxious ones are noticed first. The squeaky wheel does get the grease.

Good news. VP has decided to stay after all. Tears came to my eyes when he told me. Oh happy day. And, I got the extra tutorial center gig. Pays quite a bit extra, and very easy to do. It was between me and one other teacher, who also happens to be my friend. I won the coin toss.

I'm tired and hot. And I have lesson planning to do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Less than an hour left

And we're off! No kids today, just a massive all-district meeting. We're supposed to be having "light Breakfast" from 7:45 to 8:30... which means we don't have to be there until 8:30, but Principal will have a cow if we aren't there by eight.

So, wish me well, because it all begins today.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

about 34 hours of summer vacation left

Here it is. One full day left before I report back to school. I'm sad, excited, grumpy, anxious, and not ready. I'm never ready. Just like no one is ever really ready for anything important.

I still don't have my class schedule, or know with whom I'm sharing that corner room, or know what my prep period will be. I've been in to the classroom three times over the last two weeks, and all my furniture is still piled up high in one corner of the room. I can't move it, and for some reason the custodians who put it there don't feel the need to put it back. I kept waiting, finally going in search of the guys on Friday; they were in a meeting downtown. Darn it. This isn't just moving a desk a few feet, when I say "piled" I mean piled. Everything all jumbled up and on top of other things. I don't think only one person could do it, let alone weakling me (who, by the way, hurt her back badly a few years ago when attempting to not "be a bother" in almost the same situation).

Another cause for worry is that Vice Principal just left last week for greener pastures, and he was wonderful. He kept high-strung Principal from getting too crazy and anal, and now we have to find a new VP. VP and I have known each other for 10 years, and he will be very missed. This is part of how it goes at Unnamed Junior High School. Teachers come and go very quickly sometimes. It's almost as if we keep our distance a bit from the newbies, at least on a social level, until we know they'll be here for a while. The probationary period lasts two years; any one can be asked not to return with no reason at all. It's a bit shitty, but it's the way it works. Just last year, someone who had been at our school for two years, had been in several classrooms over that time, and had taught several levels, was let go. It's all whispers too when this happens, and no one knows exactly why.

I don't worry about this myself, I feel pretty secure in my position. Principal knows I'm a good teacher, and knows I care deeply about my students, I think he also wishes I didn't have to be so damn argumentative. He's from the school of "Being a team player is everyone doing it my way without any questions." He can be difficult. We've had a hard time of it, but I believe there's grudging respect there too.

On Tuesday, the teachers all go back and sit through silly beginning of the year meetings, when really we're all itching to get to work in our classrooms. There are lessons to plan and class rosters to create, and rooms to dust and spruce up (mostly with our own money).

The latest I heard was that our supply budget, (which hasn't changed in the last 10 years, mind you), was going to be reduced by 40%. I should have just enough this year for a black ink cartridge for my computer and a couple dozen number two pencils.

Office supplies. My brother gives them to me every year for Christmas because he's a teacher too. It's sad how excited I get over them. But, other than the lack of money, and respect, and support from our federal and state government, and the ridiculous pressures of mandatory testing, I love my job.

Let's see how this year goes.