Saturday, September 24, 2005

The day after Day 19

I was right about H.D. We finally got the records from his old school, and he's supposed to be receiving special ed. services. We have another student, S.S., whom we suspect the same of, but we can't seem to get his old school to release his records. S.S.'s mother says he's not special ed, but there is something definitely different about him.

Classes have finally settled into a rhythm now, the students have their textbooks, my reading students are properly placed, and we just finished reading Flowers for Algernon. we used to spend two or even three weeks reading that story, talking about it in class, and there were several writing assignments I gave students that connected their own lives to the story. No more. The textbook only allocates one week for this unit, and all my own writing assignments are out the window.

I've said before, the standards are basically a good idea; it's the "accountability" factor that messes things up. We have to give the same tests to all students, or we won't know who's teaching what properly, and who's not. Even though I'm very well versed in the 62 state standards, no one cares about my or any other teacher's expertise. We have the text book, which provides common assessment, therefore, that's what we're going to use.

I love my job when I'm with my students and I love my job when I'm planning out lessons. I get to use my brain, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment. It feels like some of that is being taken away each year, until one day I worry I'll wake up, and just be a living tape recorder, playing back the script of pre-packaged lessons.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Day 10

I'm so tired today.

The third week of school, and I have meetings coming out of my ears.

I was there until 7pm tonight. Whoever thinks teachers get out at three and have summers off, so they must have a cushy job need an adjustment in their thinking.

Things are going well, if I can just keep up with all the extras.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Day 6

So, my idea about writing every day this year has already been shot to hell. I'm just so frigging tired after work.

I got a new student in my reading class today. I have a bad gut feeling about H.D. He kinda snuck into the room after the bell rang, sat in the very last row in the corner seat behind someone, and said nothing. Another student had to point out there was a new kid in the class.

I don't always know there's going to be a new kid until one shows up. There's all kinds of changes happening right now, because of schedule changes and so on. H.D. was on vacation last week. He's an eighth grader, but didn't go to our school last year.

I went to him, and introduced myself, stuck out my hand to shake his, and he just looked at it. I said, "How are you?" and tried again. He graced my fingers with a brief limp hand, and was silent. What's your name?" I asked.


"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that, what?"


"I can't hear you so well, could you say it again?


I tried another route.
"Do you have your class schedule with you?" I figured I could get his name off of that.
He shook his head "no."
"Oh, did you transfer from Mr. J.'s room?" He's the other reading teacher, it was possible that he just switched over.
He shook his head "no."
Oh, so is this your first day back to school?"
A small nod of the head.
"Can I see your schedule then? I need to write your name and student number down."

He looked at me then, with pissed-off eyes under bangs that needed to be cut. He shrugged his shoulders as if I was speaking Greek.
"You know, it's blue, it lists all your classes, teachers and room numbers?"

He rooted around in his pocket.

"You must've used it to find this room. How did you know to come here second period?"

Finally the paper was retrieved.

What a little shit. I don't usually say that so quickly, but there was something about this child that really bothered me. Something is raging inside him. And it scares me.

I'm hoping he tests into Mr. J.'s class tomorrow.