allisnow: (etc // lol cats pingpong)
This next month is going to be a busy one at work.

Wednesday the 4th - SST for John B, sub in the afternoon to work on pilot program
Thursday the 5th - Afterschool program (ESA)
Monday the 9th - Staff meeting
Tuesday the 10th - All-day sub for GLAD, district listening session 5-8 (ESA)
Wednesday the 11th - SST for Andy P
Thursday the 12th - All-day sub for ELD pilot
Tuesday the 17th - Afterschool program (ESA)
Wednesday the 18th - Afterschool program (ESA)
Monday the 23rd - K-12 meeting at the DO (ESA), pilot timesheet due
Wednesday the 25th - SST for Bryan M
Thursday the 26th - Afterschool program (ESA)
Friday the 27th - All-day sub for Best Behavior meeting at DO
Monday the 30th - Leadership meeting (ESA)
Tuesday the 31st - Afterschool program (ESA)

Which is all on top of, you know, teaching. (4th grade and 3rd grade Language Arts/ELD in the morning, kindergarten ELD after lunch, then 4th grade math and 1st grade ELD after recess.) Thankfully, stuff marked with 'ESA' means I get paid extra, so yay for that. The hardest part (aside from the really annoying group I have for afterschool) is all the days when I have a sub. Sub = sub plans and never knowing how the kids are going to behave.
allisnow: (usa // woodstock flag)
So here's a (semi) interesting work/politics story for you.

You have to understand that the school I work at as a student population that's maybe 60% Hispanic, 20% Asian, and 10% for both blacks and whites. During the 2008 Presidential race, most of the older black students (say, 7-10 years old) would eagerly voice their support for Obama. There were Obama t-shirts and hats and the whole nine yards. There was also a lot of support for him among the other students, especially the other minorities. (Of course, most of them didn't care either way. These are elementary school kids.)

Of course when you talk about politics and kids, it's not so much about what the kids think as what they're hearing and learning from their parents legal guardians. You can't get into discussions with a 3rd grader on the merits of one political party over another, so I don't try. When my students asked me who I was going to vote for, I told them, in essence, that I didn't think it was my place to influence them towards one side or the other. Sometimes I wonder if this ever got back to my colleagues with the life-sized Obama posters in their classrooms.

The other day I was teaching my 3rd grade reading group - 90% Hispanic - about laws and rules, and how the Constitution sets the rules for what the government can and can't do. One example was that it ensures we have elections so that the same people don't always get to be in charge (no, I didn't go into term limits). The kids have seen a lot of posters around town for the local election next month, but they asked about the Presidential election. I said something to the effect of:

"In November of next year all the citizens in the country will vote to decide if they want Obama to be president for another four years, or if they want someone else."

There was a pause while the kids digested this - after all, during the 2008 election they were all about 5 years old. Then one of my favorites (teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but we totally do) says thoughtfully, as though having come to an important decision, "Hmm... someone else."

Back in 2008, I don't know exactly what the reaction to such a heretical statement would have been, but there would have been one. I held my breath a second to see if this poor little kid was going to get torn a new one... but a couple of the other students nodded in agreement, some looked lost, and a few, I'm pretty sure, couldn't tell you what country's elections we were talking about in the first place*.

Like I said, a 9 year old's opinion about national politics isn't indicative of anything as much as what he's hearing from other sources, and those sources are usually family, unless he's some weirdo CSPAN addict. But in my small sample there has certainly been a big shift in attitudes. It'll be interesting to see what the next year brings.

* True story: In several instances I've had Hispanic kids assure me that either we're in Mexico, or that Mexico is one of the states in the USA, or that they're not American when I know from their files that they were born a couple miles away. Goodbye, sweet America.
allisnow: (etc // crazy kermit)
As a kid, I always enjoyed school shopping. I was a nerd who liked school (no doubt part of the reason I've never really left) and school shopping signaled the start of the year year. Plus I always like the idea of getting organized (although the reality hasn't always worked out). And there's just something about a shiny new backpack, pencil box, binder, etc, that's exciting.

School supply shopping from a teacher's point of view is actually more fun, except for the part where you're spending your own money instead of your parents'. I just got back from hitting Dollar Tree, Target, and Michael's, and unpacking my bags feels a little like Christmas :D

Here's my haul:

Dollar Tree:
- desk organizers (3)
- shower curtains (2) for the windows if I'm allowed, and for bulletin boards if not
- permanent markers
- tab dividers
- shelf liner (just cause)
- Pencil case
- Mini stapler kit
- Wall mounted dry erase board
- Foam sheets (to make clothespins w/students' names)
- index cards (2)
- Black tablecloth for bulletin board
- Mini sewing kit (nice to have on hand)
- Sticky notes
- Tape (2)
- Posterboard (2)

- Puffy balls (4) Kids love em!
- Velcro
- Glue (4) Cheap, and can never have enough
- Colored plastic tape
- 4pk of cork tiles

- Lovely 180 sheet pack of scrapbook paper (only $10!)
- Mini hot glue gun (always wanted one)
allisnow: (movie // fern gully // fucking nuts)
So I'm looking forward to the start of the new school year to an absurd degree. Of course, that might change by the time our first student day (8/17) rolls around, since I have trainings, meetings, and professional development on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th... and I think the 15th and 16th are classroom work days. Which means summer break is almost over. Wow, that went fast. (At least I get paid for 7 of the days above.)

Anyway, because of what my position entails, I probably won't have kids to teach for the first 3-4 weeks. I'll be testing kids to find out which of them needs extra help, especially in Language Arts (reading/writing), and possibly helping set up our new computer lab, and figuring out what the new intervention curriculum is going to look like. We'll have at least one and possibly more combo classes (more than one grade in the same classroom) based on our numbers, and four new teachers (I think). My other duties for the year will depend on if we fill a vacant admin position that's been vacant for the past two and a half years, but I imagine once things get going I'll end up teaching three different grades, possibly four once the kindergarten starts full-day after Thanksgiving break.

And I'm looking forward to that? What the heck is wrong with me?

...Oh yeah. Teacher :D
allisnow: (etc // lol cats pingpong)
We still have a week of school left, but my last day with my 4th grade pull-out group is tomorrow. We're going to finish our writing assessment, clean out our desks, then eat some snacks, watch Matilda, and have a raffle if there's time. Should be relatively painless once we get past the writing, and since I can hold the fun stuff over their heads if they don't finish...

This is my 3rd year in this position and while I do enjoy the, um, variety, I won't be too sad to see most of these kids move on to 5th grade. It was a difficult group... the 15 lowest 4th graders - 12 of them boys - 5 of them some variety of Special Ed - several of them with moderate to severe behavior problems - half with parents who don't speak much or any English - one who speaks little to no English himself, Whenever I feel guilty for having a child-light last week, thinking of the other teachers who still have their kids for 6 more days, I run through that litany in my mind.

Not that it was all bad. I had a fantastic group of 3rd graders for half an hour a day - basically the advanced kids - working on enrichment activities, writing, novel studies, etc. I also had some very sweet kindergarteners and some, ah, spirited 2nd graders :)

My guess is that the rest of the school year, after tomorrow, is going to be spent doing assessments, finishing starting report cards, and doing the technology stuff that I haven't had a chance to get to for months, like installing computers and cataloging who has what tech. Fun times!
allisnow: (etc // kitty omg)
18 school days left.

17 student days left.

11 days left of me actually teaching students.

4 days left of having all my classes.

That probably looks pretty confusing, but the 11 days is the important part.


Dec. 8th, 2010 12:19 pm
allisnow: (movie // potter // not impossible just s)
So I haven't been on much the last couple of days, because my DSL decided to choke. It was slow, and then it just stopped working. I called AT&T yesterday morning and they did their standard diagnostics and came up with nothin'. So, they're sending a tech out today sometime between noon and the Rapture. I mean, 4pm. Right. Anyway, thankfully my brother has today off and he'll be able to babysit the place on the off-chance that the tech actually shows up.

Because, on a weekday between the hours of noon and four, I'm obviously at work. Right? Well, maybe not. Since last week I've had this lingering head cold and it's started to become a full-on respiratory thing. So I took a half-day off and went to the doctor this morning. He gave me a shot to dry up the sinuses and some of that awful Robatussin with codine to break up the congestion. Of course I can only take that at night because it makes me too loopy to drive, plus sometimes it bothers my stomach, so while I was at the store getting the Rx filled I also picked up some OTC Robatussin for daytime use. So far I feel a little better.

Anyhoo, I had already planned on being gone for the 2nd half of the day to go to this meeting on behalf of my principal. Thankfully I was able to get the afternoon sub to come in and take the whole day. So I go to the doc, do my thing this morning, and then drive up to V-town on the assumption that the meeting starts at 12:30. I stopped at Starbucks to get something to drink because I was running ahead of schedule and decided to check my email. When I did, I saw an email regarding the meeting today saying it doesn't start until 1:15. So now I have about 45 minutes to kill instead of 15. Harumph. Then I have to leave a bit early to get back to school to teach a 40-minute after-school class of 1st graders that, in a moment of weakness, I committed to (at least it's only once a week).

In closing: sick, no internet, raining, hormonal, out of the loop, too many irons in the fire, need sleep.

Seriously, is it any surprise that I got sick?
allisnow: (tv // star trek // bitch don't)
I swear it feels like I brought half my classroom home this weekend to work on report cards, and I'm still coming across stuff that I need but forgot. Argh. Thank God it's a half day tomorrow.

ETA: 4 more comments to write. I need a break. I can only produce this kind of BS for so long without needing to recharge.
allisnow: (etc // teacher)
My adventures in house/dogsitting have come to an end. I can't say I'm too bummed, although it was nice to be able to run the AC and not fret about my energy bills. Heheh.

I got a letter today from my school district saying... well, it's legalese. But what I think it's saying is that my position has not been eliminated after all and that I will be in the same position next year. So basically a rescission of my pink slip. I hate to get too excited and then find out that they screwed up or it's not what I think it means, but it's definitely a good sign.
allisnow: (etc // teacher)
So, my year is more or less over. I had my 4th grade students for the last day Friday. We have minimum days Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but 'my' kids will be with their regular teachers, doing end-of-year stuff. Monday we have field day (thankfully it looks like we will have decent enough weather to do the water games... I just need to remember to double-up on my allergy meds) and Wednesday is the promotion ceremony for the 5th graders, who will be moving on to middle school. Among the 5th graders are kids I had last year, and, well, don't tell anyone, but I think I'm more attached to them than the kids I had this year. Or maybe I'm just saying that because I haven't had to teach them.

I'll probably spend the next three school days shlepping... just doing random stuff that needs getting done. Thursday is a teacher workday... basically we have a short end of year meeting and then have time in our classrooms. For those of us who were pink slipped, it's time to pack up, although I hope to get that started right away. There's a retirement party after the 'workday' is over, but I don't think I'm going to go. I'm not particularly close to any of the people retiring, and I'm sure after a day of packing I'll be ready to go home. Then Friday is the last leadership team meeting. We get paid extra for going to those, so I guess I'll make the effort one last time.

Not sure when I'll find out 'for sure' about next year. Last year the site and the district really took a long time to get the ball moving, which is why I didn't get rehired until a month and a half into the school year. This year the site has done what they needed to do... now we just get to find out how far the district has their collective heads up the asses. I'll have to resubmit my paperwork and re-interveiw and everything, but as long as nothing catastrophic happens I should be okay. Just to be on the safe side, of course, I'll filing for unemployment. Can't be too careful.

January 2013

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