Monday, August 29, 2016

Motivational techniques to use

I've been a bit behind in my blogging because school started last week.  My weekly post deadline had blown past me before I realized I'd missed it.  At least I had a good excuse - my work, if that is a good excuse.

It looks to be a busy year, but I'm pretty pleased to see the students I'll be working with this school year.  I'm plowing through more classic novels because the curriculum's changed a bit, and even with all the reading I did over the summer, it'll be hard to stay ahead of the class. I hate to say it, but I've been going online to read summaries of some of the ones I haven't read yet, in hopes that at least I have a basic idea by the time we get there.  No one likes to lose respect for their teacher so early in the year.  Preparation is key, right?

Speaking of preparation, did I mention that someone signed me up for a 10K?  I'll call this person my soon-to-be-ex-husband, who insists that since I trudged through a race before, I should be able to do it again.  So I'm spending my early, early, EARLY morning hours circling the track at school in the slowest possible jog that I can.  My only hope is not to embarrass myself, but hopefully, embarrass the soon-to-be-ex so that he'll apologize and tell me I can skip the race.  So far it's not working, but he did promise I could get a new phone or a FitBit if I complete the race with him.  I'm a sucker for gadgets, so right now that's what's motivating me.

I better get that in writing from him.  Or pre-order something now.  One needs motivation, in a race or school, and I find that bribery or humiliation tend to be helpful.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Stuck in the middle with you

This is yet another post from my time at Crappy ISD nearly two years ago.  While I'm no longer job-hunting (hallelujah!), it occurred to me that this post might have some valuable information that you lay parents and potential teachers might want to consider. 

While in the midst of applying for any and all other jobs that I see online (“Make money working from home.  $4K in one month.  Apply now!!”  That one looks promising.),  I see that my district is still looking to fill about seven different positions at my school.  If I’m correct, these are positions that have been open since the beginning of the school year.

I wouldn’t say our state has a teaching shortage.  Normally you can’t swing a dead cat and not hit a teacher looking for work (they love cats.)  But if you are looking for teaching work in November, this has to raise some red flags.  For example, why can’t the school fill this position?  Are their standards too high?  Do the interviewers turn people off?  Maybe not enough people are applying, and if so, why is that?

For me, I wonder about the applicants.  Why would an applicant be looking for a job two months after the school year is underway?  Most teachers, if they get laid off, get laid off at the end of the school year.  A teacher would have to be pretty awful, or engaging in criminal acts, for a school to get rid of them midway through the year.  But maybe the applicant quit because he or she realized that he or she is at a horrible school, and sticking it out until the end of the year is too awful even to contemplate.  I wasn’t talking about anyone in particular when I wrote that last sentence.

Yes, I realize there are exceptions to every rule, and every person's situation is unique, but to cancel out what I just wrote, there aren't that many exceptions, nor are they all unique. 

During my second year at TCS, the administration hired three staff members part way through the school year.  One was a math teacher, who quickly distinguished himself by openly pursuing some of the female teachers, despite his obvious handicap of being married.  He even told his students how he wanted to “get with” certain teachers.  One of those teachers he wanted to “get with” clearly had a drug problem or was bipolar.  She also came in midyear, to replace a science teacher who quit.  Ms. Bipolar/drug problem was let go after the administration found out she was offering to buy the students booze.

The other midyear find was a counselor who became one of our administrators.  Said counselor's makeup got heavier and heavier during the school year, while her hair extensions became longer and her skirts shorter.  She was seen “servicing” a social studies teacher in his car in the school parking lot, and then bragged about it to some of the other teachers a few weeks later.  Ms. Counselor also showed up drunk to chaperone the prom. 

Midyear finds – what finds they are!  At your next parent-teacher conference, ask the teacher when he/she started working at the school.  If s/he came in midyear, it’s time to ask for a schedule change. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Some assemblies required, unfortunately

“Teachers, please have students file quietly into the auditorium.”

Great, an assembly.  Students are usually excited to go to an assembly, but teachers are less so. 

First of all, assemblies are boring.  Unless the assembly is happening in an elementary school, I can guarantee it’ll be boring.  The purpose of the assembly is either something related to grades or discipline that needs to be discussed school-wide, or it’s a “special” assembly, where topics like bullying, suicide or fundraising will be showcased.  Either way, the speakers won’t be that engaging or exciting.  They’re just narrating a PowerPoint, or else introducing a short film that won’t make an impression. 

For a teacher, assemblies suck.  You’re basically crowd-control, and the school already has security guards who also don’t want to help out in the assembly.  This is the time where you have to keep telling students to turn around, be quiet, and put that phone away, Bjorn, or else it’s going to be mine.

Some teachers carefully slip out of assemblies and let the other teachers pick up the slack.  I’d do this myself, but with my luck, I’d get caught.  Plus, I figure it’s not fair to dump what we all don’t want to do on someone else.

I fondly remember the time when assemblies were fun, but that was when I was in school.  It was something different to get us out of class.  I could sit by my friends and be obnoxious; at least until the teacher moved me.  I never could figure out why my teachers seemed so short-tempered once we entered the auditorium.  

So during most assemblies, I wander the aisle, trying to look official while simultaneously trying NOT to stare at the clock.  If I’m lucky, I might get to escort a rowdy student to the principal’s office, which means I get a walk, a trip to the water fountain and maybe even a short bathroom break.  The student always wonders why the teacher who is escorting him or her seems so suddenly upbeat. 

“Miss, are you happy that I’m getting in trouble?” said student usually asks.

Maybe I'm not EXACTLY happy, but still...