Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to school.......



Yup.... I'm Baaaaack........

The first official day for us teacher critters. The kids won't be there till next Monday, but today was our first official in service day. I say official because every single instructor has already been there for days, getting ready. Unpaid time that is par for the course. We are self driven, contract be damned.

We spent all morning in a mass meeting, being talked at. Maybe ten minutes of useful information, mixed in with hours of babble, sprinkled with smidgens of minor insanity. Some highlights:
  • Teachers are now required to park in front of the building and use a swipe card system to get in the building, for security reasons. Of course, the parking lot is already 140% subscribed and there is no parking, and as far as security goes we were told to let adult students in as we pass through, since they have no swipe cards. DOH!
  • New state guidelines require us to improve student test scores every year now, in areas we don't teach. Better, my program has to improve scores on a test we have never taken before..... methods of determination to be discussed later. Also, there is no reward at all for having good test scores. If you improve a lot, it just means you have a smaller target next year. If all your kids score top of pack, next year they need to be betterer somehow. In fact, if they all score 100% on every test, next year they need to score at least 101% on every test. I kid you not.
  • A guest speaker who explained all the differences between kids by economic background. Poor kids do this, middle class do this, and rich kids do that..... and as soon as I figured out the stereotypes she wanted to apply to my kids I shut down and ignored her. It got so bad, instructors were getting up and leaving after an hour.... the bathrooms must have been PACKED.
The good news is.... my program should be ready on time. No, our new furniture will not be in yet, but we scrounged enough old stuff and rebuilt it to function.
We made it six years with government surplus used prison furniture, we can last another ten weeks. (Not a joke.... the chairs came with chains on them.)

Oh.... our text books won't be there either, as admin sat on the requisition for a month before placing the order. No problem... we can deal with that. I snagged three cases of paper and I'll COPY the chapters I need from my own book. That oughta blow up at least one $20,000 copier. I guess they figured we would teach a college level course with no text books, and be just fine. Ayup..... I gotcher text books right here baby! Hot off the copier!

I'm already teaching evening adult classes again, starting yesterday. After two months away from that I wondering how quick it would fall back into place. No more than thirty seconds or so....... and I still love it. Nothing like laying out information in front of quick minds, and watching them snatch it up.

The thing is..... as strange as it might sound.... I can't wait to meet my kids for the year. It's like that every year... the anticipation. No matter what I have heard good or bad, they are MY kids in another week. Everything else is outside the doors. Step over that sill, and they are mine.

Oh.... tomorrow, before I can do any real work, I have to attend a mandatory bullying seminar for three hours. I told them I have perfectly fine bullying skills, but they said I had to attend anyway (g).



2 comments:

Anthony said...

Hmmm....improve scores in areas not taught, improve the scores of tests not taken (i am still wondering how this done...not sure how one improves on something they have never done), if they score perfect next time they have to be better than perfect (almost makes you wish they do bad so they can actually improve the next time), stereotyping the kids (way to set them up to fail), and teaching with no text books.

Glad there are still teachers like you that care....it just sucks that the school system doesn't think like you....typical.

Shrugged says: said...

Well, I didn't exaggerate at all, but it's not as bad as it sounds when taken in totality.

I think there is a part of human nature that likes to complain, and isn't happy unless fulfilled :-)

The culture shock when I moved from industry to education was astounding. Government, education, and religion are the employers of last resort for the incompetent and lazy. On the other hand, the same careers also attract the BEST on a regular basis. It's part of our job to deal with this conflict.

I love what I do... and I'm excited to get my kids in a few days.

The BS that settles down from on high? Well, a fresh new layer of that comes along every year, and most evaporates when reality rears it's ugly head, leaving only the stink behind. I've learned to work with and around, and trust the turning wheel to make most of it go away. We soon learn to tell the difference between what matters and what are Peter Principle droppings.