sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
We got the master schedule today. Last year I had 6 classes on Friday with both 5th grades coming that day (and the worse one was LAST period).

They gave me 6 classes on Friday AGAIN this year. I think I paid my dues last year, guys!!! Not only that, but I now have TWO days a week where I have six classes in one day D: This is because they took "Guidance" out of the rotation (so the counselor could focus on actually counseling) and we only have 3 specialist classes (music, PE, and art). In my old school we had FIVE specialists and I think MOST schools now offer at least a foreign language special (but not ours for some reason -_-; ). (PLEASE add a foreign language or computer class or something next year guys!!!)

I will see 25 classes a week, which is actually the same number I saw when I saw 550 kids (we only have about 300 as of last year). The difference here is the distribution and the frequency. In my old school I only saw each class ONCE a week. This year, I am seeing all but one of them TWICE (which means they blow through lessons twice as fast). Also, I never had more than 5 classes in one day at my old job. Here, I have the two days of 6 because on two other days I only have 4. (I would honestly rather have 5 classes per day across the board than kill myself with 6 on two days).

The "good" news this year is:

1) They took Pre-K off the schedule, which wasn't a huge deal because they only came for about 20 minutes. But, that's two less classes I have to see.

2) We are VERY HEAVY in the little ones this year. We have 3 Kindergartens, and 3 First grades. We also only have one true 4th and one true 5th and we have one mixed class of 4/5 (which will be a planning nightmare).

3) They switched the schedule so that most of the "older" kids come in the morning and the afternoons are heavy on the little kids. This means that I SHOULD be able to relax some in the afternoons, since babysitting a Kindergarten or 1st Grade class is pretty easy.

4) The new PE teacher got stuck with 3 days of 6 classes (but has a really light Friday). I do not envy her for having 3 days of 6 classes.

I honestly, don't know how to feel about the schedule yet. I think it will really depend on which kids end up in which class. Pretty much, I'm screwed no matter what, because I see everyone twice a week except one class. But there are a few kids from last year that I could not stand and I hope they end up in the ONE CLASS that I only see once a week. (I was unlucky enough to have them twice a week last year, I say I earned this).

But I won't know any of that until tomorrow.

I have a light Monday (which is a waste because we miss so many Mondays anyhow) and a light Thursday. (Though they are light in the MORNINGS, I'd rather have all my classes in the morning and have a light afternoon, but whatever). I foresee me being sick on a couple Wednesdays this year (one of my days of 6 classes). The other day I have 6 classes is Friday, and I will miss about 4 Fridays this year for in-service days or Federal Holidays.

I'm already wondering how to work around 2 problems: the 1/2 multi-age last year which has now been eliminated and the new 4/5 multi-age this year. The problem is making sure I do not repeat any lessons with these groups.

I'm already mentally finding issues with my 2nd grade lesson plans because the stupid multi-age did a couple of them last year (which means last year's multi-age 1st graders did a couple of the lessons I would normally do with 2nd grade!!!)

I also can't do my usual 5th grade tessellation project with the 4/5 group because if I do, the 4th graders will have done the project already and that means I can't use it in 5th grade next year. On the flip side, I can't do my usual 4th grade one-point perspective project with them either because the 5th graders will already have done it :p (and I am not going to try to teach both one-point and two-point at the same time just so the 5th graders have something new to do). So, that's two projects I can't do, and I essentially can't use ANY of the projects I did in 4th grade last year to fill in the time because of the 5th graders in the class (see how the problems with multi-age classes begin to add up?)

I'm good for the first month or so of planning though... but I think I'm going to be scrambling again for ideas this year to fill in the time :\
sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
So, yesterday after school a 5th grader comes to my room and asks for a piece of "poster board" so he can work on a time line for his class project. I kinda eyed him, but agreed to ONE sheet.

A few minutes later, another 5th grader comes in and asks for one too. So, I ask him who is sending them here, and he says his classroom teacher told them to ask me for one. I complained a little about them needing to take responsibility for their own projects, but I gave him one.

This afternoon I was in between classes setting up for my last class when ANOTHER 5th grader comes in asking for the same thing. So I said, "WHO SENT YOU?" and she says the same teacher. I get angry and tell her, "Was this homework?! You tell your teacher that I can't keep giving everyone in 5th grade a piece of poster board! I don't have that many!"

A decided to write her an e-mail because I was about to give a lecture on Louis Wain to my 3rd grade and I was NOT going to have 5th graders coming in to bug me during my lecture. Furthermore, there are 42 kids in 5th grade, I'm NOT going to bail out all of them when they come unprepared to school -- and I told her as much. Knowing that two came after school yesterday, tells me that they had at least last night to go out and GET one, so the one who came today should have known what she needed.

Well, after school another teacher came to me to tell me that she heard that the 5th grade teacher was bad mouthing me in the office for "yelling at her" in an e-mail.

First of all, I say BRING IT. If my boss wants to chew me out for saying, "enough is enough" that is fine. I'm ready to tell him MY SIDE.

Secondly, these kids are about 13 weeks from being middle schoolers. I say, "stop coddling them" if they come unprepared, take points off their grade. If they come without a poster board, go to the work room, tear off a sheet of butcher paper and tell them to write on that and take points off for it not being on the correct paper. It's really that simple.

Third, I'm not a heartless bitch. I understand that some kids can't afford the poster boards or their parents are inattentive. HOWEVER, this is not my project. It is seriously, not my problem. I could have said "no," to the first one and left it at that. If she is worried about the kids having the right materials, she can do what I do: go out and buy some out of your own pocket and then claim it on your taxes. JUST this weekend I bought over $30 worth of watercolor paper for my worthless 5th grade... and I didn't bitch about it.

Fourth, how many bets these kids just don't give a damn? I mean, what makes me mad is, I KNOW this group. They DO NOT CARE. It's one thing to help a kid who honestly forgot or didn't have the money. It's another to bail out a bunch of irresponsible, douchebags. My point is, I don't want them to get into a habit of figuring that when they don't do their work, "'The Art Teacher' will bail me out." It's not happening.

The stuff in the art room is for ART CLASS, it is not the school supply closet. Now, I am NORMALLY VERY generous. In fact, both my cooperating teacher and my old partner used to advise against EVER giving anything to ANYONE in the school because they will begin to have that attitude.

I generally try not to make waves and I try to respond to reasonable requests. The problem with this request: I had NO IDEA how many MORE were going to show up or WHEN. I have given a LOT of stuff to people over the course of the year, but usually they give me a NUMBER. There was no "end" to the number of kids who might have come to bug me for more paper. Another problem is I just don't HAVE that much large paper in my room. It is hard to store and I have not had the chance to order any because I'm STILL trying to fix basic supply problems that I inherited when I took this job and the room had not had a supply order in about 5 years. I really, REALLY can't afford to give 42 irresponsible 5th graders a large sheet of anything.

So, she can be pissed all she wants. If my boss calls me in tomorrow to talk to me, I'll tell him exactly what I put here. Maybe she didn't like the fact that I e-mailed her a curt letter about it. But I did not have the time to go down to her room and tell her in person, and I did NOT want kids barging in when I had class.

Hopefully, my boss knows her well enough to know that she bitches about literally everything and he just let her vent and didn't take it too seriously.
sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
Well, I think the turning 30 blues have set in this week. I was pretty ok with the idea up until it was actually MY TURN :p

My parents are flying down here to be with me for the weekend. We spent the day cleaning MOST of the house, but we still need to vacuum the living room and dining room. We also have to put the dishes back in the buffet table. We had to empty it out two weeks ago when the corner of the ceiling in the dining room fell down due to water damage and a leaking pipe in the bathroom. It dumped water all over my buffet table --; Mercifully, nothing got ruined. But it took the apartment complex 2 weeks to "finish" repairing the ceiling. (They left it with a piece of cardboard screwed into the ceiling for a whole week until I complained). They finally put drywall up but they never came back to texture the ceiling. I can't wait any longer for them to do it as my guests will be here Thursday afternoon (watch, as soon as I put everything back in its place they will come to finish the job 9_9 ) This is not the first time they worked on that corner either... and whatever they did to it last time made it worse.

I think the turning 30 blues is being compounded by the fact that I have a very difficult to deal with 5th grade this year (which I see twice a week). I haven't had a group this bad in a LONG while. My only comfort is that it's very clear that it is not me. Virtually everyone in the school dislikes that class from both 5th grade teachers to the aides and even down to the custodial staff. So, hearing the SAME complaints across the board makes me feel a LITTLE better, knowing that it has nothing to do with me. However, something needs to be done about them NOW before they become worse after Christmas D: I think we should go see the principal en masse and ask him for help. I also have two other younger problem students on my mind about whom I am concerned. I come home feeling like SHIT on Friday afternoons (I have that evil 5th LAST PERIOD on FRIDAY – I got screwed on that schedule) and by the time I start to relax (Sunday night) it's time to go back to work.

I also felt really old yesterday while TRYING to play Monster Hunter online with my brother. We've had connection problems the last two weeks – which I think are connected to his school network. Sometimes we can meet up, sometimes we can't (because for whatever reason he can't join the place I'm in). I enjoy playing with my brother, but I think every ass jackal was online this weekend. Usually the game is enjoyable even when playing with random people. Yesterday, it was like being heckled by my 5th grade for 6 hours. I think I met every douchebag that trolls the MH Tri servers. The ones who were being truly obnoxious were the ones who were over rank 100. One dude took it personally that I accidentally hit him while trying to attack the same giant monster. He was a hammer user, I use the crappy short sword. 1) I HAVE to get close because I have NO RANGE. 2) By rank 115 he should know that getting hit by other people in the fray is NOT personal, it just happens. I get FLUNG across the fucking field by hammer and switch axe users ALL THE TIME and NEVER have I taken it personally. But for whatever reason he did and so in retaliation he kept trying to hit me while we carved the kill so I wouldn't get the full rewards (mercifully, I did get all my carves) but god damn what and ass hole.

I'm thinking I may give up playing for a while... as much as I enjoy the game overall I just don't know enough people IRL to meet up with online to make it a "safe" fun thing to do. Now that I can't even meet with my brother without it being a half hour of connection conflicts, it just... takes the fun out of it. There are a couple of nice random people that I have quested with, but they aren't quite high enough rank to help me with the urgent quest I need to do... and maybe not so surprisingly, a lot of the nice random people I have met seem to have disappeared. I am assuming they too met some HR 100 ass jackals. (Don't get me wrong, I met at least one guy who was over rank 100 who was REALLY NICE and helpful – but they seem to be the exception, not the norm). I'm only rank 50 here guys... I don't have 600 hrs. to dedicate to this game because I have a family and a job, give me a break.

I guess the lack of maturity makes me feel OLD. I've felt old by that definition for a WHILE now.

I just wish for my birthday my body would agree to balance my hormones so I could stop having acne like a teenager. :p I've had acne for 17 years now guys. I think I more than earned my right to have the benefits of a smooth/nice complexion 9_9 Unfortunately, having acne like this is genetic on my mom's side. They all have terrible acne even as adult women (so far any prescription meds/treatments/over the counter stuff I've tried does NOT work). My mom just went through menopause in her 50's. Her face is finally clear. Guess I'll have to wait til 55 to look fabulous -_-;

I'm also worried about my husband. He's still trying to find work and I know he's depressed about it. That doesn't help me feel any better as I spend half the day wondering if he's ok. -_-; A job for him, even a stupid one, would be a perfect birthday gift... honestly.
sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
So, they pushed us to participate in that stupid drawing contest for Law Day last week. The theme was ridiculously hard for K-5 and was something like, "Law in the 2st Century: Enduring Values, Future Challenges." Someone goofed and we didn't hear about the contest til 2 days before the deadline. They begged me to turn in SOMETHING. So I got a few classes on it.

I was told today that two of my students actually WON. I could not believe it, because the stuff was so terrible. There must not have been very many entries ;p The one kid doesn't surprise me TOO much since it's a 1st grade girl who draws/colors like she's in 3rd. The other was a little bit of a surprise... The pictures had almost nothing to do with "laws" I told them to draw people helping other people. So, this should have been great news right?


Now they want me to go to this Law Day Luncheon with the kids and their parents. The Luncheon is this Thursday-- you know during the week of our big important visit? And it's right in the middle of the day, noon.

To complicate things further, the Luncheon isn't at the school, it isn't even on the base. It's going to be at the Columbus Trade Center... which is almost a 20-25min drive from my workplace on busy streets that I don't particularly care for. It's not a HARD drive as in it's not hard to find, it's just... obnoxious.

I am SO not looking forward to this. I mean no pressure eating with parents and kids right? x_x;;;

There was no indication of how LONG this event will be either... so they are getting me a sub for the afternoon-- possibly both classes I had scheduled. What REALLY annoys me is the fact that I JUST planned out the rest of the year this morning-- and now they are screwing up my schedule >:( I also now have to write sub plans, probably tomorrow morning because Wednesday SUCKS.

Whatever happened to giving them a stupid gift certificate or something? Why do they have to hassle me? The kids would probably enjoy a shopping trip more than lunch... especially if they read the boring essays/poems that they made the middle school kids do ;p

I just REALLY did NOT need another thing going on this week. Thursday was SUPPOSED to be the EASY day. Friday we have this dumb school wide field trip and they are probably making us go along for crowd control >:\ So, both of my "easy" days this week are now going to be almost as STRESSFUL as Wed. when I have to be interviewed by the visiting people.

I hate this week. I wish it were over already, I REALLY do.

And I still have 4 more weeks AFTER this week of being alone without Toygar ;_; It kills me that we aren't even halfway through that yet.

It just feels like I'm making no progress here :\
sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
So, I was watching HLN and they had some blurb where this guy was talking with Anderson Cooper about tying teacher pay to student performance. His argument was that if a teacher was really good and could "prove it," "we'd pay them 6-figures." His example involved a math person with a masters thinking about working for Microsoft for $200,000 a year or teaching if a district had the power to offer that kind of money.

Yeah right.

I'd LOVE to see a school district promise that kind of pay and actually deliver. It's SO EASY to make stupid statements like that and have people actually believe you and think it's a good idea. How about we stop and think about how many school districts have said that they are cutting their budgets, cutting their staff or who are bankrupt right now? Do THEY have the cash to shop for the "best" teachers and promise them that kind of pay? If they don't have enough money to buy books or pay for janitors [I'm looking at you Pittsburgh Public Schools], they sure as hell aren't going to hire someone for over $100k a year. It's NOT going to HAPPEN. I don't care HOW good they are. Many school districts can barely afford paying teachers $30-50,000 a year. So, unless this country gets more serious about investing in education, you really can't back up promises of 6-figure salaries even if the teacher is totally awesome. I KNOW I'm a kick ass art teacher but there isn't a public school district in the US that would pay me more than $100,000 to do it 9_9 (even with a Doctorate and 30+ years of experience my salary would currently cap out at about $89,900 and that's with the federal government ;p ).

Now, let's say that some struggling districts decide to change it up and start hiring only the "BEST" teachers. In order to pay them all a wage like that they probably couldn't afford as many. So, you'd probably have to sacrifice the teacher:student ratio and turn it into something ridiculous like 1:90. That means more lecturing, more student group work (so they can sort things out themselves, or NOT), and less one-on-on contact. Let's see how long you retain those great teachers or how long they can keep it up when they are outnumbered because you can't afford as many.

Think of it this way:

one awesome teacher = $150,000 each
three average/above average teachers = $50,000 each [high estimate, as some districts only pay $27,000 a year]

Which option do you think most districts will choose?

I also see this as a way of "punishing" those who are good at what they can do. If I can get three average/above average people for the price of one awesome one, I might be tempted to have more "bodies" from a budget/financial standpoint. Also, imagine how much it would hurt you to disclose that District A paid you $100,000 a year when applying to District B who might only want to pay you $50,000... you'd never get hired again.

The other ugly side of this is how many school districts would try to give a favorable teacher an unfavorable review just so they could have an excuse to decrease their salary? I suppose the idea is if the "test scores" are high then the teacher must be good and I guess that is supposed to be your "proof." Would that "proof" be enough to counter false claims? Or would they come up with some ridiculous counter argument like "Oh well, only 95% of your students are operating in the top two standard deviations you need 97% to get that salary range..." What about teachers who aren't directly tied to test scores (specialists like Art, Music and PE?) How do you judge who is a good art or PE teacher? By how much the students like them? By the quality of the student work? By examining lesson plans for content standards? If test scores are the only measure, then this would just encourage people to teach to the test even more.

So many districts are struggling financially. I just don't see this being a viable option or valid argument unless we put more money in education. This comment that I heard doesn't sound like anything more than some guy dreaming of big salaries. I wish I had seen the rest of the interview (they were only sharing that snippet) because I'd like to hear if there were any financial counter-arguments. Because I just don't see the money. I'd want them to show me the money because that extra cash for high performance must come from SOMEWHERE. I want to know what/who they'd cut in order to pay for this.
sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
Today I was greeted with this nice message from a NEW replacement computer that they JUST put in about a month ago:

Error: 1720-SMART Hard Drive Detects Imminent Failure
Failing Drive: SATA0 (Dark Blue)
Failing Attribute: #5

I wouldn't CARE if it was pretty much any other computer in the classroom (even my main work station). However, this computer is the primary for the class projector and I had a lesson introduction to do during the second period (and there is NO WAY tech support was going to fix it this WEEK let alone by second class).

I TRIED to move a different computer over there only to find that EVERY computer in the class uses a DIFFERENT Video cable-- the broken one is using a DMS-59 to regular VGA monitor conversion cable (which makes having the special video card kind of, I dunno... STUPID) and all the OTHER computers in the class are using DVI-D cables exclusively with no conversion cables. The projector itself is regular standard VGA.

I realize I can get a CONVERTER for these (whatever to VGA) but I won't likely find one when I NEED one (and Worst Buy will charge me $50 for a $10 converter) and if I order one, I'll probably get it after they fix it 9_9

The STUPID thing is I don't even own a computer new enough to USE any of these freaking cables. I only just now learned the names of all these dumb cables because when I pulled them out and I looked at them and I went O_O "WTF IS THAT THING?!?!?!"

Thank you DoDEA for making it so that NOTHING is compatible in this room and I'm effectively screwed until SOMEONE comes along to fix this mess.

In the meantime, I may just bring my old laptop in (VGA monitor out yay!) to run tomorrow's introduction-- because of course the computer would break when I have more than one new lesson coming up 9_9 The only consolation I have is that this did NOT happen on a day when I had Pre-K xx; because the class I had today was ok with crowding around a little computer monitor -- if I asked Pre-K to do that it would have been like World War 3.


sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)

January 2015

4 5678910
111213 14151617


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios