17 September 2006

Capped Class, My Ass, etc.

My homeroom has 32 kids this year. I was supposed to have 33, but one kid moved. Meanwhile, Mr. Principal made sure we all knew that nearly all the classes were capped at 28-29. Unfortunately, since I have the “top” seventh grade, and Mr. Principal salivates over every new admit who walks in with a 3 or 4, I have more and I suspect the other top classes do too. Even though it is not like me, I plan to throw a tantrum if he tries to put anymore kids in there. Though I may not have to. We're already so crowded, and as it is it's hard to circulate among the groups. At the moment I'm fourteen weeks pregnant, so it's just going to get harder.

I really complain because I think the chances of kids hanging onto their 3s and 4s when they are in an overcrowded room are not so great. Of course, since I don’t have my class’s 2006 scores, I can’t prove that theory. Will I ever see my kids’ 2006 scores?

Despite the crowding, being in the classroom again makes me so happy. Lucky my 32 kids are as good as kids get. Mischievous at worst, which is not bad at all. I am having a ball with them. I need to find a way to have as much fun with my other class, but they’ve been a challenge. I have such a range of abilities in there, and the kids who are on grade level (or were according to their fifth grade scores from ’05) are in there because they were not performing to “top class” standards. There are also some behavior issues- I have already had two parents in because their kids were throwing crayons as I walked into the room at the beginning of the period on Thursday.

We’re an Empowerment school this year, for better or worse. So far, I haven’t noticed anything different. The teachers who’ve always worked hard have continued to work hard, and the teachers who need a fire lit under their butts haven’t changed. One alleged perk of empowerment was supposed to be more money, but Mr. Principal says that it won’t be much. The new coach seems fairly hands-off, which is good. She seems to trust us to do our jobs, which means a lot. Our former LIS is no longer a LIS, and is with us in a “consulting” role, or something like that. Oh, and even though we are no longer "required" to seat the kids in groups, I think I am too used to them to change now.


Mr. X, who was the subject a of a small but now-legendary student uprising in our school, was excessed. But since he wasn’t able to find a position on the open market, he’s subbing in our building. Ironically, he sometimes covers the part of the program he would have had if he’d been teaching music.

I have mixed feelings about what’s happened to Mr. X. Mainly, it bothers me that it just seemed so random overall. There’s no real criteria for it. In the case of Mr. X, I don’t feel so badly, because he was warned on more than one occasion, about not teaching the kids, about some inappropriate things he said to female students. But I also know that there are teachers in that situation who don’t deserve to be there.
Extended day is for the birds. I have kids from my homeroom, and none of them should really be there. There are other kids who need it more. And I feel badly, because by the end of the day I am so tired. I feel like I should be planning more, making it better. Then I hear the little voice that says This is not a teaching period. So I hand out the math practice books, and give them fifteen minutes for homework. We have 50 minutes three times a week so I don’t feel badly about that, and they always seem confused with their science homework especially.

Ironically, my students have told me that I am a better math teacher than their regular math teacher, who begins a lesson but then rambles on about some other topic that has nothing to do with math. And I feel terrible saying this (well, not really) but this math teacher is a native English speaker but I need a translator to converse with her. Half the time, I have no idea what the hell she’s talking about. So I know my kids are unhappy with her.

I also teach math the way I was taught, back in the 80s. A coach would probably tell me I was doing everything wrong. And ups my self-esteem a bit to know that maybe I couldn't really grasp seventh grade math back in 1985, but I know it now.


La Maestra said...

I feel your pain on classroom numbers. I have one at 39 and one at 34 and I've already started to get cranky and short-tempered... At least at the one with 39. 34 I can handle, but really, my room fits 28, tops. Everyone else just sits on chairs squeezed in the back. But as long as my class numbers average out to the cap, I'm apparently kosher.

Not fun.

Chaz said...

Interesting how many of the excessed teachers are returned to their schools as ATRs. i wonder if this is a basis of the next contract givebacks? Just thinking out loud.

As for Mr x. While it might be true that he said inapproprite things to the female students. The question is what is inappropriate? If they like a teacher, that teacher could probably get away in saying anything to the students. on the other hand if the students do not like the teacher. Well use your imagination.