30 January 2007

Back, and Unfocused

I can't believe how badly I've neglected this blog, and it hasn't been entirely for a lack of things to write about. For whatever reason, I just haven't been able to get around to doing much with the things that have been popping in and out of my head.

Recent weeks have found me with a bit of a second wind, as far as teaching is concerned, but I'll be going on maternity leave in a few weeks, and I won't be back until late May. A lot of people seemed surprised that I was coming back at all, but I don't have enough days to stay out longer. And right now, I am worried about not seeing my kids for so long, that they might prefer my replacement to me (silly, I know), that I'll get screwed when it's time to do the assignments for next year. Moving up with my classes to 8th grade is very important to me, since I've worked with most of these kids for almost two full school years now. Mr. Principal told me that there are at least three other people in addition to me who also want the two 8th grade positions. So I know that if I'm back I can do what's necessary to secure my spot, since I am the most senior. Though I also wonder how much I'll care once the baby is here. But ultimately, since I have to work, I want to be happy at work, and seeing this group of kids through middle school will make me happy.

So occasionally I get ambitious and energetic, and last week I carried out an Extreme Classroom Makeover on the other room I teach in. The homeroom teacher for my other group also has to maintain an art room, and is barely in the homeroom. As a result, the room is often a mess and the kids, while nice enough, have serious neatness and organizational issues. Since I spend three periods a day with them, I really wanted the room to be in better shape. The kids were pretty helpful- we replaced the bulletin board paper, which had gotten pretty ratty, and reorganized the library. There were years of junk in there from previous teachers, and a group of boys must have made 5 trips to the dumpster. It looks so much better, and I feel like I've even seen a difference in the kids' behavior.

I am really, really glad that the ELA is over. I was able to quickly look at my kids' answers to the constructed response questions, and most of them used the strategies I showed them for answering those type of questions. Of course, it would be nice to get the results before October, but I have zero faith in the state or whoever it is who puts out the results.

For the record, I still think KleinBerg sucks. I can't believe that we're going back to the district system, but since I am in an Empowerment School I don't know how that will affect us. While I was never impressed with the way my district ran things, I felt that my district was treated like the loser relative by the (only slightly) better district we were paired with, and they were the ones whose offices and bigwigs were used.

Speaking of being in an Empowerment School, it's been a non-experience as far as I'm concerned. I'd really anticipated having people up our butts like we'd had when we were part of the Region, just different people. But I never see anyone, and now that I've put this out there I bet there will be someone in my room first period tomorrow, looking at my bulletin boards, critiquing every little thing.

Now that the ELA is over, we're going to be concentrating on math during Extended Day Suckage. The kids were supposed to be reassigned, and I was glad because most of my extended day kids have 3s in math (and one had a 4). But they're not changing the groups. So I have to give tutorials to kids who are mostly on level in math, which is my worst and least favorite subject. The math coach gave me books last week, and when I asked for a teacher's guide, he told me that there wasn't one. In my own subject, I never cared about teacher guides because I always found it more useful to do the questions myself, and get an angle on what the kids were dealing with. But I know I will get to the point where I really will have trouble. I was also told that a math teacher would be placed with me, but since a third of the teaching staff at my school seems to not work with kids at all during extended day (and I'd love to know how they're able to get away with this) I am not counting on this.

I suppose I could ramble some more, but I think I am going to wait until I have something of substance to say. And I want to say thanks to Schoolgal for your concern- I appreciate it.


Schoolgal said...

Glad to have you back!
Awaiting the Babygram! :)

NYC Educator said...

Congratulations. I gotta say that's the best news I've heard all day.

The eighth graders are going to have to wait because your most important student will soon be your first priority. If your principal doesn't understand that, he won't understand anything else either.

Schoolgal said...

Any new arrivals?????

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