04 September 2008


After three days, I can safely say that I have no real complaints.

I hope that doesn’t change.

Of course, every morning when I get to work I wonder what it’s going to be like to park in a few weeks, and other than my initial quick post, I never really elaborated on my feelings (angry feelings, in case no one picked up on that). To me, the decision just seems so mean-spirited. I really see it as another slap at the veteran teachers, though maybe that's a stretch. I realize that my own experience is limited to the two schools I’ve worked in, but it seems that most of the newer teachers live in the city and use public transit; I am in a school with mostly older teachers who have been in the system a while, and nearly the entire staff drives. When I lived in Queens I usually drove, but I did have to take the bus and subway from time to time. Moving to the suburbs made that nearly impossible.

I just really don’t get why giving us parking passes posed such a problem. The mayor talked about wanting to reduce the carbon footprint, but I think people are going to be spending a lot more time driving around, looking for a space.

What adds to my anger is my trip past Yankee Stadium on the way home, when people are parked all over the medians and sidewalks during home games. I’ve never seen a ticket on a car, and I’ve never seen a traffic agent writing a ticket. In fact, the last time I drove by I saw two agents talking amidst a sea of illegally parked car, not appearing to be in a rush to ticket anyone.

I can’t believe I spent all this time and energy writing about parking.

My bigger, really important concern is about my classes. They are very small. My homeroom has 25 on the roster, though only 21 have shown up. I can’t speak for the number of kids on register in the other two classes I teach, but about 20 have shown up in each class thus far. Because the classes are so small, I've already been able to collect a lot of information on them. I've done a reading assessment on several of them, and I have been able to just watch them while they worked on their baseline pieces, which has provided me with a lot of information. I have a couple kids who scored Level 3 on the ELA in fifth grade, but one of them actually can't write a sentence and the other one can't seem to get more than a couple sentences on his paper, even though he's had lots of time. I have a little girl who rides the school bus (which is unusual for a child who's not in a special education class) and gets resource room services, but she's probably the most attentive and focused child in the class. I have three boys who just tested out of ESL but who write better than most of the kids who are native English speakers. I also have three boys who are three grade levels behind in reading. I am hoping to be able to do reciprocal teaching with them very soon; I have some kids who'd be great teachers and that would free me up to work with those kids who need the help the most. Of course, if I get more kids, that will be more of a challenge.

So I get really optimistic and excited about all the different ideas I have for teaching them, but then I worry that one of those classes will be dissolved and the other two classes will become huge. Then I worry about how I would be able to work with all the kids, especially those kids who really need help. I almost don’t want to spend too much time organizing them into reading groups or planning too far ahead. I’m starting novels in both classes tomorrow; I hope I don’t have to backtrack and start over because I have a bunch of new kids. I’m trying to tell myself that if it happens, I’ll be ok, but I will be pissed. My principal may also have to excess someone if that class has to be dissolved.

So if you believe in the Class Size Fairies, please put in a good word for me.

1 comment:

Schoolgal said...

I hope the fairies come through. Class size does make a difference.

As for your 5th grader who scored a 3 on the ELA, sounds like one of mine, and I was totally, totally shocked. This is a Resource Room kid who did make some progress, but he scored a low 3, which is still a 3. I understand they now are going by the raw scores.