Thursday, October 23, 2008

Parent/Teacher Conference Day and Some Way Too Early In the Morning Professional Daydreaming

After 6.5 hours of continuous parent/teacher conferences yesterday, I get the feeling I know what it must be like to run for public office. For 6.5 hours at least. How those people can do it 24/7, day after day, for months....I can't even begin to tell you. I don't know whether that says more about me, or about the folks running for public office.

Some teachers really don't like parent/teacher conferences, and not because they're angry burn-outs who despise parents. Only a few are like that. Others don't like them because it's such a different vibe from the typical school day. It's like trading in the kids to become a car salesman, or someone working Aisle 7 at the electronic superstore.

As for me, I rather enjoy it as a chance to tell parents (usually) that their kid is quite wonderful. I realize teaching "Gifted" students might have a slighter higher incidence of the "quite wonderful" speech. It's also cool because it's the only day we get to go into work at 11 A.M. and work until 6. I literally drool with the thought of doing that everyday, and after 15 years of teaching, the once-a-year 11 A.M. start is like professional Christmas or something.

And now professional Christmas is over, and it's 6:15 A.M., and I'm shoveling coffee into the bloodstream as quickly as my esophagus will allow. At 7:45 there's an IEP meeting, a day full of ranting email teacher reaction to all the "Tier II Intervention" BS noted in my last post, a ton of student research paper presentations, a 30 minute duty-free lunch spent trying to get ready for a Election Debate Seminar next week, etc. etc. etc.

No complaints, but going through the list above kinda makes me misty-eyed about the 6.5 hours of parent/teacher conferences yesterday. Maybe I should run for some public office where the entire campaign lasts 6.5 hours. Maybe I should get one of those red shirts and work Aisle 7 at Circuit City, especially if I can get the 11-6 shift.

No, I think I'll stay where I'm at, but with the same caveat currently in use by each and every public school teacher imprisoned in NCLB-Land '08: If the testing, the "interventions", the "Baldrige Continuous Improvement" and other teaching-devoid, consultancy contract-rich bullshit goes on much longer (say two more years), I am out of here. Eleven A.M. starting time or not. Quite wonderful kid speeches or not.

Hey...School Board. Hmmm....any chance we could get that position paid from here on out.? Say something in the $60-$70K range? Those school board meetings never start before, like, 5 in the afternoon, right? And all I have to do is talk about the same number of folks that I saw yesterday in parent/teacher conferences to vote for me, right? Hmmm...sitting next to Robert Lucero and Mary Lee Martin....there are pros and cons here. But get that $60-$70K thing worked out by 2011 and get back to me.

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