Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teacher Demands That Everyone Get Off His Scheduling Lawn

High Whine Warning

Warning: Your humble blogger seems to have contracted a very slight, non-flu head cold that has no relation to swine flu whatsoever. Although in no way related to the swine flu, really, the author's "whine flu, which isn't a flu at all" will have an impact on the level of grumpiness in today's post. As grumpiness levels are almost always at flood stage here at Burque Babble, readers are encouraged to seek shelter by clicking elsewhere and remaining tuned to your emotional weather report radios for additional updates.

Damn we have too many meetings and special schedules!

This morning I have a 7:30 meeting to be informed on ways the District has, once again, changed how "gifted" kids are "reevaluated". My high snot/brain cell ratio at present prevents me from fully describing how imbecilic this all is. Put disjointedly, let's just say that the terms "gifted" and "reevaluation" are oxymoronic, and that the District changes how Special Education meetings are run every year (and sometimes more than once per year) in the vain attempt to satisfy all the legal challenges it has on the subject AND to cover up for the fact that the terms "gifted" and "meaningful IEP meeting" are also oxymoronic.

So before I add significantly to the veritable mountain of used tissues looming over my laptop this morning, let me quickly go through my schedule:
  • Last Friday we had an Advisory schedule to prepare for the upcoming Student-led Parent/Teacher Conferences. I am on record as one of the very few teachers at my school who likes the idea of having students lead these conferences. At least that is my sense from the amount of colleague eye-rolling I see whenever the subject comes up. Maybe it's because the idea is from the District and the dominant mindset is "if it comes from the District it must be stupid". Anyway, we had a special schedule because very few teachers trust the students enough to actually run a conference, or even put stuff in their "advisory folders" to present at the conference.
  • Oh, while I'm thinking of it, a digression (the head cold is demanding digressions this morning). We've had about four advisory meetings with special advisory schedules at this point over the past month. For the first two or three class meetings we waited for SPECIAL ADVISORY FOLDERS from the administration. These SPECIAL ADVISORY FOLDERS were designed to keep student work in to present at the conference. Many announcements and emails were generated over these SPECIAL ADVISORY FOLDERS. In the mean time, as the SPECIAL ADVISORY FOLDERS were inexplicably delayed, my co-teacher and I muddled along with simple manila folders which we gave to students. Then, suddenly one morning, one of the 160 student aides we have at our school walked into our room carrying a stack of manila folders wrapped with a rubber band. These were the SPECIAL ADVISORY FOLDERS! These SPECIAL ADVISORY FOLDERS had nothing on them, no bar codes of Student ID numbers, or labels of any kind. They were simply manila folders, straight out of a box from Office Depot.
  • Where was I, oh yeah, so last Friday we had one of those Advisory Schedules. Then yesterday, Monday, we were also on Advisory Schedule, this time to go over a pamphlet on Sexual Harassment. With 30 middle school students. As we've already had plenty of Advisory Meetings, we really had nothing to cover...except for this pamphlet. With middle school students. On sexual harassment. Needless to say, this was not my favorite 30 minutes of the school year to this point.
  • Today we have this stupid 7:30 meeting for gifted teachers to be told what the District wants us to do. Until they change their mind. Again.
  • Tomorrow, we have our annual Halloween Costume Contest, and that requires a special schedule. Party pooper that I am, I was kinda hoping Halloween would just kinda go away this year at middle school. I mean the actual day is on a Saturday, and we have Student-led Parent/Teacher Conferences both this Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is three days removed from Halloween. That's 72 hours or so, even more if you consider that Halloween is an evening holiday. But NOOOOOOOOOOO...we have to have a Halloween Costume Contest on October the 28th. Which means damn little education will be going on Wednesday, unless one considers the higher level critical thinking necessary for students to bring costume-related non-weapons that look as close to weapons as possible without them being incontrovertibly considered weapons to school...as education.
  • Then Thursday and Friday we have the oft-mentioned Student-led Parent/Teacher Conferences. Which I, as also mentioned above, support and think is a keen idea, in part because they were scheduled right before Halloween, which would seemingly make school a Halloween-free zone this year.
Oh well. The head cold seems to make your humble blogger not only digressive but redundant. Time to move the mountain of used tissues to the Mohammed of the trash can, dip myself from head-to-toe in hand sanitizer and drip my way into the classroom.


Anonymous said...

Coffee flying out the nose to hit the screen again! Too, too, funny and TRUE! Especialy the Sped part. Well if I taught gifted I wouldn't mind these student led parent conferences either. But I'm at the other end of the spectrum. Think about all the wasted time, schedules and lost manilla files. Oh fun, fun, fun!

Anonymous said...

The student-led conferences have great potential, but they'll take away four full days of instruction. It's just too much time away from real teaching for a potentially small benefit.

Every year I cut content for all the extra stuff--and I'd like to think that my content is better than the mandates from City Center.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. A middle-school Halloween. So glad I don't have to put up with those anymore. A truly horrific event.