To say things at work are crazy would be far beyond an understatement. While the end of the year is always a bit stressful, more so than the beginning of the year, for some reason there is always one week in May that is psycho crazy!
First – This week was the 4th Annual Art Festival. Our art teacher, Mrs. C, works tirelessly all year round to raise money, plan and execute this week. She invites all sorts of artists, musicians, story tellers, and bands to come to our school and spend time talking about, demonstrating, and performing for our students. It is an awesome activity for the kids…if they would appreciate it. Unfortunately, the type of students I have…middle schoolers…are disrespectful, rude, obnoxious and downright nasty. And really this has nothing to do with race, gender or culture. It is all about the age! Middle schoolers are jerks. And truly as much as I love the art fest, I think it would serve better to do it for an elementary school. Little kids might not be able to sit still, but from what I’ve seen they show a lot more respect at assemblies than older kids.
So during this week, the teachers sign their classes up to go see and do different activities. The last two years it has been very easy to make sure that each class got to go to at least one thing because we were on teams and no one class or group of students went to the same thing over and over. My team last year had worked out a schedule to a perfect harmonious flow. This year because administration did away with the team concept, I had many classes I brought to events that whined they’d already been to that particular event three times already. And therefore, they took it upon themselves to act like the little jerks they are. And amazingly, it was my advance kids who were the worst! One of my worst classes, so grateful to not have to work, behaved so well I gave them extra credit!
So that was going one every day last week.
Second – Scott’s car is on its last wheel. So Scott and I have been talking about trying to figure out a way to acquire a new car. Carjacking and Grand Theft Auto aside, we don’t have much in way ability. We just got our tax refund which I was planning on using for my trip to New York, but we could use it for a down payment. Scott thinks the car will last for the summer, but the fact that the underneath is trying to escape containment and he has to disconnect the battery when he parks, makes it hard to justify keeping this old red death trap.
Ok…so that isn’t really crazy as much as frustrating.
Third – Scott has long claimed there is some sort of mystical energy transfer between the two of us. When he is exhausted, I am wide awake; the few times that I am tired and in bed before 9 or 10, he is wide awake and unable to sleep. This week, that has happened two times. So twice this week, I have been in bed before 9 – 10 (when I normally am writing) and thus have not done much writing this week. So my schedule has been thrown for a serious loop this week. Weird!!
Fourth – Administration!! Once again, our principal has seen fit to redo the class assignments and arrangements for next year. Now I am not going to complain about this because I got back on the team I was on originally and that’s where I wanted to be. I will however, once again state that the man is trying to put his mark on the school and in my opinion the reason he split us up in the first place was because we are a really strong team and he is trying to conquer and divide. So during the week, he has been coming to us, talking about placement and blah blah blah while subtly still insinuating that it was the teacher’s fault FCAT scores weren’t as good as they should have been.
Meanwhile, in the 8th grade hall we’ve been holding these contests for the students. Every 15 days, whichever students have remained referral free get a reward. The first one was a field-day type event that was poorly planned and executed because the admin didn’t really communicate with us what she wanted u s to do. Ok. It happens. The kids had fun anyway. The second one was this week. During the art fest when the kids were already crazy. Once again, poorly planned. We weren’t told what was going on until Wednesday. We didn’t get to give any input. Ok. She’s the admin. Tell us what you need us to do. Nothing.
The plan was to watch a movie in the cafeteria. Now, it was a Bolt, which is Disney, but rated PG so the kids needed a permission slip. Those didn’t get handed out until Thursday last period, in the breezeway by the admin. So once again the teachers didn’t know who was allowed to go. Well, on Friday morning, kids who hadn’t gotten a permission slip asked to call home for verbal permission. I spent all morning on the phone with parents getting permission. When I went to lunch, I was told that I should have turned in that list by noon. And that she had clearly given me those instructions. Uh, nope, but ok, I’ve got a list even though it is one, and I turned it in.
Then, later on coming out of the hall for planning, I bore the brunt of the admin’s anger as she scolded that “all [she] wants is the teachers to cooperate. Is that really too much to ask? [She] clearly gave instructions to all teachers to turn in verbal permission by noon and now [she] had all these kids who claimed that had verbal permission running around trying to get into the movie” and on and on. Now, I am a team player. They ask me to do something, I do it, I might complain later about it, but I do it, no questions asked. So for the admin to claim that I refused to do what she asked in and of itself aggravating and insulting. But for the admin to then claim that I was giving instructions that I was not is ridiculous. In fact, another teacher had handed permission slips (verbal and non) directly to the admin who later sent in a student for the information that was already in hand!!
So that was super fun!!
Fifth - Never in all my great many years of teaching (four, for those who don't know) has a student ever cursed at me or called me a name to my face. I'm sure I get called all manner of things outside of class. This week, I had a group of students not return with me to class after an art fest activity. When they showed up about 5-8 minutes after everyone else, I stood at the door to write their names down to mark as tardy/skipping. One of them, a nice, quiet, sweet straight A student tried to explain why she was late. I calmly said that I didn't want an excuse, and to please go in and sit down. As she walk in she very loudly call me a "bitch" and sat down. I was speechless. Agast. Stunned. I said "What did you just say?" The class was silent all staring at me and back at her. She just glared at me over her shoulder. "Out," I said pointing at the door. I walked her across the hall to another teacher and said I did not want her back. I wrote her up and sent it up to the office. Later on I found out her punishment: one day suspension and her mom told her that she would not be going on the end of the year trip. Ouch! I felt bad about that, but I hope the message was driven home. It is one thing to grumble under your breath and think things, but quiet another to let stuff out without thinking about consequences.
The sixth and last crazy, deserves its own post. Tune in for part two in about 30 seconds.