Saturday, November 04, 2006

Apparently I worried Matthew...

... though not enough to call. Thanks Matt, I bet football was on.

I realize it has been a ridiculously long time since I have posted anything. Let me tell you, it has been a ridiculously busy time here in the teaching world. Oh yes folks, I did indeed manage to get busier. I do realize it is kind of ominous to leave my last post for three weeks the post that talks about people quiting. Not to worry, I'm not quiting. I'm not even miserable. Just tired.

The rundown...

Jamie came and I was a horrible host/friend, but it doesn't matter because she's awesome and she loves me despite all of my major glaring faults. We had a totally awesome time playing hooky from school, chaperoning a trip to the U of H football game and grading papers! Oh yeah, and I got my tattoo. I don't know why my kids think I'm so lame. I have a nose ring AND a tattoo. If that doesn't make me cooler than Ms. Reece and at least Mr. Ortiz, I don't know what does.

After Jamie left the thing I like to call my life began again. Things got a little tense there for a while when my immune system decided to roll over and play dead. I think I may have finally revived it (just a "sex phone" voice as my roommates call it remains) with two weeks worth of nyquill and lots of OJ. Not that I don't already like sleeping, but when I'm sick I kind of like to multiply it. Lets just say the lack of blogging might have had something to do with falling asleep at 8:30 at night.

Things are going semi-okay sans-Mallory. There is a permanent sub in her place named Ms. Boozer. While she has an unfortunate name, she's pretty darn fierce and she's been keeping the kids in line. We can't hire her permanently because she's still getting her degree, but hopefully they'll find someone soon. She does a good job, but she does a good job as a sub. Subs don't lesson plan, they don't do grades, they don't stay after for tutorials. Mallory's kids were already behind and now they're even more behind. The instability seems to be really unsettling for some of them. A couple have come to me asking to be in my class and others have asked when their new teacher is going to leave. I'm worried about their test scores, but more importantly, I'm worried about them.

We had another teacher on the seventh grade hallway leave as well. I kind of use leave loosely, as word is that Dr. Plog was in fact forced to resign because he didn't actually do anything in his classes. Mr. Ramirez took over three classes who had essentially had no discipline for 10 weeks — never a good thing. On his second day (a particularly bad day for all of our kids) he walked out of his class crying and refused to go back in. While this is pretty darn mortifying from any stand point, I feel particularly bad for him since I know exactly where he's coming from. It can be so overwhelming to sit in a room and just not to know what to do and feel the panic rising and see no practical solutions on the horizon. I think he'll make it, but it has been a rough couple of weeks for the seventh grade hallway. I'm telling you, if you can survive seventh grade at McReynolds you can pretty much survive anything.

Academically, we're trucking ahead. My kids are finally reading a book. It's called Taking Sides and it's about a kid who moves from the inner-city to the suburbs and then has to play his old team in basketball. It's a pretty good read and I'm glad to finally have a consistent story line to discuss. Hopefully we can keep the progress rolling. They took their second benchmark test this past week. I'm not overly hopeful about the results. Thanks to the bureaucracy of HISD there are like three different things that tell us what to be teaching the kids and none of them are aligned. So I've been teaching off of one not knowing if the test would be based off another. Guess what, it was. Joy. When I looked at the questions I knew the scores would be low because it's information we haven't covered yet. I feel like I let my kids down and I hate how it reflects on my teaching, but I just don't know what to do. I feel like they keep throwing me new information and none of it matches any of the other information.

I've also gotten two new students (four total for the month of October in my fourth hour class). Their names are Jimmy and Johnny. Fun. Johnny is a pretty good kid, but has some anger issues with men. Thankfully I'm not one of those. Jimmy on the other hand is not such a manageable joy.

Welcome to Boot camp Boy Part II. When last we left our story, dear Brian had amassed a whopping 18 referrals in a month and half, gotten into a fight and been sent to CEP. Order was once again restored to the kingdom known as third hour. Now we introduce Jimmy, quite possibly a distant relative of Brian's. Jimmy was arrested in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL for selling COCAINE. Um, yeah, go back and read those capitalized letters again. He apparently came from a neighboring district because CPS took him from his mom. On his first day in my classroom he defied me. I called his grandma and he got a school detention. When our AP asked him why he was in school (note: he was looking for the answer of learning) he said to stay out of jail. Well, that's one reason. Jimmy likes to call out at inappropriate times and is never on time or in uniform. He does it all with a very annoying smirk. I'm working very hard on not hating this boy. His second week in my class he refused to do his work. For two days straight. This time when I called his grandma she requested a conference. When she came in, she got information from me, the counselor and notes from all his other teachers. All of them said the same thing. She said he'd change. For three days he did. This week he was back up to his usual. On Thursday when I was gone for a field trip some of the kids who didn't go were put into Ms. Wallace's class. He walked out of her class without permission to use the bathroom (write up number 4). Yesterday he fained a headache so I sent him to the nurse. He signed in 20 minutes later than the pass said and only stayed 10 minutes... funny thing is he never came back to class. Write up number 5. Three weeks and 5 write-ups, this one is going to be fun.

I think that's about all I've got in the educational world for now. Two weeks until Thanksgiving, a fact that is truly blowing my mind. I have been a full-time adult for nearly three months. It's just truly ridiculous. I'm no closer to having an adult life (I think you actually have to spend less than 12 hours a day at your school to be considered a fully functioning adult), but I'm gaining ground every day in my classroom. After some conversations with some very frustrated colleagues, I have also realized that I"m fulfilled. This is hard, but I'm happy to be here every day. I'm getting something out of my work and I've got the energy to keep going. For now, that, and a little fall weather, is all I need.

By the way Matt, next time you think I've died try 812-219-5627.

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