Well, needless to say, it has been a while. I thought that since I actually have a minute and really shouldn’t be doing anymore work on a Friday evening, I should post something. At the moment, I am anxious to see Anthony, since I literally haven’t seen him since this morning at 7:00 AM (it is 8:43 PM and he should arrive in a few hours from delivering).
So how are we doing? Busy, overworked, but in general, happy. I have to tell you though, I spent the last few minutes looking back at old pictures…high school, middle school, college, and so on, and they really make you think about the present. I love teaching my students, but I sometimes forget what it’s like to be in their positions. I forget how rough middle school is, but after an always entertaining team meeting this morning, I realized, once again, that it is political struggles within the school systems that I dislike…the old bats that need to figure out why they become teachers in the first place… those same individuals who should really consider taking advantage of the early retirement incentive plans the school district is offering because, I have to tell you, being around some of these teachers is depressing. I feel like they all need to take a field trip to the movies to see “The Blind Side,” and that maybe, just maybe, they can begin to feel some compassion for these kids. A few weeks ago, I found myself bursting out into tears because of something I cannot control on my own, but as a community, the school should be dealing with. A foster kid that does not know what it means to belong, in any sense of the word, because he has been shipped from one foster home to the next, and for some reason, teachers think he is suppose to give a rat’s ass about a homework assignment! Here’s a kid that comes into my room just to talk because he needs someone to listen. Not saying I’m perfect, and there are so many things I would change if I could, but these teachers need to look at what’s in front of them.
Anthony and I had our one year anniversary a while ago. Well, in August. Unfortunately, we had a rough summer, financially, even with the two of us working full time, and I couldn’t get him a gift right away. But, about two months ago, I was finally able to buy him something I had been saving for, a little Acer laptop. Granted, I was a bit surprised that he wanted a computer that small, but I was glad to be able to get it for him. He is one of the most generous and giving people I know, and really deserved it.
So work has been busy, as I was saying. Primarily, I service kids through push-in support in the general education classes. Most of my day is spent running from classroom to classroom to meet minutes mandated by student IEPs. It’s my third year at this school, and I thought it was suppose to get easier. Unfortunately, it has been just the opposite. Obviously, the money is not why I got into this position. The kids’ success means much more to me. I just think there are times when inclusion doesn’t work. Even as I modify work for 7th and 8th graders, plus have three classes of my own to teach, there are those kids that constantly fail because they are in a class that is above them, and there’s nothing worse than seeing them give up. So, after ranting and raving with the high school special education teacher who is also seeing these problems, we decided we needed to meet with the CSE chair person who is also the Director of Student Services. After endless conversations with the man, I think we are at least beginning to head in the right direction. He has agreed with us that program changes need to be made. So, it looks like I will finally be able to teach a 12:1:1 English class for kids that really need instruction on decoding and reading skills.
I am still getting through my grad classes. I have a final on Tuesday, and then I am done for the semester. Thank God for that because this was a horrible one. Aside from teaching, staying after with kids until 4 or 4:30 in the evening, and going to this class twice a week, I also had to tutor a student, diagnose a reading problem, and conduct lessons two hours per week. Since the superintendent of the school is an administrator from hell who is concerned about nothing but state funds and “grade inflation,” he did not give me permission to leave when the students do so that I could get to my class at 4. Oh, and by the way, the schedule stated the class would begin at 5, and the tutoring sessions would begin at 4. Since I got permission from the Department head to complete the sessions at my own district, I thought there would be no conflicts, right? WRONG. Because the teacher of this class wants to get out of his responsibilities before 7 PM, he decided that before tutoring began, he would have the class meet at 4. Huh, funny how he just decided this on his own without consulting us about it. Also amusing, since you have to be certified to be in this program, most of us are teachers, and would obviously have job commitments that would conflict with this time. Well, I always have the option of leaving a nasty course evaluation I guess, what good that will do. Anyway, so my superintendent decided I would not be allowed to leave a 3:00 twice per week, despite the fact that I am with kids off the clock at least three times a week because I genuinely want them to succeed. Unfortunately, administration never sees these things. They only see what they want to see…numbers. So, it was quite a conundrum you might say. Here I am, required by New York State to get a Master’s Degree. At the same time, my school district pays me a whopping 47$ per credit hour in tuition reimbursements (At first, I thought it was 74$ dollars per credit hour that would be in the form of a stipend until I saw my first paycheck and realized I has reversed it and…they had added it to my salary, so it was lost in taxes. I pretty much saw none of it.) Oh well, maybe a pack of gum?? So, I have to get the degree anyway, I have to pay for it myself, so I want a degree that is going to matter. Of course, I have to go for the most difficult one. In the end, though, I will be a certified reading specialist, and I will be able to service my students better, and it’s about them, not power mongers in charge. So, the whole semester, I was forced to sneak out the back of the building at 3 (my school principal gave my permission in secret and said he would take the blame if I was caught) to go to the class all the way in East Rochester (from My Wonderful Employer, this is over an hour drive) all to get there 15 minutes late, day after day. It is what it is though, and if the teacher is a dick, then so be it. I have dealt with shit before, I can do it again. Classes usually ended with me driving 30 minutes back to my apartment, all for me to get to say two words to my husband before doing two more hours of prep work for the next school day. One more day!
So I have been going on and on, but I have to tell ya, it feels good to get it out there. No wonder Anthony likes to write so much. I got him a leather journal to write in. He seems to like it. I thought it would stimulate his creativity. I really am impressed with his writing abilities, even if he doesn’t think so.
That’s all for tonight, folks.