Monday, February 25, 2008

Just Learn To Balance A Ball On Your Nose, And We'll Call It A Day

Today was our first day back together after our winter break. And while I absolutely contemplated poking myself in the eye when my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I was happy to see my friends today. They are just so damn cute.

Now if I'm honest with you, I'll admit that I carried home all kinds of projects - my planner, upcoming units, chapter books, math manuals...you name it, I gave myself some scoliosis carrying it home last Friday. And then I promptly carried my load up to my office where it remained untouched for the entire vacation.

Are you judging me yet?

I rationalized it by telling myself that it was more important for me to catch up on my own studies and to spend my time rejuvenating.

I am now rejuvenated. Check.

Here is my other reason/rationalize/stop-judging-me:

This week is Assembly Week. (insert ominous music here)

Yes, my friends and I must jump through flaming hoops in front of the entire school this Friday. THIS FRIDAY!!!! That is just five short days to teach, rehearse and beat a program into their little heads. And despite all of our pleading and many well argued emails, the administration won't change the date. They just can't wait another week to see my little friends dance.

Those of you who work in schools may already know that Assemblies are NOT about actual learning. We are in NO WAY showing off our newly acquired knowledge. We are NOT aiming to teach anything or give our students a platform to shine. Oh no. That would make way too much sense.

Assemblies are really about man-handling your class to sing and dance like trained seals by any means possible - even means that you would NEVER consider bringing into your classroom. That's right. I yell my face off during Assembly Week. And while it never strays into screaming (because I just can't do that), it does meander into the slightly scary realm.

Again, I'm just being honest.

So keep your fingers crossed and maybe even send me a whistle (I could use it to deafen them into submission). I am about to spend a week abandoning my role as "teacher" and assuming the role of Nazi Assembly Master.

I can feel the rejuvenation slowly slipping away.

I miss teaching.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Don't Mess With the Best, Cuz the Best Don't Mess

So, by a show of hands, how many other teachers out there worry sometimes that they are working with some real idiots?? Anyone? Or am I all alone on this one?? Seriously, I find it scary sometimes how some of the most basic things I teach (telling time and using a calendar to be specific) are so darn challenging for so many adults. (sigh) Perhaps they need to join my morning meeting and routinely get their minds ready for the day because whatever they're morning routine is currently, it just ain't workin'.

Let me explain. Tomorrow is... (drumroll) Picture Day! Tah-dah! You remember picture day, don't you? You wait in an endless line in your school's gym/auditorium/cafeteria just waiting to get to the table so that you can claim your sketchy little black plastic comb. And then you sit on the stool with your feet placed awkwardly out in front of you while some strange adult adjusts your head to the most ridiculous, uncomfortable and unnatural angle humanly possible...is it coming back yet? Well, I get to repeat that joy each and every year with my class. Yes, I too often wonder how this is my job as I stand in that line.

This year, we received the schedule for picture day last Thursday. And, despite lunch having been at the same time for at least the last six years, our pictures were scheduled to be taken during lunch.

Of course they were.

So I write a lovely note back, biting my tongue and holding back my vicious pen, informing the idiot, I mean, my colleague, that unfortunately we were scheduled to have our pictures taken during our lunch period and explain why that will not work for us. I lovingly place the note in said person's mailbox and go about my business.

Fast forward to today. One day before pictures. Three business days after I have placed the note in the idiot's box.

No new schedule.

I wait until mid-day and check again.

Still no schedule.

I guess I can understand the delay as this individual's other responsibilities include....um....well...now that I think about it, I'm not sure what else this person does. Despite seeing this person on a regular basis, I've never actually witnessed them doing any real work. Unless you count the numerous memos that are sent home riddled with type-os. If you count those, then yes, it is possible that this idiot is overworked.

I decide to call this person (who has an office while, by the way, I am not even allowed to have a DESK much less an entire office because my space is supposed to be all about the children which makes me feel oh so valued). In my sweetest voice possible I ask:

"Have you had a moment to work out the new schedule for tomorrow?"

She replies with a surly, "You'll get it by the end of the day."

In my dulcet tones, I reply, "Ah, thank you. But I'm trying to get ready for tomorrow right now...could you please just let me know when my class will be visiting the photographer so I can write it into my plans?"

She snarls, "12:00".

Ever so delicately I say, "But that is during our gym period. I'm fairly certain that our schedule is posted in plain view in the office downstairs too...I am not actually with the class then."

CLICK.

(insert sound of screeching brakes here)

Whoah.

Did she just hang up on me??

As the rage builds inside of me, I swallow it, pushing it down to that place where all teachers store their frustrations so that they can smile and be amazing educators despite the sometimes insurmountable idiocy and incapability that surrounds them. And as I push that rage deeper, I find comfort in my new plan to take each memo she sends out to be distributed to parents and picture myself joyously correcting every single one of her absolutely embarrassing grammatical errors with bright red pen. And I smile, as I imagine placing the edited copy anonymously in my principal's mailbox so that he may also bask in the glory of others inadequacies.

Why not share the wealth??

Who's Peeking?