After my last post I started thinking about my purpose with this blog. Several years ago during a period of tough contract negotiations between the district and the union I attended a board meeting. During the meeting one of the board members said something to the affect of, “I own my own business and can complete all my work in eight hours a day, why can’t teachers?” I was immediately offended by this comment because it said to me that that board member did not know what performing the job of a teacher requires. I began to wonder how many customers a day he dealt with in his business, and if those customers brought their parents with them; or if he had to alter his sales pitch depending on the language his customers spoke; or if he had to make accommodations for the special needs of his customers beyond parking spaces and ramps. Moreover, did he have to evaluate the transactions of each customer and provide a copy of that evaluation with suggestions for improvement to each customers parent. If a customer was unruly did he have to call the customers house? Of course having thought this I also realize that I have no idea what it takes to run a business. So my intent then is simply to record what this teacher does in the performance of his job.
This second week of school was fairly typical. In a word, busy. In several more words it was controlled chaos. In addition to lesson planning, making copies, teaching my classes, grading papers, and finding things for TA’s to do I had to deal with a field trip dilemma. My program has a field trip coming up for the freshman class that was scheduled for the same day as an away game for the frosh football team and a home volleyball game. Without getting into too many Byzantine details this conflict occurred because the district alloted us four subs for the trip on that day because they had four available and the sports schedule was not finalized before the end of last year. Due to this conflict many students potentially could not go on the required field trip so I spent the week trying to figure out if we could a) provide alternative transportation for the athletes to leave the trip early b) reschedule the field trip. Working on this issue required communicating with the principal, the athletic director and the freshman team coaches who are all busy with their own responsibilities. Looks like it’s going to be option ‘a’ since I learned the procedure parents need to complete in order to drive the students of other parents on school sponsored events. Some parents will simply transport the students to our field trip destination and leave early to return for their game. This solution though is not going to work for 15 students and they will not be able to go. So I had to find classes for these students to go to on the day of the field trip as their schedules are different and paying a sub to cover a class with one kid in it is not cost effective. While this solution is not going to work for all the students, it’s the best we could do.
The field trip conflict was one of the many things occurring in the background of my days at school. I was also grading the Senior’s summer assignments, meeting with some of them about their projects, creating a blog for juniors and seniors to get help with their projects, scheduling observations/evaluation visits to my classroom by one of our AP’s, attending and after school department chair meeting, finding out if I could geta classroom set of textbooks for one of my classes, all of which required a lot of flexibility, walking back and forth across campus. I also atteneded the orintation for adjunct faculty at the local junior college where I will be teaching a class beginning this Tuesday.
At the orientation the interim school president introduced himself, said he’d like to get to know as many faculty and staff as he could while he was at the school so he asked that we all introduce oursevles and say what we were going to teach. There was one person who confused me a bit, I’ll call him Bob.
“My name is Bob and I teach real estate; when it’s offered.”
“Are we offering it this year?” Asks the president.
“No.” Replies Bob, follwoed by a burst of laughter from the the audience
I thought, “What the what?! You’re course is not being offered? Why are you here?” (I should note that this orientation was from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Why would you give up three hours to be at the orientation if you’re not going to be teaching?) Then I remembered the free pizza and brownies.
So, good week. Lots accomplished and nothing spun out of control. On to the next.