Wednesday, June 14, 2006

End of the School Year (2005-2006) III

There is a bruise on my right hand. It covers my knuckles. There is also a hole in the wall of the building I work in right now. Are the two related? You decide.
The year came to a close at 2:00 PM today, but the frustration continues. Honestly this week has been complete and utter hell. Let's move beyond my personal life issues and go straight to the work ones.
I was nice to my students. They had their real final during The Odyssey. Most of them blew it off and paid for it. The final for my class was grammar. Only grammar (Yes, it is ironic that my grammar, at times, is quite atrocious...moving on now). 40 points. That was it.
The scores...not so good. Some kids failed. A few got an "A" from me. Most, however, cruised into the "D" and "C" range. Here's the kicker. They were happy with it. I would have kicked my own ass.
So, after most of the students had destroyed their grades on the project, I offered some easy assignments to help boost their grades. Most of the students blew these off as well. That's why I hate this time of year. I hate having to grab a student and show them, "Well, you got the"D" here, because you blew off these easy 10 point assignments."
Of course I got the, "Can I make them up?" from the students, but I stood firm.
"No. You had the opportunity to do it, and you chose not to."
Look, I don't think grades are the end all, be all of civilization. If the kids were concentrating on the grade for the class, they missed out on almost everything I was saying. I don't care about the final grade. I care that they show me they understand how to use what I've been teaching.
It's why now, as I sit here in my home, I feel as though I failed the kids who did not pass.

I'm torn.
On the one hand, I should have concentrated more on the kids who had problems.
On the other, I have to realize that they have to meet me halfway.

On the one hand, I probably could have cared more.
On the other, how can I care more than them?

I could go on and on.
I watched the kids take their finals, and I realized I could tell, without having to grade, which kids got it and which didn't. I was right as I graded.
My grades, by the way, are finished. Took me one hour this afternoon to get them all in to Campus (online grading). That's about the only positive thing I can say about it.
I freely admit that I am the new guy on the block at my school. So why is it that my colleagues use me as a psychologist?
I had one talking to me about her significant other: "What do you think he's feeling?"
My response: "Well, have you tried asking him?"
Another was talking to me about being single.
Another was talking to me about how to deal with a child (yeah, I don't have teenage kids, so...I don't know).
I could go on and on. Apparently I'm really only good for help or for procurement. (Hey Leab, I need this, so can you get it for me?)
One of my colleagues is fond of saying, "my anger from teaching comes, more often than not, from my colleagues, not the kids." I can relate.
Everyday the entire last two months, someone on the staff has said to me, "Wow, how can you deal with teaching Freshman all day? I'd go nuts!"
I look at it like a cut on your hand. You ever slice your hand while cutting vegetables or bread or some sort of food? If you cut your hand and just say, "Oops, I cut my hand," and then clean it up, it's not so bad.
If, however, you cut your hand and someone shouts, "OH MY GOD!!!! YOU CUT YOUR HAND!!!!" followed by someone else doing it, then you might feel a little panic.
I do my job, and I don't usually feel tired, but everytime some says to me, "Oh God, how do you stand at the end of the day?" I usually feel one of two things:
1. Exhausted. My body almost screams, "Hey! I'm tired!"
2. Angry. I don't need to be told over and over again that my situation is rough. I know. You don't grab the guy in the wheelchair and say, "Don't you wish you could walk?" That's just mean.
Don't poke the bear, folks. Don't poke the bear.
End of the School Year...and Beyond:
I had everything wrapped up today. The woman who I am to turn my keys and such into left early today. She promised she would be around, but, after I worked extremely hard to get everything done in under an hour, I went down to the office only to discover she had left an hour early. Why tell me, "I'll be here late, only to leave early."
And no, there was no emergency. She just left.
My anger, however, is not at her. She's great. No, the problem is in my setup next year.
I don't have my own room. I have a cart. That's right, Teacher on Wheels. Moving on.
I have a desk in a shared office. Well, my desk is staying put, but now two major groups (about 8 people) are moving into the room with me. The room isn't huge.
The problem is not that so many people will be in there ALL THE TIME. My problem is that I came in today to find a few of these people trying to take my desk from me.
It was like catching your significant other cheating on you.
There's the moment of shock when you take in what your seeing
There's the denial (I'm not seeing what I think I'm seeing).
Then...there's the anger.
I had all three.
The first thing I saw was all the boxes being taken off my desk (we pack up all of our stuff for Summer Break so the school can be thoroughly cleaned (and so stuff won't disappear during summer school). The three people moving my stuff looked like kids being caught in the cookie jar.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"We need this desk," I was told.
"You can't have it," I replied. "That's my desk, and I'm using it."
"This isn't your desk."
"Um, that's my picture of my wife, and that's my name on the papers there."
"Oh....Well, we need the desk, so you'lkl have to move."
"No. I will only give up that desk if the principal herself comes up here and tells me to move from it."
"We need to the desk. Just give it to us."
"No. Put my stuff down, move away from the bookshelf too as that's mine as well, and figure something else out."
At this point, one of the three goes and calls the principal to tell on me. I'm not kidding. This person said I was "being combative and unhelpful."
Now, I am very lucky in that I have a good rapport with my princiapl. She showed up, took one look around, and then asked me what was happening.
I told her they were attempting to pillage my desk.
She looked around and said, "No. (indicating the three people) You will be over there. Leave that area alone."
"No. That is HIS desk and his stuff. Leave it alone."
She leaves, and what happens?
I'm reasonable, so I tell them:
"Drop my stuff, NOW! Back away from my desk. You heard the principal. Take those two desks over there."
Grumble, grumble, grumble is all I get as a response.
I sat at my desk for my whole lunch break in order to make sure they left my stuff alone. I want my corner (because you can't see if I'm in there from the hall).
Of course as I was rushing to finish everything this afternoon, one my colleagues somehow doesn't see me and shuts the lights off. I sat in the dark thinking, "Wow, I really don't rate, do I?"
And then the kicker: I have five classes next year, and, as of right now, it's all freshman again. I had some senior classes, but those are gone now. All freshman, all the time. I can feel the grey hairs. Don't get me wrong, I like working with freshman, but there are times when you need that adult conversation you can't get with the younger kids.
During Romeo & Juliet, they could not stop giggling about how they had sex. That gets kind of annoying.
After all that frustration, I bruised my hand. It hurts.
As for my other frustrations, that's for another day.
I'm just sorry that the graduates didn't come back for the painting.
Oh well.
Tomorrow is our end of year meeting. It's also when we're supposed to finish our grades (but I'm done). This is it, then...two months off. Bring on the Summer.

1 comment:

laura g. said...

I'm sorry I didn't make it in to paint. I felt really bad about it. As for your freshmen (this year's and next year's), I'm so incredibly sorry. I wish I had a better way to try and give you some solice and support, but I don't. Someday over break, I want to come in and paint. I talked to a bunch of the other graduating theatre seniors and the general response from most was, "I wasn't a techie, so I really don't feel right about painting a brick in the booth." I just think that's stupid. C'est la vie. I hope the end-of-the-year meeting goes well, and that it's not too painful.