Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Some Grief...Some Joy

Great song.
It was pointed out to me today that I seem to concentrate on the negative when it comes to my job.
There is a great deal of negative, but there is also a plethora of positive.
Everyone I know complains about their job. If work was went to be fun, it would be called super action fun time...but it isn't.
As I left work today, a few of my colleagues explained to me that they read the blog, and one in particular, who I actually trust, pointed out that most of my posts swing toward the negative. She's right.
So I figured I should discuss some of the positive aspects of my work.
Are there negatives? Sure. Every job has them.
So what are the positives? Well, for one, there the students. Each and every one of them brings something interesting to the table. Regardless of how frustrated I get sometimes, I enjoy working with the students. It's the reason I'm a teacher.
It's not the money.
It's not the colleagues.
It's not the actual study of English (though I love the literature we read).
No, it's the students. Today, for example, my fifth hour made me laugh so hard that I had to stop my teaching and laugh. Never really had that happen before in an English class. It was great.
But what about the school and my colleagues?
Yes, I have talked about how there have been problems. Bickering, stupid issues in the building, and more, but through it all there are some things that happen at my building that make me smile.
The members of my department all get along. That sounds like something small, but in reality it's a big deal. Another teacher I know works in the Minneapolis district. In her department in her building, the teachers don't talk to each other. When the department meetings come around, the teachers cordially sit and listen, but there's no warmth among them. They only see each other as other teachers, not colleagues, not humans. I'm not saying I'm best buddies with everyone in my department, but we talk to each other and are aware of our lives. My colleagues have taken an interest in seeing my young son, for example.
Beyond my department, there are people willing to talk to each other about more than just interdisciplinary issues. I may just be an English teacher, but I talk to many of the Science teachers on a daily basis.
Other positives?
There are teachers that care about the students, but they also care about how the other teachers are doing. It's nice to see. For example, the teacher I spoke to today actually gave me constructive criticism about what I have been writing about on the ole blog. She took the time to explain it to me. Most teachers (some of whom have approached me) instead of talking to me in a practical way instead freak out. Most teachers, however, just talk to me about what I've been writing (and thus help create a community which we're supposed to be working toward).
There's a great deal of school spirit. Every Friday most of the teachers wear our school colors to show they love the school (which means we see a great deal of red).
The teachers, for the most part, know the students' names.
These are just some of the different positive aspects of the school I work at. Again, there are bad days and annoying beauracracy, but that happens everywhere.
I like my job. I do. There are just some days that I feel stressed. The next few days (which are teacher conferences in St. Paul) will be nice.
Of course I'm just a new teacher who, "doesn't get it." I could be wrong.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ghosts of the Past

Apparently last year's theatre kids came to the school today. I saw only one of them...and that was by chance.
I'll be hiding in the booth....
Don't tell anyone.

Grading Time

I love grading time.
The teachers are frustrated by trying to get everything in on time.
The students are worried about the grades and (for a few days) change their behavior in order to hopefully boost them.
Today I had a student bring me food in an attempt to suck up.
"Mr. Leab...I heard you like Starburts, so I bought you a whole bag...for no reason."
Here's how this should really sound:
"Mr. Leab. I'm freaking out about my grade, so I am attempting to bribe you with food in the hopes you will nudge my grade up...and you won't move me."
This student's attempt failed.
As for getting my grades in....Jeez that's hard. We have to use the online grading system, which I hate. I don't trust it. I've put things in before only to find that it wasn't saved. It's annoying.
Then again, it could be worse. Some of my colleagues have talked about times where they had to fill out cards. Card after card of grade that was then turned in so the grades could be sent. That would suck.
I get that the computer is supposed to make it easier, but there are so many steps. Even the manual we get is about the size of War and Peace. Keep it simple, dammit.
And then there are the parents. "You haven't taken into account that my son has (fill in the blank disease or issue). That's why he's failing."
No, he's failing because in six weeks, he's turned in one assignment. Plus, he doesn't listen in class. You want to help, get him to listen.
As a side note, I'd like to welcome all of my students who have stumbled on to/searched for/ taken by force my blog. Let me make it clear to you that it's not that big of a deal, and you can't blackmail me, so don't try it.
Then again what do I know? I'm just the teacher with three bags of Starbursts in his desk....I could be wrong.