Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday was not good.

I start out with high hopes, a positive attitude, and a heart full of joy that it is Friday. The best part of my day is my drive to work. Nothing special, just my usual 15 minute drive, but it turns out to be the least stressful, most enjoyable part of my day. That's telling...

Remediation starts yesterday morning. The schedule calls for remediation to run from approximately 8:10 until 8:45 once a week. We usually do it on Wednesdays during school club time, but the ptb decide to have remediation on Friday this week, when there were no clubs, kind of as a dry run to detect and fix any snags. My group is the same group (with the exception of 3 students) I teach 6th period every day. One girl makes the very astute observation that she will be in my class twice on remediation days. Anyway, the class goes fairly well - mostly just an overview of what they will be required to know for the SOL. They are entranced.

I'm able to teach 2nd period, with no interruptions, until about 10 minutes before the end of class. A student runner comes in the class, and tells me I'm needed in guidance right away. No explanation, just that I need to go right then. Luckily, my assistant is in class (a rare occasion), so I stop my PowerPoint lecture, and give the kids a book assignment. I'm thinking - something really horrible must be happening with one of the kids on my caseload, to be called out of class like this. Nope - nothing like that.

Back story: Our report cards are coming out on Monday. They were supposed to go out on Friday, but we had snow last week and were out of school for two days. As a result, teachers didn't get the scheduled work day last Friday, and had to scramble to get grades done and exported to guidance. In our staff meeting Thursday afternoon, guidance reported there were some problems with the grades, and would we please check our printouts for errors. I did so, saw no apparent errors, and went on my merry way.

My summons to guidance is regarding my grade print out. Two (gasp) student grades are calculated incorrectly (not by me - by the electronic gradebook that we use). The head of the guidance department proceeds to give me a 20-minute lecture/tutorial on using the gradebook, and I am told to recalculate my grades, write in the corrected letter grades (if any more were found) and re-submit my printout. Right now? Yes - right now. But, I'm supposed to be co-teaching a class next period. No - recalculate your grades. ( I should say - I was one of many teachers summoned to guidance for this same issue yesterday. It was evidently a system-wide snafu) Ok. I go back to my classroom, log in to the electronic gradebook, re-check all the grades for the 1st 9-weeks, 2nd 9-weeks, and semester. Make changes ( only a few found) and resubmit my printout. Done, right?

Fourth period is my resource class. A group of juniors and seniors, who are in this class for lack of another class available. Most days, they have nothing to do. It's kind of a study hall for kids with IEPs. During this time Friday, I work on refining, printing, and collating the IEP I need for a meeting that afternoon. I have to refine, because the Speech Therapist for the school system decided to dismiss this particular student from speech, and informed me of this decision that morning. After I'd printed out 4 copies of the IEP, after I'd submitted one of those copies to my administrator, after I thought I was done. So, I have to go in and make the necessary changes, add a few new forms for dismissal from services, print out the new pages, and insert them where they need to go. Ok - done with that.

At the end of the next period (my lunch, and my Channel One group), the principal does a drive-by. Did I get my grades fixed? He's hearing there's still a problem. I need to go to guidance - right away. Problem - I have a class starting in 2 minutes. He asks if I can go during my planning. No, that's when my IEP meeting is scheduled. Can I go during my next collaboration class? (7th) Sure - I guess so. He careens away. All of a sudden, a commotion erupts from the direction of my classroom. I go in, and two students are trying to fight each other. My assistant and another student are trying to keep the combatants away from each other. I hit the button (2nd time this year -a record) and call for assistance. As soon as I do that, the two students calm down, and my assistant takes the instigator to the office. Two ptb show up a minute later, and take the other fighter and a witness off to the office. My class of 11 is reduced to 8, with no assistant. We're 10 minutes in to a 45 minute period, and I have to take another 5 minutes to get everyone calmed down. Wonderful.

The next period is my collaboration class. I tell that teacher I will be back ASAP, and head, once more, with feeling, to guidance. When I get there, I find my grade problem has already been fixed. I am once more subjected to a mini-tutorial about the gradebook before I'm released. As I head down the hallway, the principal does another drive-by. This time, he wants to talk about the general mess that is Resource. Can I come see him during my planning? (Wait - didn't I tell him, less than an hour ago, that I had an IEP meeting during my planning?) No, I have a meeting. OK then, he'll catch up with me on Monday. At this point, I'm sorta hoping I'm in some big trouble that will land me in ISS for a day. I'd bring my book and veg out for 7 hours. Bliss.

My IEP meeting is scheduled to start at 1:30. All the players are in place, the copies of the IEP are printed, my day is going to get better. No, wait... the administrator who is to be in the IEP meeting has gone home sick. Another administrator agrees to fill in - but he has NO CLUE about what's going on with the kid, because he didn't have a copy of the IEP to review beforehand. The guidance counselor who I've worked with on some issues regarding this meeting is out with a sick family member, and the speech therapist who wants to dismiss the student from her services is not able to make the meeting. So, the meeting that should last 45 minutes lasts almost 90. I get out of there at around 2:50, just in time to head to the 9th period collaboration class (yes - missed all three!) in time for afternoon announcements and the dismissal bell.

It just doesn't get any better than that! I guess that's why they pay me the big bucks...

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