Saturday, January 17, 2009

I got better...

Feeling much better today. I actually slept, lying down, in my bed, for about 8 hours straight. That hasn't happened in a while.

This past week, we had our 9-week tests. I've realized it's not so much about how the students do, but how successful each teacher is. All day yesterday, the topic of most conversations revolved around numbers - % passed, % who would pass the SOL if it were given today, and competition for the lowest attained score. It's bizarre. Those teachers who had students with astoundingly low scores (I think the lowest reported to me was a 20-something) seemed to think they should win something. Like a trophy for "Teacher with the most clueless class" or "Teacher who, despite teaching his/her ass off, didn't get the key concepts across." I dunno...

The head PTB was careening around yesterday, asking for percentages and handing out (according to answers) fistbumps or shoulder pats. I got a fistbump. Teachers (especially those in SPED) asked, with hope in their eyes, how my classes did on the test. When I replied that my students did fairly well, with just a few missed it by that much failures, I saw that hope die. They were hoping my students did as poorly, if not worse, than theirs! I don't get it. It's as if we are in this fraternity of Woe Is Me (WIM for short) where everyone whines about how awful and stressful their classes/students/schedule/LIFE is.

Speaking of WIM, we have a professional day on Tuesday. It's the end of the 2nd nine weeks, so presumably this workday is for entering grades and finalizing report cards. We got an email from the PTB, stressing how we are to use this workday as a time to get our grades in, and that there would be no mandatory meetings EXCEPT...and then there's a list of meetings. We have yet to have a protected workday - one that is truly a time for teachers to work without having to schedule around workshops and meetings. On Tuesday, we are all required to meet within our departments, to 'crunch numbers' (see above paragraph about test scores.) Then, I have an 'optional, but we really want your feedback' meeting titled (and I'm not kidding, here) The 9th Grade Summit. I'm expecting the leaders of the free world to attend, no shit. I will definitely be reporting on that meeting, because no way in hell do I believe it is optional. Should be interesting, if comments I've heard are any indication. One teacher said to me, "Well, I hope this doesn't turn into a gripe session. I don't have time for that!" and another (in a separate conversation) said, " I hope we'll get a chance to say what we really feel about this class, and the problems we're having."

Good times a'comin!

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