Archive for February, 2011

Field Trip…

February 28, 2011

I have been planning a field trip for the 8th grade for the end of the year.  It has not been easy finding a place to go.  We are trying to do something fun, not educational.  Here is an instant messaging conversation I had today.  I am using this mostly because I don’t want to type it out again.

Me: except who knew that planning a field trip was so stressful

Him: heh, lots of paperwork?, and where to?

Me: no and ? we are still trying to find a place

Him: ah
Me: when you have 360 kids, it gets expensive
Him: whoa yeah
Me: we wanted to go to main event, but that cost too much, then we were got a great deal on a water park, but were told no, even though the band gets to go to schlitterbahn
Him: wtf, that’s phenomenally stupid
Me: so then i contacted this ranch about doing a picnic and it sounds good, but today some people said they heard from people who said it was boing even though i heard from someone who said she has been there and it was fun and the person who told me it sucked is a bitch and will throw a fit if we go anyway
Him: heh, nice
Me: so, i contacted several places today: six flags, putt putt and scarborough fair, six flags is too expensive and i am still waiting to hear back on the others
-J
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I may or may not have a job next year…

February 27, 2011

In case you haven’t watched the news (or you aren’t in Texas), school districts will be making a lot of cuts next year as the state makes huge cuts.  This has got me a little worried as I wait to see if I will have a job next year.  I haven’t heard anything from my district and I don’t think they have decided anything and won’t until they hear more from the state.

The only thing that is going against me right now is that I am low on the totem pole.  This is only my second year in the district.  I do have a lot of things on my side.  First is that I am a core teacher.  I do not see how they can cut core teachers at my school, without putting 40 kids in a class.  I am also a successful teacher and they like me at my school.  It all depends on what the district decides and who makes the decisions.  If the district decides to cut only based on seniority, I am screwed.  If the campuses get to decide, based on performance and other factors, I am should be safe.  There are teachers at my school who have more experience than me, but do not perform as well.

The date I am waiting for is March 28.  That is when I find out if my contract is being renewed.  Of course, none of that matters if the district files for financial exigency, because that means they can revoke contracts later on.  Keep me and all teachers in your prayers.  What does this say about school finance in Texas when every district is looking at massive cuts this year?  The bad part is that whoever is laid off will not be able to find another job easily, because so many teachers could be laid off.  It is even worse for those who are graduating this year and have no experience.

-J

My principal…

February 22, 2011

On Friday afternoon, my principal sent an email scheduling a short meeting this morning before school.  No one had any idea what it was about, but we all figured it had something to do with budget cuts.  Well, we get into the library this morning and the HR director was in there and we expected the worst.  It turns out that our principal has accepted a position in another district.  He will be the principal of a new high school that will be opening in 2012, but he will spend next year getting things ready.  Since I have only worked for one principal before, this should be an interesting experience.

I did decide something today.  Actually I had been thinking about it for a while, but this announcement was another push in that direction.  I am going to apply to work at one of the high schools next year.  I would like to teach US history or government and next year would be a good opportunity for several reasons.  First, (well actually this is the last to occur) is that we are getting a new principal and who knows who that will be and what things will be like.  Second, is that there is a new social studies curriculum next year and even if I stay in my current position, there will be a lot more work.  Also, I know that I will end up in high school some day and I don’t want to get to the point where I don’t want to change because I have put in so much work into 8th grade.  I think the biggest reason is that the new high school will add a junior class next year.  They do not have any juniors right now, so they will need several people to fill those social studies positions.  I had intended to apply next spring for a 12th grade government position, but with all of these factors, I will try this year.  Also, government positions can be hard to get, and if the opportunity is there, I will take it.  Once I am at a high school, I think it will be easier for me to move into a government position, if I still want that.

-J

I hate my coworkers…

February 16, 2011

I don’t think I have ever been as embarrassed as I was today.

Today we had our first rounds of TAKS training.  Our testing coordinator had prizes to give out.  She had song clips randomly inserted in her powerpoint and the first person who guessed the artist got a prize.  The first few I didn’t do too well on.  Either I didn’t know who it was or it took me a few seconds to remember who it was.  Well, I won one of them.

Before I tell you who it was, let me describe how it felt to me.   As soon as I heard the first note I knew who it was and instantly I yelled out the answer.  It felt as if it were dead silent and that I was yelling at the top of my lungs, while no one else knew who it was yet.  It was Justin Bieber and I swear the I yelled JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the moment it started.  As I was saying it, I was thinking “Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop…,” but it came our anyway.  After a short pause, everyone started cracking up.  I could feel my entire face, including my ears, turn bright red.  It felt like forever before they stopped laughing.

I should also explain how many people were there.  This was the biggest staff meeting of the year.  Pretty much any person who is in the building on any TAKS day had to come to the meeting.  Normally, it is only teachers at the staff meetings, but this included secretaries, paras, and everyone except for the cafeteria workers and custodians.

I swear that she set me up and told everyone not to yell out Justin Bieber, so that I would fall for it.  I also don’t think that my Facebook profile has come close to having as much traffic as it had today after the meeting.

I will just have to be strong tomorrow to get through all of this.

-J

The things I say to kids…

February 11, 2011

Last night, I was at the boys basketball game.  It was against their rival and was at the new high school.  I was talking to one of my teacher friends and we got to talking about things we say to kids that could get us in a lot of trouble (if they took it the wrong way and/or told their parents).  I was telling her how I make fun of the boys when they lose a game (they know I am joking, I am not a terrible person).  Last night C & A teams won, but B team lost.

Here is how the conversation went.  Now let me let you know, this kid is my favorite kid.  I think if we were the same age, we would be best friends.  Anyway, we joke around a lot.

“Did you see me play last night?”

“Yes, I did see you lose.”

“That is rude.”

“I am just stating a fact.  I saw the game, and your team had fewer points at the end.  It’s not like I said you suck.  That would be rude.”

“We only lost by 12 points.”

“12 points is a lot in basketball.” (The final score was something like 16-28.)

“That is only six shots.”

“Well, the way ya’ll were shooting, it would take more like 30 shots.”

“I mean 6 baskets.”

“Technically, you could do it in 4.”

Another kids said something about them sucking a three pointers and we all laughed.

The kids said I was on a roll.  I was.  We had a good time and he wanted to challenge me to a game of basketball.

I am so glad it is Friday!

-J

Back to work…

February 7, 2011

After an unexpected 4 days off last week, it was finally back to work this week.  However, today was a little more of a mess than I had anticipated.  Had I know I would get a 6 day, stuck in the house weekend, I would have been more prepared and brought more work home.  Instead, I only brought home a regular night’s worth of work, which consisted of grading a few make up assignments.  Everything I could have worked on, including rescheduling my lessons was at school.

Today I got to school at my normal time (which is 45 minutes before I have to be there, because I like getting there early so I can prepare).  As I was working on getting things ready for the day, they made an announcement and said that today we had a pep rally.  I had completely forgotten about this, since we were not there last week to have a reminder.  The worst part about it is that on the pep rally schedule, advisory is at the end of the day, meaning that I lost about 30 minutes of work time.

In the end, it all worked out fine, I was able to reschedule everything from the missing days pretty easily.  It does however mean that my kids will have a little bit more homework this week.  As for the pep rally, it was probably the best one that I have seen (in all my years of teaching).  I did not have high hopes, since they lost 4 days of preparation (in fact the band members did not even know to wear their band shirts).  And as much as I hate pep rallies at my school, it was decent.

We never had pep rallies when I was in middle school.  Of course the school I went to severely lack any sort of school spirit.  At the school I teach at, we have two pep rallies a year.  The first is in the fall the week that we play our rival in football and volleyball.  The second is in the spring the week we play them in basketball.

I guess I will mention why I hate pep rallies so much.   First is that it takes about 20 minutes to get everyone into the gym.  Another problem is that our gym is not big enough to fit the entire school.  Most of the 6th graders have to sit on the floor.  If we needed to evacuate, many people would die, either from getting trampled of because they couldn’t get out fast enough.  We also have a terrible sound system in the gym.  We could barely hear what anyone was saying.  And finally, the quality of the cheerleaders, band, etc. is not that great in middle school, but they try hard and I’m sure it is fun for the kids.

-J