In which I’m baaaaaaaaack

istock-499343530I officially restarted my career as an educator today, with a leadership team meeting at my new school.  I’d only really ever been in one small part of the building before, so I took a while and wandered around, trying to get a feel for the place.

We, uh, may have a roach problem.  It was one of the first things my new boss said to me when I walked in.   She’s kinda horrified, so there’s gonna be all sorts of exterminators out between now and school starting.  I’m fully aware that every old building this size has some roaches but I saw two of them that were both over an inch long while I was there and that’s gonna be a problem.

That’s all I’ve got to complain about, though.   You can usually identify the bad seed in any group of educators within a couple of minutes of the start of a meeting, and as far as I know there wasn’t one, which is pretty damn exciting.  Everyone seems really dedicated and hyped about the school year starting, and it got infectious fast.  I just wish I had a better handle on what my actual job is going to be like on a day-to-day basis, but that’ll come sooner or later.

I also had a moment about halfway through the meeting where I realized that it looks like the places where I disagree with my new boss about things all seem to be places where she has more faith in the kids than I do.  I don’t know that I’m going to unpack that any more than pointing it out, at least right now, but it was an interesting thing to take note of.

I haven’t sold a book on Amazon since a day or two after I got back from Indy Pop Con, which was an embarrassingly long time ago.  Somebody out there has to be looking for something to read, right?  My books are inexpensive and delicious, check ’em out!

I am beginning to suspect…

…that I’m not going to be getting much of anything done at work today. Meetingspalooza all up ins.

In which I am important and necessary

stamp21Friday afternoon I got a series of emails from my principal indicating that today was going to be a little bit more obnoxious than I’d initially planned.  Apparently he’d gotten an email from the Lord High Muckety-Mucks downtown (and I mean that affectionately, of course) that he and four hand-picked staff members of his choosing were to meet with them (yes, plural, all of the Muckety-Mucks, not just a couple) downtown Monday afternoon.  They were paying for subs all day, though, not just for the duration of the meeting, and we were to meet in our buildings and discuss whatever seemed like it needed discussionation during the morning in preparation for our meeting in the afternoon.

No real indication of what the meeting was about, or much of anything about what we were to bring with us, other than some vague references to some information that downtown already had.  This is, by the way, the week before ISTEP.  I’ve already rescheduled or vocally complained about any number of things that were supposed to happen this week.

I *still* haven’t spent five work days in a row in my classroom in 2014, by the way. I should finally manage that feat next week, since nobody’s moving me anywhere during the week of the test.  But yeah, I was out all day today, in meetings in the morning in the building (where we got a bit of useful stuff done and then sat around staring at each other and speculating about what the hell the meeting downtown was going to be about) and then at the actual meeting in the afternoon with the LHMMs.

There is no story about the meeting itself; as we left it we all mostly figured that downtown just wanted an idea of how good a staff our building had and wanted to see how our lead teachers reacted to being brought downtown on short notice and interrogated about our building plans.  And, honestly, “interrogated” is vastly overstating the case; I’ve been in much more adversarial meetings than that one.  I am not convinced that it was a good use of our time, especially the week before ISTEP, but I think we made ourselves look good and hell if I can think of another way they’re all going to meet the leadership team at once without dragging us out of the building.

Then I got back to the building and taught at Boot Camp until 5:30; we do a few days of intense after-school test prep during the week before ISTEP every year, featuring half an hour of calisthenics led by actual drill sergeants before the kids are sent back to the classrooms.  It’s actually pretty fun, but that meant that today went from 7 to 5:30 and I didn’t get a prep period.  So I’m tired as hell right now.

I have Walking Dead and True Detective to watch tonight.  Too bad I can’t put the boy to bed now.

(I kid.  Sorta.)

In which it’s been a long two days

I didn’t get around to writing a post yesterday, but it wasn’t because of parent/teacher conferences. I didn’t make it to parent/teacher conferences, in fact; my mother in law had either one stroke or a series of minor strokes over the last couple of days and ended up in the hospital yesterday. She’s fine, for values of “fine” that include “had at least one stroke in the last two days;” there is little to no apparent physical damage (no drooping facial muscles, difficulty swallowing, paralysis, anything like that; she can get up and move around) but she’s having difficulty recalling words and talking– although that has improved since I saw her yesterday. I found out toward the end of the day, tossed an “I’ll call you later” sign-up sheet in the hallway and headed to the hospital.

I had already taken this morning off because of the first meeting of the probation assistance team; that meeting was supposed to be from 7:45 to, most of us thought, 9 or so, and I’d have a couple of hours where I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere in particular and then would go back to work and teach the afternoon half of my classes. Between the stress of my mother-in-law’s hospitalization and a recurrence of the “no-real-symptoms-but-exhaustion” illness I was struggling with a few months ago, I decided to go ahead and take the afternoon off too.

Half days for middle school teachers in my corporation go until 11:00; the meeting that was supposed to be just over an hour long took until 12:30. I’d have had to scramble to get sub coverage in the afternoon anyway even if I’d been planning on returning to work. I won’t get into the reasons why but we hit some unexpected snags in putting the improvement plan together and it took forever to get everything done. It’s not like any particular member of the team dragged the meeting out; we just ended up having much more to do than anyone, including the more veteran members of the PAT process, had expected for us. My first observation is next week; we’ll see how it goes.

Another good reason– not that I needed one once the meeting ran so long, but whatever– for me to take the afternoon off was my frustration level has been through the roof lately. You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned my “don’t yell at kids” policy lately; it’s because the last several weeks have represented nothing but crashing failure in keeping that goal alive. My kids are manifestly not behaving or acting worse than previous classes (particularly last year) have, but for some reason it’s getting to me a lot more this year. I don’t know exactly what’s going on but I’ve got to find a way to get over it.

Something for me to work on, if I ever manage to drag myself out of bed again.

Today’s agenda

20130830-183623.jpgTake shower- go to work- don’t go to jail- give a bunch of math tests- hope the buses all show up on time- go to staff meeting- sit at a desk for 45 minutes checking people into contract ratification meeting- read new proposed teacher contract- listen to presentation about new proposed teacher contract- hopefully vote for new proposed teacher contract- go to birthday dinner for my mom- go home- put boy in bath- put boy to bed- go to bed my damn self.

Note the word “blog” doesn’t show up in there anywhere.

Have a good day; the next time I see you I’ll be asleep.