Posts Tagged ‘rant’

Pet Peeve

Pet peeve – students who cry for ridiculous reasons

I want to say, “Listen, you are in THIRD GRADE. None of your peers cry. It is no longer socially acceptable for you to cry & your peers are judging you. Not to be harsh, but it’s true. Additionally, you are crying because you got crayon on your desk. Really? REALLY? That is ridiculous. Man up!”



Rainy Day Schedule

I live in Central California. Although people think of beaches & movie stars when they think of my state, I do not live at the beach & the only movie star credit we can claim right here is that George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) went to the same junior high, high school, and junior college that I attended (although, admittedly several decades apart). It is farmland where I live, acres & acres of farms surround our cities. This rain that we have been having is wonderful for all the crops & after years where there have been droughts, honestly, this rain is applauded by the residents of our area.

However, I am not a farmer, cheering because I’ll have moist soil in which to plant. I am an elementary school teacher & rainy days = rainy day schedule. Let me break it down for you, as I assume it’s been awhile since you’ve been in elementary school.

At our school, students are allowed to come on campus at 8am. That means, from 8:00-8:30am, they’re sitting in the cafeteria, talking with other students, and wishing they were on the playground. Two teachers get that yard duty, and it involves keeping the roar to a mild din & the natives from becoming too restless. At 8:30, school begins. The kids head to their classrooms where they sit through the morning (8:30-10:45). They get a 20-minute recess as a morning break, but they cannot go outside. They have to stay in the classroom. Even if they’re playing Heads Up, Seven Up or Four Corners, they’re still mostly stationary. And so, recess passes in a fashion that is not as relaxing / not as much of a break as it was intended to be (10:45-11:05). We teach until lunchtime, but lunch won’t start as it normally would because there’s no place for the kids to go to recess. That means they stay in the classroom for an extra 15 minutes. We take them to the cafeteria at 12:30 & pick them up at 1:00. Then we teach from 1:00-3:00.

If you’re counting, if you have morning yard duty (which I do, each week), you’re enclosed in a room with 25+ kids for 7 hours with less than 30 minutes of a break. It seems absolutely inhumane. I love teaching, but I need a second of quiet to decompress at recess. I can only go so many days where my lunchtime is taken up with copies & helping kids & phone calls & oops, no lunch… before I break.

I’m absolutely thrilled it’s Friday, if you hadn’t guessed.

The worst part though, is that I’m an adult (allegedly, at least). It’s about 10 times harder to be a kid & sit still for that long. I completely understand how terrible it is for them not to get up & run around, but my hands are tied & that is why I proclaim:

Rainy Day Schedule sucks.

Large Groups of Kids

So, here’s the thing. It is difficult to control a group of several hundred kids (500? 600?). I get that. However, egging them on for 30 minutes with off-topic, slapstick mascots just makes my job that much harder & ensures they will not be listening to what you’re saying (not even a little bit). What a waste of an hour. I wish we had stayed in & taken our math test (or painted or read or even ran laps). Grr.

That Time of Year

Oh, man. Here I sit, at school. It’s 6:30pm & I’ve been here for about 11 hours. These are the days that I need to remember when I spout on about my (awesome!) vacations… Not a complaint, just a reminder to myself that I do work long, hard hours when I am on track.

Our new principal started yesterday (Monday being a holiday) & called a leadership meeting for this afternoon. That’s not so bad, but it was preceded by a union meeting directly after school, a meeting with him personally at lunch, the vice principal at recess & yard duty before school. If you’re keeping track, I’ve had less than 5 minutes of break since I got here at 7:45am. The downside of being a teacher is that your breaks are not sacred. I am thinking about treating myself to something decadent for dinner (as I haven’t eaten today).

I like everything to be just so, and I tend to put too much on my own shoulders (hint: if you are ever asked to take over scheduling / setting a calendar for a year round school, SAY NO), especially this time of year. However, I know it’ll be done right, even though the figures are swimming in my head right now (19 teachers during these 6 months on track, 21 during those 3, 22 during those 3, times of 30-45 minutes of yard duty per week on a bimonthly rotating schedule with 8 15-minute slots & 2 30-minute slots daily, and heaven help us if it is not completely equal, even though how can it be with 27 teachers in total…).

I think it is time to shut down the computer & put those problems off to solve another day!

Edit: 7:00 & I swear I’m leaving now.

Small Gripe

The husband installed Vista on my computer awhile back. To forestall the inevitable “I hate Vista!” comments, let me say that this is not a Vista gripe, per se. I’ve had it on my school computer for a couple of years now & am fine with it. However, it irritates the heck out of me that the calendar always insists on putting a comma between the month & year (i.e. May, 2009). Gah!

I think it’s a personal defect that makes me get up and flip the physical calendar rather than “subject” myself to the wayward comma.

Another Teaching Rant

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit anal retentive. Okay, a lot. However, I think it’s okay to want things my way – especially in my own classroom where the quality control is pretty exclusively under my control. Sometimes, unfortunately, I miss a day of school – relatively rarely, but it happens. When it does, I come in contact with two of my least favorite things:

Substitute Plans & Substitutes

1. Substitute Plans – I was a substitute teacher for 2.5 years before I finished my credential & got my own classroom (a rare slacky period of my life). Incomplete / vague substitute plans are terrible! I am So Clear And Precise in my substitute plans (for example, yesterday’s were 6 pages long – I know. Don’t say it.) specifically because a) I know how difficult it is to decipher unclear plans, and b) I know I am anal retentive and like things done my way.

2. Substitute Teachers – In general, there are only two types of substitute teachers (with some notable and much loved exceptions) – those who didn’t get teaching jobs & those who chose not to teach full time (usually due to small children or retirement). The former tend to be marginal disciplinarians (i.e. why they didn’t get a teaching job) & the latter over-opinionated teachers who do things their way despite the teacher’s plans (guess who I had yesterday, eh?). Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon someone who does an excellent job of following directions (basically what I am looking for in a substitute), but they generally get full-time teaching jobs the subsequent year. Since I am rarely absent, I usually don’t get to take advantage of them more than once.

I left explicit substitute plans. Explicit. You’ll have to take my word (although I am tempted to post an excerpt in the comments to show how thorough I am. My substitute decided that she wanted to do things her way, even when the kids expressed apprehension. Normally I wouldn’t have minded SO much (explaining things in a different way is good for them), but she chose to do things that I do later (like listening to the CD, doing practice book pages I save as story reviews, sending home long division homework even though it was our first day on it?!) instead of following my instructions (reading the story out loud to facilitate predictions / model how a good reader reads, doing the vocabulary / introduction practice book pages not the ones that require inferences – difficult after only one read of the story, sending home the multiplication homework that reviewed last week’s math concepts). Grr.

My poor kiddos were confused & several had notes from their parents saying their children were having trouble getting started on their math homework / were worried they had done the practice book pages incorrectly, etc. Bah!

I like to think I wouldn’t be as irritated if I hadn’t expressly spelled out each step of my lesson plans on my 6-page document that I typed at 1am (but checked today to make sure it was thorough – rest assured, it was). Honestly, I probably still would’ve been irritated, but it would’ve been at myself if I had been vague.

I need a cheerful entry soon.

Doing It Incorrectly

I really hate when people assume there’s only one way to do something. Be flexible.