Thursday, May 24, 2012

6 (school) days until summer!

And O.M.G. are the natives restless.

So are the parents.

I arrived at school this morning, early, because I had agreed to cover someone else's morning duty, to find a lovely email from a parent to an administrator, asking to meet with us about "events in the classroom."

No mention of what said "events" were.

The administrator had responded to the email before I had a chance to see it, stating he was too busy in the next couple of days, but would be happy to meet after that.

I freaked out. This particular parent always thinks she is right. (I'm sure she really is always right. The problem is that I always happen to be right, as well.) This particular parent likes to make a big deal about everything. This particular parent does not have a history of letting go of issues that have already been settled.

After I freaked out, the bell rang, and I realized I was already late for covering the other teacher's morning duty. I walked down the hall to count bus students as they lined up for breakfast, where I ran into the administrator.

He wanted to know what the mom wanted to talk about. I wanted to know the same thing.

Since he wasn't going to be able to meet quickly with the parent, my team teacher suggested I try another administrator.

And boy, did I ever get lucky. The TOUGHEST administrator from my school was the only one available to meet this afternoon with me and the parent. I filled her in on the child's recent behavior in my classroom, coupled with my potentially very controversial refusal to help him with a graded assignment after he didn't pay attention to the instructions, reminded the administrator of recent interactions with the child's parents, and sent a very kind and upbeat email to the child's mother, letting her know that we were available to meet with her and could we please have more information about what we were meeting about?

Her response? There was no particular event, just a lot of events that had been going on in my classroom all year.

All year?

And you've waited until there are six days of school left to address these events?

Really?

Note to parents: Please address any situations that make you uncomfortable with your child's performance in school, disciplinary actions taken at school, etc. as soon as you possibly can after they occur at school. It is not helpful to your child, yourself, or your child's teacher to wait until there are only 6 days of school left before summer.

So I was nervous all day at school, and hence extremely unproductive during my planning time and after school time, waiting for the meeting to start.

Another note to parents: Let your child's teacher know what you are upset about. The teacher probably needs time to collect his/her thoughts about what the circumstances were whenever what you are upset about happened. Just like you are, the teacher is human and may not have a perfect memory. (I mean, really, he/she is only responsible for educating a whole room full of students who all have their own personalities, academic strengths and weaknesses, in addition to managing a bajillion random things that make life better/more fun for your child on a daily basis, all while trying to ensure that another little darling doesn't hurt any other little darling emotionally or physically....)

My administrator ROCKS. She let the mom vent a little bit, let the mom rant, and then supported me ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. Even in my controversial decision to not help the child on the graded assignment since he had refused help the day before. She backed up both me and the other administrator about several issues that we thought had been dealt with and put to rest with no consequences to the child more than a month ago.

And then the mom? She thought it would be smart to chime in about how much her adorable, sweet, conniving little angel always begs her to help him with his homework, to do it for him, to let him use a calculator instead of showing his work....And how, once she is sure that he knows what he is supposed to do, SHE WON'T HELP HIM.

She was NOT pleased when I pointed out that I was using the same strategy.

My administrator, smart lady that she is, changed the subject. And she managed to cut the mom off of her rant, since she couldn't let ANY of the previous issues this year go. Even though we had dealt with each and every issue as soon as we knew that they were issues.

After the meeting, I profusely thanked the administrator. I mean, really. She kept me from being rude to this mom, from digging myself into a hole, and from quitting my job.

I'm sure you've heard that most new teachers quit within their first five years? If I didn't have such a great administrator on my side, I would have already joined that statistic, especially with the group of kids I had last year.

Fortunately, I'm still employed.

And I had good (emotional) fuel for a run this afternoon.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

5/12 of the way to meeting my goal!

Well, May is busy.

The end of the school year is kicking my behind, just like I knew it would, and I am falling further and further behind in my running....just like every year.

Saturday was the race of the month -- the Get in the Pink 10K. It was SOOOO much better than the 10K I participated in during the month of March.

This one started on time! It started early in the morning, rather than in the hot sun! (7:15 was a little tough, but the weather was so much better for running!) It didn't have so many people I thought I would trip over anyone!

Overall, it was a MUCH better race experience. My time was much more along the lines of what I expect of myself -- I finished in 58:16, so appropriately under but close to the 60 minutes or less that I was hoping for.

The course was not too hilly -- although it did have a couple of big hills. One huge downhill, one huge uphill -- kind of like the failure of a bridge run in March.

One of the best parts? There was also a 5K going on. It began 30 minutes after the 10K. There was one particular place on both routes where the two routes converged. Sweet hubby ran the 5K while I ran the 10K. He spotted me as our routes were running towards each other and gave me the biggest, more encouraging wave.

The second best part? A friend of ours (who runs much more frequently than I do) was also running the 5K. I noticed her in front of me on the last stretch to the finish line....So I gunned it and passed her. It felt so good to finish before her! Petty, perhaps, but it made me work harder to make my goal.

The sad part? Even though I was running as fast as I could across that finish line, some mean man jumped right in front of me and took my photo finish. There are absolutely ZERO pictures of me crossing that finish line.

The only pictures I can come up with are these two beauties of sweet hubby. Don't be too jealous. Not everyone can rock his outfit.




Monday, May 7, 2012

frustrating day

Before an hour of school had passed, one of the assistant principals had come in to my classroom to follow up on a situation that started Friday afternoon with a student and the students' parent.

He chose to follow up in English in my classroom while I was teaching.

***

Another teacher on my hallway is pregnant.

I am not.

She announced it today.

I was not prepared.

I do think I managed to say congratulations, and not cry.

That is a small victory.

And there were others in the room to ask the usual questions about due dates, and such.

***

My (afternoon) students are dishonest and disrespectful.

I'm over it.

19 days left with this bunch.

My team-teacher and I are counting down together.

***

The principal of my school played a video that had been put together for a board meeting during lunch for the students, while we teachers ate outside for our last duty-free lunch of the year.

She said she was just showing the student portions of the video.

I heard my voice, speaking in English, when I walked back into the building.

I took an extra few moments in the bathroom to calm back down before walking into the cafeteria to claim my students.

We tiptoe around the hallways, whisper with parents, send kids out of the room to have adult conversations in English.

I never, never, never speak with my students in English, and do my best not to let them hear me speak in English.

It's an essential part of any immersion language program.

My principal, the one who has insisted and supported us all along in the endeavor of not letting our kids hear us speak English, played the video that ruined the illusion.

***

It's been a frustrating day.

I'm hoping that the moon will be less full and less close to the earth tomorrow, and that state testing will go better than expected.

Pray.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

i am...

praying for sweet hubby as he completes an exam....it's almost (almost almost almost) the end of his semester and he's a little nervous about passing this class. He's in the exam RIGHT NOW if you want to offer a prayer, or if you aren't reading this on Tuesday evening, pray for his professor to be merciful and kind when grading.

eating peanut butter m&ms. yum.

excited about the new camera and tripod that are in my classroom, thanks to donors choose!

hoping we can save enough spending money for Chile, since sweet hubby didn't get as many hours at work as he was hoping for this month.

counting down -- 23 more days of school before summer, and 3 of them half days!

anticipating lots and lots of sweat as i attempt 7 miles running later tonight....it's only about 90 degrees outside.

skipping a church dinner. Spring is too busy to keep up with everything.

a little overwhelmed by the crazy school scheduling stuff going on -- so many tests! so many celebrations! so little time to actually finish teaching the standards we are supposed to finish teaching before our students move on to the next grade level!

wishing that sweet hubby will go to the grocery store before he comes home, since I hate to grocery shop and hate to be out of milk.

happy to be reading Mary Oliver's Why I Wake Early, especially the title poem. It reminds me of a Psalm. I think I might make it pretty and frame it in my house.

what about you?