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Today was almost the worst day of a teaching career which began in the
70's. This excludes the time a disturbed student threatened me with a gun
in the 80's! Maxed out classes and struggles with funding and supplies,
teaching DBAE without textbooks, being responsible for monthly exhibits
k-12 in 10 different locations, and helping my advanced kids keep up with
scholarship and contest requirements at this time of the year is already
too much. 2nd period and 4th period mid-terms were today. The other
classes met also. I arranged the time in 2nd period so students had 45
minutes to work on the project they are currently doing and 45 minutes for
their mandated written exam. Just as I walked over to the sinks to tell
them to clean up and get out the materials for their test the Science
department chair walked in. She had a 16" x 22" piece of foam core in her
hand. Needless to say, this time was her 90 minute planning period. She
told me her 7-year old had a project to do for school which he wanted to be
a guitar which could be suspended from the ceiling. She then asked me to
draw the guitar on the foam core and cut it out. I suggested to her that
when a teacher assigns a project to a student, even if he is only 7, that
the student is expected to do the work. I continued that if he wasn't sure
what a guitar looked like, she could help him find a photograph from which
to work. Then I offered her an exacto knife for her to help him cut the
foam core after he had done the drawing. She wrote me the most insulting
letter (not a note). The gist of this letter was how dare I suggest to her
how to handle her parenting responsibilities and much moaning about being a
working mother with two children. I went to her room during the transition
period between the next classes where she sat at her desk cutting out a
guitar. I let her know that I felt both her coming to my room and
particularly the writing of the letter were inappropriate. I asked would
she ask a high school language arts teacher to write a paper a 7 year old
had as an assignment. She flared up in anger to which I couldn't respond
since I had to get back to my in-coming class. AAAAAArrrrrggggghhhh!
Head ache number 2: The mid-term for fourth period is one that some
students wish to take the entire time with so as the period began, I was
giving instruction for both the test and an on-going art history exercise
which could be done by those students who finished early. A student walked
in with two pieces of construction paper and explained that her language
arts teacher wanted them to do Rosharch (sp.?) tests and needed more paper
like that and ink!!! I have never been a supply source. This is a high
school. All teachers were supposed to be giving written mid-terms. I told
the student to tell her teacher that I was busy administering the mid-term
for my class. There was no note.
I wind up coming in 15 minutes earlier and staying 90 minutes later nearly
every day just to keep up with grading, materials management, firing, etc.
Every day there are students in my room working as long as I will stay. If
I wanted to, I suppose I could arrange a way of teaching (or not teaching,
rather) which would give me time to wander around the building finding
rediculous things for other teachers to do, but somehow really teaching and
facillitating the best efforts from my students is important to me.
I am right at the verge of burn out.