Friday, August 27, 2010

43 Is My Magic Number, or, Fail Friday

"I'll take 'Numbers and Figures for $200, Alex."
"What is, the number of students in my first period APEL class?"
"That is correct!"

... ::whimper:: 43 arrived yesterday, after the 42nd student took the last seating available. 43 ended up having to use my teacher chair. And opted to sit kind of in the front of the room. It was awkward. I guess I will have to break down and request some more desks, though 43 seems like a scary number to me. My OCD-leaning brain has real problems with "messy" numbers like 9 and 18 and 43. I'd explain why they're messy, but revealing how my brain works isn't really the point of this whole blog adventure.

Back to the whole teaching part.

We've been back in school for three days. Just three days. We've spent three hours with each class of kids. And it already feels like we've been back for months. Especially since the amount of work I've already collected is giving me fits -- stacks and stacks! 203 summer assignments from APEL. Paragraphs and diagnostic essays from my sophomores. I finally broke down the put grade recording sheets together today because I didn't want to get even MORE backlogged than I already am. I'm even contemplating a little grading right now, though that might be unlikely.

Spent my entire prep period photocopying. And I mean the entire period. ALmost an hour. There were two working machine, and so I camped out on one of them and make probably 1,000 copies -- which sounds obscene, but it's everything I will need for the next three weeks. I am never planned this far in advance! But anyway, there are five or six RISO machines in our copy room, and while I was there, the RISO fixer dude appeared to nurse the other ones back to health. He's a very dapper dude, the RISO fixer guy. White oxford shirt. Tie. Black slacks. Fancy loafers. Seems funny to me for a job that requires sticking your arms up into the innards of a machine that, when you think about it, is nothing but ink and roller. I mean, emptying the master disposal box can get you filthy. And he was wearing white! I commend him, that's for sure. Plus, I lucked out I think, because I am pretty sure I had NO problems with my machine because he was there. I'm convinced the machine didn't want to break down while Fixer Guy was watching, like students don't misbehave when the principal is around. I didn't *quite* finish the whole copying project, though; the major drawback to the RISO machines is that they don't collate or staple or handle packets. It's one sheet, one side at a time. So after an hour, I had about 11 piles of paper of what I wanted to turn into a packet. And we have a desktop commercial collator, but it only holds 8 sheets... which means two rounds of collating, and then collating the collated piles.... which I had planned to do right after school. I figured I had about two hours of work to do, but that meant getting to go home around 4:30. Alas, why have I not yet learned that nothing ever goes as planned?

Essentially, the world fell apart when my principal sent an email about closing down one fo the two classes of READ 180, which is really the only English support we have left for our students. [Sidenote: READ 180 is a curriculum/course used to help develop students' reading abilities, so it sets them up for success in all of their classes through the rest of high school.] But since one of the classes (which actually takes two class periods in the day) only had fifteen enrolled, the district is coming donw hard on it. District wide, they're not really letting anything run under ... well, I'm not sure what the exact number is, but it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 30. I'm thinking it's more like 32 or 33.... so 15 was just a no-go. But, frustratingly, this is the LAST opportunity we have on our campus to help students who have already been identified as having reading issues; the effects of this decision will obviously be cumulative. It's just sad.

So I spent about an hour or so in my principal's office with the two READ 180 teachers and one of our APs trying to figure out what to do. We have to drop the sections; there's really no way around that. But the domino effect that puts into place just makes my head swirl and my stomach hurt.

Suddenly, it was 4:45 and I was in my classroom, still needing to finish this packet adventure and clean up. I left school at 6:00. Usually I wait until I'm back in school a few weeks before I do that ... :/ But havingthe packet be done is completely worth it because it means ALL of my copying is already done. At least for the sophomores. So that's good.

But dear me. I'm tired. It's Friday. I feel like I've been hit by a bus full of tiredness, and so I will sign off now.

... yeah, I won't be grading tonight. It's not safe. For anyone.

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