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Ready to “check my systems”

by admin on August 19th, 2004

I tried to tell my 3-year old that I had to go back to work today, he didn’t understand. It’s hard to explain to a child, that Dad gets to be home for a long stretch of time, then all of the sudden he’s gone in the mornings again.

“Dad has to go back to work tomorrow…” I told him

iYou have to go check your systems.i He said.

iYes, yes I do.i I said. What else do you say?

I woke up this morning just like last year at this time, with the feeling of nausea. All systems were NOT go. I drove to work, saw someone fishing on the river… I hate that guy. Not that I would have fished this morning if I was off, but just the thought that HE might be getting paid to fish was enough to make me not like him. I stopped and had coffee with a fellow teacher from another school, that was a mild break from THIS, my first day back of my 5th year in continuation school education.

What am I thinking?

I somehow managed to live the entire summer in the 3% of my brain that honestly believed I was going on to a better job this year… HAHA not this year.

I showed up and big suitcase lady was walking around looking… uhm, larger. I doubt she ate her suitcase, but she might be pregnant… but she might NOT be pregnant too. I asked the principal, he was hoping I knew. I’m not going to say anything to her about it. I might be wrong, and well it wouldn’t be a good way to start the year, by calling someone on medication fat. Girls are already a little sensitive about that…so I’ll probably just wait and see.

But then again, I do like to stir up trouble… .

It’s time for me to go to my first official meeting of the 2004/2005 school year. I will have an update soon.


We watched the mandatory school video, which was the exact same one we watched LAST year, very old, but full of iusefuli information.

I’ve tried to find out if the lady IS pregnant, and nobody knows. Our principal asked the question;

iSO did anyone have anything exciting happen over the summer?i

We hoped this would elicit a response to clarify the situation, but she said nothing. I asked a female teacher if she knew the deal, and she thinks it’s a thyroid problem, which would NOT be a baby… very good thing I didn’t ask about a baby.

After filling out a minor survey of my use of technology… it’s off to part II of my day of meetings. I love technology. I wish I were made of wires and buttons so I could shut myself down for the next 185 days.

The second and final part of our meetings went slower than it should have, but it’s over now, and I can focus on securing a classroom full of desks. The rest of today is to be used to ready my classroom for this year. I’ve got the colored paper on the bulletin boards, so in essence, I’m done.

I’ve always kind of just been ‘weirded out’ by elementary school teachers who spend the better part of several weeks making paper boarders, putting calendar numbers on leaves, and apples, putting seasonal decorations on walls, and just generally making their classrooms a bounty of sensory overload for all the ADD kids in their rooms. I suspect every student is borderline ADD anyway at that level, the last thing they need is a huge cityscape full of clouds with each students name in it so they can spend four weeks trying to figure out where their cloud is, and not paying attention to learning their alphabet. I have the attitude that less is more. The less crap you have on your walls, the less that can distract a student away from their work. I have a hard enough time getting the kids to pay attention to me without them thinking;

iwow that kitten is hanging onto that tree branch… saying ehang in there’ wonder if he’ll fall, or if he gets back on the branch eventually, hey I used to like hanging from trees, I never fell… maybe if I found an old picture of me hanging from a tree, I could write ehang in there’ on it, and laugh about it someday… .wonder if Brad has any pot? I like nail-guns… they make cool noises… what’s this dude talking about supply and demand? I demand some more chips… that cat’s really funny… HANG IN THERE!!!… wow I should write that on my folder… hang in there… Wait now the teacher wants me to write something on my paper… I’ll just write hang in there… .since I have no clue what the hell he’s talking about… i

See how it works… if my walls are barren except for some colored paper, all the kids have is work… there’s no sensory overload.

I do want a picture of a guy making french fries with the words “YOU IF YOU DON’T LEARN TO READ” on it…that might be fun.

I do need to get some more desks though… about 10 more. (sorry, thinking out loud)

I should explain this site to any new readers, or fellow district employees who read this site. Think of the next part as a disclaimer.

This site in no way reflects the opinions or views of anyone but ME. It is not intended to offend anyone, in any way. That being said, it may not jibe with your views and/or opinions of educators, and the educational system, if so, I apologize. I don’t speak of anyone by name, even myself. I intend for this site to be strictly one person’s opinions and views of a stressful, and sometimes unnerving job, that most people never really pay attention to. I keep it anonymous for the specific reason that I don’t wish to offend students, faculty, or district employees who may stumble across this site. While this site contains a lot of grumbling and mumbling about the task I endure 5 days a week, it isn’t intended to suggest I totally despise my job, or am ungrateful to be here. I think people need to know that teaching IS a hard job, and depending on your situation, a VERY HARD job, that many people don’t realize. I don’ say anything about anyone I wouldn’t, or don’t say to their face. I’m don’t spread rumors, or report false information. I am man who tries as hard as he can to do a job he receives very little gratitude for. In order to do my job better, I need to write about it, and get a lot off my chest. This allows me work better, and I am less likely to take the daily stress, and irritants out on students, or put go on medication. I write most of my posts during lunch, before, or after school, and on rare occasions when the kids are watching a film. I don’t waste my educational minutes working on my posts. If I have work with students to do, I do it, I don’t sit and write my journal. We took staff surveys that listed keeping an educational journal as something we SHOULD do, as a way to grow professionally. I decided to make mine accessible to the public, as a way to help, or inform other educators, would be educators, or whomever about the teaching profession, more importantly continuation education. It also makes it easy for me to look back and reflect, and change the way I do things. I can see what worked and what didn’t work so well. All this being said, I hope you find the information here helpful, or maybe even slightly amusing. Keep in mind its only one man’s opinion.

Now that that’s been done, let’s get on with the show.

I hope to have the disclaimer be the first thing you see when you go to the site. I think if people see something like that they are less likely to take offense to it, and accept the page for what it is.

For those of you who didn’t or don’t feel like reading year one let me sum up my situation.

I teach at a continuation school. A continuation school is a set-up for kids who don’t fit in a typical high school for various reasons. Discipline, Attendance, Grades, Etc. They come here to try again. Typically these kids are a little bit rough around the edges. They have very low skills all around, and aren’t very fond of being in school. Most of these kids come from less than desirable home lives, and coming to school here might be the only decent interaction with other humans they get all day long, and maybe the only meal. It’s sad, depressing, and just all around gloomy. On the bright side a few of these kids actually graduate, and go on to be successful fry chefs at many fantastic diners across the city. 3% or fewer go onto a college, or a trade school, another 5% go into some sort of military life. Then about 75% of the kids just stay bitter, and try and make my life miserable. I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it.

Think back to the last time you were in public education (not college) Remember those one or two kids in class that made class hard for the rest of the kids, constantly discussed inappropriate things, got terrible grades, were always late, cursed at the teacher, scared you, etc… then mysteriously one day disappeared… .they came to my classroom, or one just like it… you might even have been that kid. My class is made up with anywhere from 10-25 of those kids. Needless to say it keeps things very interesting. I don’t dumb down my expectations for the kids either. A lot of teachers in this field tend to dumb the work down, or expect less from the students, because typically, they’re at a far lower level than a inormali student. I don’t. I expect a high level from them, which I very rarely get. I am resented by the students for this, and they make my life even more rough because I won’t let them skate by. I won’t change my standards, even if it causes me to be the ia****** teacheri, or chastised by colleagues. That’s just the way I am, every school needs that jerk who doesn’t let you get away with anything, and we didn’t have that person until I showed up… I’m happy to fill that role, even if 98% of the students will never appreciate it.

One thing that became clear to me this summer (for an unknown reason) was our school safety. We spend a lot of time here going over safety drills, and what to do in case of an emergency, etc. I was driving around the other day, (actually, I was lost in the wilderness… ) I realized that in cases like Columbine, and other schools where shootings have taken place. There is NOTHING you can do to prevent it. It’s kind of scary to think about. There isn’t anything to prevent it from happening. You might be able to detect the kids who are a little off-kilter before they snap in some cases. If someone really wants to go to a school and start blasting, there’s not a lot to prevent it. Anyone can call, or go into a school and get a copy of their schedule, and know exactly when breaks, and lunches are. In any of those situations there are so many bodies running about the campus that chaos is going to erupt, and no plan whatsoever is going to prevent major injuries, and trauma. I can honestly say, if a gunman starts opening fire on OUR campus, I am going to be so far hidden in my closet, with my door locked, that I won’t know what’s going on. That teacher in Columbine who died trying to rescue his students should be looked at as a totally rare individual, because 99% of the world is going to look out for themselves in that situation. I have two kids, and a wife whom I like to see everyday when I get home, and no idiot with a gun and a Marilyn Manson t-shirt is going to stop that from happening.

I’m not sure why I thought about all of this, but the concept scared me. I think it’s because I teach a group of kids who to me seems at risk for something like this. I’m really surprised that it doesn’t happen in schools more. It’s something to think about anyway.

Tomorrow is our iwelcome backi meeting with the entire district, locked in a un air-conditioned gymnasium, going over all kinds of things. There’s a slew of free doughnuts, and cheap coffee to be had, but other than that it’s a waste of time. I always look around and notice that about 30% of the teachers there are WAY too excited to be back, and it makes me wonder about their lives, and how boring they must be. I never feel rested at the end of summer, or ready to come back. Watching some of those people I think, iman, I must really be a louse to NOT want to come back to school… i I think if the educational system were designed to send us all to Tahiti or someplace exotic for the entire break we might actually get some rest, and relaxation, and be thankful and want to come back. Just a thought.

I’m off to secure lunch, and some desks for my room… I’ll be back tomorrow.

The Captain has turned off the summer vacation light, it is now safe to start the school year.

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One Comment
  1. Eduardo permalink

    Ahhh yeah!
    It’s good to have you back. Nice epic long post, too.
    I hope to see more pictures this year of your students notebooks, graffiti, scans of confiscated notes, etc…

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