Saturday, May 23, 2009

School Days

Okay, so I have been hesitant to write about my job on my blog, because there are always security issues. That was when I thought I might still be working for CMS next year. However, my job is end-of-the-year contracted and my position will not be there for me next year. In addition, I have been thinking a lot about it and I'm not too excited to work in the county because there are a lot of policies that drive me crazy. Maybe it is because my school is completely disorganized and I would feel different somewhere else, but I feel like there is so much extra expected from the teacher for such a meager salary. In all honesty if we stay in Charlotte I am looking to work in a office, because I will be paid the same amount with better benefits. However, Joe and I have been thinking about it a lot and this provides us with an opportunity to look at making a move. We may choose to go somewhere that we love versus where the "jobs" are. In the process we hope to find work to live in the area and work our way into the school system. It is one of our ideas right now. He also found a cool position that opened up in Bermuda....wouldn't that be fun to go there? Once again, we will figure it out with time. At this point I am in complete survival mode. I want to quit my job so bad, but I feel that I should finish it out, plus I really only have two and a half weeks...I can do it....I CAN do it...

So just to give you an idea of how school was last week. We gave the students their standardized tests (the EOGs) which was tiring on everyone. So on Monday morning I had my first block, 8th graders who were all worked up. They were beating on the desks and screaming "EOGs" in a rap like manner. In all honesty it might have been fun, if I wasn't trying to listen for announcements about when to start the test and send off two students to other rooms. So the proctor finally came into the room and we had to threaten them to get them quit. I had to tell them that I would have to write it down as an irregularity for talking during the test and they may all have to take it again. This mostly worked and thankfully they took the test without any hitches. It was a long three hours though and everyone was hungry. I felt bad for them too, because according to the schedule the 8th graders would be the last to eat that day. Imagine my surprise when I turned in all my materials and I found out that I was supposed to take my kids to lunch. Apparently they decided not to go with the schedule at all and kids from all grades were at lunch as a free for all.

I was just thinking, "okay, so when do I get my second block and then my third, because I have not had lunch yet and I was planning to eat during my planning." At this point it was about 1:30 so I was beginning to worry that I would not get a planning at all. I didn't think I was going to be able to eat, once again I was getting grumpy. After a lot of confusion on the teachers part, we found out that we did have our planning and then about 30 minutes of the fourth block. It was a long day and I was grumpy so of course I came home upset and then fought with my husband...let's just say this seems to be happening more often because we are both so unhappy.

Tuesday. More testing. It was a long math test, but a least the schedule was much better put together. Only one irregularity to report...a student in my class decided to listen to his ipod during the test. After circling the room and with only 20 minutes left in class he put an earphone in. Oh, and then after they were dismissed from my class he asked for the ipod back! Um, what? I also was fortunate to get two plannings because of my mix of teaching two grades. I also went for a good workout at night, so I couldn't complain. However, I did notice that the kids were crazier than ever after the tests. You would have thought it was the last day of school for them.

Wednesday. The last test is given out. My students did a good job. Let me tell you I would be tired of testing too. Three hours each day would be overwhelming. Anyhow, my classes afterwards were just as crazy as I could have expected. Especially because no one was suspended so I had a crazy class to deal with. Fortunately I got two plannings again, so I was grateful. However, a riot broke out at my school with seventh and sixth graders running around the school with security going after them. Normally we don't allow the different grade levels to change at the same time, because there are too many gang issues and fights break out. So of course the security and administration were worried by these kids running around the school (oh, we have outdoor hallways). So after school we had a staff meeting and our principal yelled at everyone for being irresponsible teachers. This pissed us off, because it was unprofessional and I'm tired of him not trusting or respecting his teachers. In fact, the whole thing was a miscommunication from administration anyways. The AP made an overhead announcement to check email for the schedule for the rest of the day, but elective teachers were in the lunch room monitoring, and of course they could not hear. Not to mention you can't really check email with students in the room...some classes that would be difficult to do. So the sixth graders were sent out before the seventh because the elective teachers did not know better. It was nobody's fault really, but completely upsetting to be yelled at for 20 minutes.

Thursday. No tests, so we were on a normal schedule, but North Carolina allows students to retake their standardized tests so we were in relooping schedule. No kids are being suspended, because they need the practice, just in case they did not pass. So classes are in full swing chaos. Plus, they feel like school is over so trying to convince them that they need to work is a chore. My 4th block came into my room (this group happens to be my worst class and let me tell you they are terrible). Right away I am talking with three or four of the good kids in that room, bless their hearts, when one of my most frustrating students came into the room and pulls the hairband out of my hair and says, "you look better with your hair down." I could not believe that he had just done that. Honestly, this is a minor offense. I deal with kids cursing at me. They write on the walls, the desks, the books. They break my crayons and colored pencils (supplies I bought with my own money) and throw them across the room. They cheat, lie, steal, and fight. There are days when two girls come into my room in a fight and I can't get them to shut up so I have to get security to escort them out. I could go on, but lets stick to this weekly schedule. So after he pulled my ponytail out I replied, "GO SIT DOWN! REMEMBER, I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND, I AM YOUR TEACHER. YOU DO NOT TOUCH ME!" That put a scowl on my face and the next student to enter the room said, "Are you made Mrs. D?" As I try to compose myself enough to give them book work, I notice that a security officer keeps asking for a few students from my room. I can really only give students in this class bookwork anymore, because they won't let me teach. I am more of a babysitter, making sure no one gets hurt. With bookwork I can keep my eyes on the room and keep part of my sanity. So as these kids are pulled out of the room and come back in they have to tell everyone what it is all about. "So-and-So thinks I stole her earphones." Well, one of the kids did steal her stuff and was denying it so the security officer made a scene. Many of the other trouble makers were defending him and making bullying comments about the girl who had something taken from her. Eventually the accused student got out of his seat and retrieves the earphones, which he throw under my tv stand. At that point most of the kids were just crazy and I couldn't get anyone to work and it was just getting louder and louder. I had enough, so I asked security to take out four of the worst. After passing out progress reports and most of them seeing their terrible grades I had another student get irate. She freaked out, accused me of favoritism, racism, and she couldn't understand how she had a D when she completed all the work. I had to remind her that completing work was not enough, she also need to do it well. Fortuntately it calmed down for a bit after she was gone.

Friday. Surprisingly, my day was not so bad. The thing is, I am really not an angry person. I am tired of constantly yelling and arguing with students. I get so worked up that it can be hard to relax at all and I snap at people a lot. On Friday morning I had a really, really hard time getting up in the morning. I did not want to go through another day of work. Maybe my students sensed this, because they were not so bad. Plus, a lot of students were absent...THANK HEAVENS! I was expecting a much worse day, so it was good that it was a mild day. Not too much yelling at kids.

I'm ready for it to be over. I can't even really begin to explain what it is like. Imagine rude, disrespectful kids who have many family problems. They come to school upset and angry, hungry or tired. Then throw in the fact that they are at a transitional time of development. They will fight with their friends, make new friends, change their style, or rebel against the system...that is part of being a teenager. Except, they also get high, or do other drugs. They bully each other worse than I have ever witnessed. Plus, many of them are really low learners...really low. So the work we give them is hard and they don't want to push themselves. I can't even get my students to write in complete sentences or read directions. I am tired and I have realized that teaching multiple years in an urban school is hard to do. I am not built for the job. Maybe it would get better, but every teacher I talk with at my school is burnt out. It is nothing like what I have experienced before. I just feel like it is a lot to do for the amount of money that I make...maybe I need to move on.

So this might give you a taste of why I don't blog anymore. I am tired. I am angry. I am sick of my daily routine. I do nothing fun, because I come home at night and try to de-stress. Thankfully it is almost over. Joe and I are planning to go to New York to climb in the Adirondacks. We will also visit family and I get to see my good friend, Aferdita, who will be having her bridal shower! This will take about three weeks of June. I cannot wait. It will be nice for us to get away. When we return we will assess our future. Until then, PRAY FOR ME! :)


modestmuse said...

Oh my gosh, I have NO IDEA how you do it!!!!! Teaching itself terrifies me, let alone under those circumstances! You are amazing. I will pray for you -- you're almost done.

Karen said...

You just described some of my worst teaching nightmares. I still have them occasionally and I'm so glad when I wake up. My advice: 2nd grade. They are old enough to work independently and young enough to love their teacher. I discovered that while subbing. Good luck to you.

Travelin' Tracy said...

Megan- Most teaching is not like this. I knew going into an inner city school that I would be up against this, but it is a lot more emotionally draining than I expected. I guess I thought I was a better teacher than I am! Ha. At this rate I will be taking Friday off this week and if next week is still crazy then I will take a day then too. I am in survival mode.

Karen- I'm only certified for grades 6-12. Actually I like middle school ages, but the talking back is really terrible here. In fact, I get sucked in when they argue with me or talk over me and then I get louder and next thing I know, I am just as bad as them. Well, we will see how it all goes! Almost done...almost!

Update in February

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