Saturday, September 10, 2005

Not what I'd expected for the first days of school.

I've been wanting to write a post since Tuesday night but I haven't had internet access. Sooo much has gone on in the past two days that I couldn't even recount it all now so I thought I'd go with the brief recap . . .

Tuesday I got to school armed with my fun decorations. I tried to start setting up my classroom but it was nearly impossible because the math and literacy coaches still hadn't moved out of my room. I only put up one border and then spent the rest of the day helping them move their stuff so that I could get to my classroom which was buried in books and furniture. Rather than being super grateful to me for all of the free manual labor that I was doing for them, they would yell at me for putting a box a books in the math area and not the literacy corner. The day ended with the custodians putting all the furniture I moved into the hallway (which belonged to the coaches) BACK in my room. Then I was forced to leave at 4pm because they were waxing the hall outside my room. I left feeling sooo frustrated.

Wednesday was a MUCH better day. I finally decorated my room, got all of the coaches' stuff out of my room, set up my filing system and worked on all of the little details. I put up paper and borders on almost every inch of wall space. I especially liked how I decorated the door and space above the chalk board with "Welcome" in 20 languages. I took quite a lot of work to find a rug and tables and chairs but by 730pm I left school with my room looking great and totally in order for the first day of school.

The first day of school was kind of a weird day. I didn't have any students so I worked on some more details for my room. Later I took a field trip to the school across the street and met with the ESL teacher who has been there for eight years. She was so helpful. I finally had someone sit down with me and explain exactly what I have to do as far as figuring out what kids I have, testing and forming pull-out groups. My administration told me nothing. Everything was going great until 2 o'clock. That's when they called me into the Principal's office (along with seven other teachers) and told me that they were taking away my room. My beautiful room that I loved so much and spent so much time on. They decided that due to space issues they were moving me into the room with the coaches. (I should mention that the room with the coaches is the exact same size as the classroom I'd previously had to myself. Small and cozy. I'd say a third of the size of a regular classroom.) They said that I'd get half the room and they would put up a partition and the coaches would share the other half. They said "Sorry about the inconvenience but it's not about you. It's about the kids. Just remember that." Can you believe they tried to use "It's about the kids" in this situation? Needless to say I was really upset. I walked out of the building at 3pm because I just couldn't deal with taking down all of my hard work just then.

Today I just worked on moving all of my stuff up to the first floor. So many teachers passed by my room today giving me sympathy for having to move and telling me how great my room looked. (and then telling me about the year they had to move four times). Every time I wanted to break into tears. When I finally got all my stuff moved the AP came and told me that I had to cover two periods of social studies. When I asked her what I was supposed to do with them she handed me a huge American History book and said "Is there anything in this book that you're more familiar with than another? You have an hour to prepare." I did get something prepared for them to do on the fly (not American history) but both classes were so wild and out of control that we never got past the "Do Now." I got back to my new room at three o'clock and the coaches STILL hadn't cleared out a space for me. It seems like the might be trying to renegotiate the half/half arrangement. Basically the last two days have sucked. And all this is not to mention the absurd bureaucracy that I'm just now starting to understand and the rumors that if my ESL case load isn't big enough I'll be sent to a second school.

It's hard to believe that I'm wasting so much school time with all this moving and BS. I haven't even had time to go through the cumulative records and figure out which kids are mine and start testing them so that EVENTUALLY I can form classes and start teaching.

I hope things get better next week . . .

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