Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm A Freakin' Genius

Hey! Guess what? I'm a freakin' genius, that's what! I just figured
out why I am always rushed and never have time to get my
work done at school! Are you ready? Drumroll...I have six
preparations and one planning period. Get it? That works out
to...umm...let's see...8 MINUTES AND 20 SECONDS PER
CLASS! Good thing I'm a math teacher. And a freakin' genius.

No wonder I have to stay after school every day. I can't plan
lessons and code them to the Grade Level Expectations or
even to the Missouri Frameworks and find materials to use
for guided practice (cause I don't have any books) and run
copies and grade papers and enter those grades in that rusty
old computer grading program that runs like DOS and take
the school climate surveys for both buildings and nominate
kids I don't know for student-of-the-month and send in a
paragraph about what my classes are doing next month for
the newsletter and compile data for my program and get it
ready to mail out with the board packet by Friday and grade
those ISS papers that come back several weeks after we've
moved on and wait in line at the copier for somebody's cadet
teacher to run copies for the rest of the year in 50 MINUTES
PER DAY. I try. But it can't be done. Even by a freakin' genius.

Thank you all for playing the world's smallest violin for me.
I was jonesin' for some string music. Which begs the question:
Is a fiddle just a violin for hillbillies? Because I don't know the
difference, except that I've never heard of anybody bragging
that he has a Stradivarius fiddle.

I love my job. I really do. But sometimes, I you say...
inadequate. Les incompetent, as the big sister told Kevin in
Home Alone. Here's an example.

My language kids have been reading a poem, 'Snake', by
D. H. Lawrence. Well, not so much reading as trying to
go to their happy places while I force-feed poetry to them.
It's not a bad poem. I even researched it a bit on my own
time so I could fill them in on the stuff they fail to see, like
the sibilance, and the reference to the albatross in Rime
of the Ancient Mariner, and how 'Sicilian July' means that
the setting is Italy, and that Etna is a volcano, etc.

After discussing the imagery, and alliteration, and similes,
and personification, and going over vocabulary words
taken from the poem, and drawing chronological panels
like a comic strip (where one little guy had the snake
shouting 'Mama mia!' when the 'clumsy log' was thrown
at him)...I asked for a simple half-page summary of what
each thought the poem 'Snake' was all about.

And I got: I think it's about someone whose land was taken
away by the government, and a bunch of other homeless
people who might lose theirs.

NO! No, no, no, no, no, no, NOOOO!

I admit it's not quite as frustrating as DeadpanAnn's student
buying candy before going into the doll store (you have to
read it to reach the full level of frustration), but by cracky,
I spent days on this. And in case you haven't read 'Snake'
for yourself, let me assure you that there is no mention
whatsoever of the government or eminent domain or
the homeless. The title is SNAKE, for cryin' out loud!!!
Could this urchin not even throw in "...and a snake." just
to humor me?

Let me answer for you: No.

It's almost as bad as that time a 9th grader argued with me
that the Chinese attacked the Japanese at Pearl Harbor,

She complained to the science teacher that I didn't know
anything about history.

Make it stop. For the love of Gummi Mary...make it stop.


Chickadee said...

And of course you don't get paid overtime for all of that extra work you're doing off the clock. I know how that salaried thing sucks. They know how to get ya.

deadpanann said...

You're not les incompetent. You're just working sans appreciation.

Hey, look on the bright side-- at least you have a copier. :)

Hillbilly Mom said...

Yeah. That's what I liked when I worked for the unemployment office. I walked in at 8:00 to start work, and I walked out at 5:00. I just shoved incomplete determinations back into their files to work on the next day. And I didn't think about them one minute overnight.

Miss Ann,
I think I agree. I do without a lot.

Yes, we have one copier in the first building, and two in Basementia. But they take turns working, like the folks behind the Wal*Mart return counter.

Stewed Hamm said...

Everyone knows the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor... I saw it in a movie, so it must be true.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Yeah...imagine not knowing the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. Seven years of College down the drain!!!

Brad said...

Pearl Harbor was bombed? I thought she quit drinking back in '43?

As for your preps, I can relate.
Grade 6 teacher, 8 preps and one prep period.

I have found the best way to handle it is just stop correcting papers. Who needs it?


Hillbilly Mom said...

She's a boozy floozy, our Pearl.

See, you elementary teachers are supposedly trained in how to do that crap, and parcel out your plan time with 30 minutes here during Art or Music, and 20 minutes there during Library, and all that jazz. That's not for me. I didn't plan on having 6 preps. But at least I don't have THE SAME KIDS ALL FREAKIN' DAY. I don't see how it can be tolerated. Our 6th graders switch classes at the Middle School, but those teachers STILL have the kids twice a day, like for Reading and Language, and Science and Social Studies. They all have Elementary Ed. degrees, and don't like the system much, wishing for sweet little 1st-graders to wipe the snot from all the live-long day.

As far as grading those papers, I have come to love board races, journal writing, and participation grades. What they don't know can't hurt them.