Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Days Until the Science Expo: 7

Low attendance at parent-teacher(-student) conferences today, thanks to the snow coming down thick, white, and oblivious to the imminent arrival of spring. As always, it went just fine. I had a few "your child's doing great, keep up the good work" type of conferences, a few "he did better in homework but worse on quizzes" type of conferences, way too many "she still never turns in any work and I just don't have anything new to tell you" type of conferences, and several "this so-called-conference is really just a chance for this mom to yell at her son in front of me" type of conferences. Now I get a short break until the second session, on Thursday. I'm wondering if the other shoe will drop and 90 parents will show up in one two-hour session....

My colleague who was out on maternity leave is back this week. It is so, so great to have her at school again, and although certain things are frustrating for her (the slightly degraded condition of her room, the fact that the seventh graders totally "got over" on the sub), she's handling the transition really well. The sad thing is, she's actively looking for a job closer to her home in New Jersey for next year. She is such a presence in our school - she works really well with our principal (and helps her get work done), and she is really strict with the kids, in a very loving way. I don't see any of us able to step into her shoes next year, though we each have our own strengths. We were trying to convince her to take a half-time teaching, half-time dean position, but we found out yesterday that the dean position is wishful thinking.

Which brings me to the bad news: it turns out we are going to have exactly eight teachers next year. We get to hire only TWO more teachers beyond the six we have now. This has all been calculated according to formula, and of course they have to stick to their formulas, but it is going to be rough. Most of us will be teaching three separate subjects next year! For example, I will likely have two different grades for Science, plus 4 periods of... something else. Gym, health, chess, art....? Everyone else will be in a similar situation. What it all adds up to is that I am going to have to get a LOT of planning done this summer, which will affect my decision about what type of summer program to attend, if any, and also, we really, really need to find a physical science or chem teacher who can also teach a foreign language or art. Does that person even EXIST? Oy.

In other news, two teachers at my school know about my blog. I confessed to one, because I didn't think she'd care that much and I just got tired of no one knowing. Then, at my little get-together on Saturday, a friend blurted out something about my blog, and another teacher who was there perked up her ears. "I didn't know you had a BLOG!" It's different, writing when you know people in your audience will see you at work the next day, care about the same students you do. I can't explain HOW it's different, but it is.

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