Monday, February 28, 2005

Complications

I had the usual end-of-vacation anxiety for the last couple of days. I think that I work best under a certain amount of pressure, and when vacation is coming to an end, my relaxed mind and body try to reset themselves back to that productive level of pressure, but they overcompensate, and I end up staring at the building across the alley at 3 am.

It was a good day, teaching-wise. The eighth graders were a little rambunctious but we are wrapping up the student-taught lessons and getting ready for a quiz on invertebrates, so things weren't that structured. I am confident that once we start our unit on plants, which is very structured, they'll be fine. The sixth graders, whom I see twice in a row, for PE and then Health, were pretty good and I actually had a blast with them, even with the Bad Attitude Clique (as I have christened a particularly snarky group of girls in that class). We played our first real game of volleyball in PE, and it was going so well that I let them keep on playing for the first 10 minutes of Health class, until they finished the game. Then, in Health, nearly everyone had done the homework (and it was quality work, too!) so we went over it and then played a game of Health Jeopardy to review dental hygiene and other topics. I hate games but the kids were well-behaved and didn't argue over every judgment call I had to make. Maybe it's just that I've finally learned how to structure games to prevent most of the common problems.

So what are the complications? you ask.

Well, one of our teachers is moving out of state and has pretty much decided to leave at the end of next week instead of at the end of June. He and his partner found an apartment over vacation and want to move right in. He doesn't seem to care that he's screwing us over, as someone is going to have to take over his classes, and who does he think that's going to be? And what about the kids? And what about two weeks' notice? I could rant and rant and rant, but I'll spare you. We've put in a phone call to TFA and the Fellows, but if you know any good math teachers who need jobs, send 'em my way. (The silver lining in all of this is that his schedule was about 8 periods of actual teaching and the rest push-in to support other math teachers, so we don't have quite as many classes to cover as we would if he had a full teaching schedule. Keep in mind, though, that we made him a push-in teacher because we felt that would help the kids - it's not something we can just scrap mid-year).

Then I checked my email before leaving school to find an email from my potential exchange partner. Turns out she teaches HS Health and PE. I could probably handle Health, but I really, really can't see myself as a high school PE teacher! I do the 6th grade PE class because it needs to be done, not because I'm really qualified to do it... Her schedule is 80% PE, 20% Health. *sigh* I replied and asked whether there was any possibility that her school could be flexible about this - I would be okay with a full schedule of Health, for example. If they can't be flexible, then I will probably decline the exchange, and I don't think the odds are good that Fulbright would offer me another. I'm pretty disappointed but I'm trying not to get too disappointed until I know for sure.

The funny thing is that my school would LOVE to have an experienced PE and Health teacher; we already were planning to hire a teacher for a full schedule of PE and Health next year when we are finally big enough to support that.

Well. I may post more later because I have some thoughts on the student-taught lessons that I wanted to share, and a recipe I promised I'd post, and some reflections on a meeting with another teacher, and some stuff I found out about middle school advisories and, and, and... But to make myself feel better, I'm going to make lasagna and cross my fingers that the snow keeps falling and falling!

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