|Friday, Feb. 02, 2007 || A day from the hot place|
Oh. My. Word.
This has been some day, to say the least. Most of you know that I am a substitute teacher. This year I am subbing at the very small, private, Christian school that our children attend. There is a daycare and a school, K-3 through 12th grade. For the most part, I really enjoy it. I love to teach, and I get to choose when I teach, and sometimes who. I don't usually have to do a lot of prep because generally I am called in for just a day. So, unlike when I was teaching full-time last year, my day starts and ends at arrival and when that final bell rings.
And then there are days like today. I was asked to fill-in for a teacher for 3 days. Today, Monday, and Tuesday. I have subbed for this teacher, and he usually leaves plenty of work and copious notes. So, of course, I said yes.
When I got to his classroom, he had each classes' manuals and papers in nice, neat piles with the attendance book for said class on top. I was impressed. Then I opened up the first attendance book in search of the lesson plans.
Next set of books. Same thing. And so on and so forth.
Now, there were sticky tabs at various places in the manuals. And sometimes a date was written in the margin. And for a few classes there were copies of tests, so it was obvious what needed to be done for that class.
I don't mind adding stuff to a lesson, but I really like to find such things out BEFORE THE STUDENTS ARRIVE AND ASK WHAT THE HECK WE ARE DOING THAT DAY.
I guess that kind of set the tone and put me on edge. But as a sub, I realize that there are days like these and part of my job is to, indeed, wing it. And I can usually do that pretty well - and once I got over the initial frustration, was succeeding for the first two classes of the day.
The upper school, where I was teaching, is on block schedule, so with two classes down, lunch came and went and I was feeling pretty good. I knew in advance that the next class - 7th and 8th grade Literature - would be a challenge, as there are quite a few problem kiddos. Our structured, follow-the-rules 7th grader is in the this class, and he has often come home frustrated with their antics.
It all began when one kid, ever so innocently (yes, you may insert sarcasm there) asked, "Mrs. L, did you write the notes you gave us in Science class last week?"
(I'd filled in for one teacher for a whole week, and rather than just read the book to them, I made an outline of the section and put it on the overhead to make discussion time easier.)
"Yes, I did."
"Well, Mrs. H. said you didn't write those!"
At first, I was a bit perturbed. I'd spent A LOT or prep time that week for that teacher's classes. She did not leave good plans. I like her a lot, but she is not, in my opinion, a good fit for the middle school and high school classes that she is teaching for the first time this year. We have very different teaching styles, and since I was in there for a whole week, I read the material and presented it in a format that worked well for me and hopefully helped the students.
So, to hear them say that - at first - got my dander up a bit. Then I remembered my head and realized who the students were doing this "she said-she said" with me. Lie-to-your-face types.
"Well, then, why don't we go see Mrs. H. after class and we can talk to her about this." I said.
Of course, that was met with "Nah, Mrs. L, we don't need to do that...Nevermind...It's okay..." but I assured them that we would indeed make a little visit and set the record straight.
I gave the class some time to review for their test, then began asking them some questions to make sure they were prepared. My son raised his hand to answer one, which he answered correctly. I looked down and started to read the next question, when I heard a lip smacking sound followed by a derisive "Mommy!"
Do I even need to tell you that Mama Bear came out to play at that moment?
"Who said that?" I demanded.
"You better tell me now. I want to know who said it. Someone better fess up."
Finally one of the duo who started the did-you-write-that controversy raised his hand and said, "I did."
As I started dealing with him on that and told him how disrespectful and rude that comment was, etc., and how he owed me and my son an apology, #2 of the duo started mocking the situation along with a kid who has given my son problems in the past.
Long story short, I sent the trio down to the administrator and took a few minutes to let the rest of the class know how totally inappropriate such behavior is and how disappointed I am that they have such horrible manners and are so unkind (this is not the first time these kinds of things have happened).
I was so angry that I shot off an email to my husband telling him that if these kids' behavior didn't drastically change or if they weren't gone next school year, that we would pull our kids.
Note: our kids are on scholarship because of their behavior and academics, so even though they wouldn't lose money if we withdrew them, they would be losing the very types of kids that the school is trying to attract. Don't get me wrong, my kids are not perfect. But they are overall "good" kids.
After class, I saw Mrs. H and, since the boys who I was going to bring to her class to discuss the "notes" issue were awaiting a talking-to by the administrator, I talked to her about it. Of course, they were full of poo-poo, so the two of us went down to the office and made it clear to the boys that we were united and they can't just go talking crap about one teacher to another.
During the last class of the day, which was a planning hour for me, I spoke with two of the three administrators. I told them about both situations, in length. Come to find out, one of the students and his father were told just that morning that he was on his last chance. Just before I left the school, the upper school administrator let me know that he was being kicked out.
One of the other students came to me unprompted and apologized. That was encouraging, because I really liked this kid last year, and he has a lot of potential - and I told him that. But it has been like he's had a brain transplant. I hope I was able to encourage him a little bit to make better decisions - he's very intelligent, and he is just throwing it in the trash this year with his punk attitude and lack of attentiveness.
As I was gathering up my supplies and kids, the business manager gave me an envelope. "This was in the outgoing mail, but since you are here..." he said.
I haven't mentioned it here, but about two weeks ago the senior pastor asked the church body to commit to some things that I had some issues with. So, I wrote a little note at the bottom saying that I felt I could only commit to one of the 6 or 7 items.
He sent me a letter expressing his concerns and asking some questions. I replied to that letter last weekend. Two full pages. Took forever to write, and rewrite, and Rob looked it over and verified that I had explained my reasons well and also expressed legitimate concerns.
The letter the BM handed me was the pastor's response. He took one sentence that I wrote - out of two freakin' pages - and told me all the reasons why he disagreed with me in the matter, then closed the letter with "I promise I will not turn this into a debate as this will be my last response on your note and letter."
Didn't address a single concern! And with that final statement, isn't he basically saying, "I will not discuss any of the other things you wrote to me about"?
Can we say frustrated, boys and girls?
Anyway. If you made it through this entire entry, thanks for hearing me out.
And thank God it is Friday. And that we will be out of town this weekend and visiting a different church!
Just a reminder - Friday, Aug. 10, 2007
Rockin' Girl Blogger - Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2007
A good end - Friday, Jun. 01, 2007
Moving on? Yes and no. - Monday, May. 07, 2007