School has been a madhouse lately. Baseball and softball regionals were in Palestine starting on Friday and running through today. My ninth grade students were preparing for their big state test, and I had to kick up a fuss to keep them from getting pulled out of class to work on the field. Teachers were assigned to work at the ballgames during school hours, which left the kids feeling, fairly, that they were kept in school for no good reason.
I’m cautiously optimistic about the Algebra test. I had been feeling really discouraged after my mock EOC returned disappointing results, but I’ve remediated a lot since then, and I think that, though the percent of students who score proficient might be lower, I’ll have more of my students score advanced. It starts tomorrow. The main obstacle keeping my students from blowing it out of the park is morale, so I plan to write them individualized encouragement cards tonight. I already hung some posters.
I wasn’t this concerned about scores last year, and I haven’t been thinking about them this year until recently. I guess I’m afraid that if my students don’t top the charts again I’ll lose any leverage I may have with the district. On the other hand, my “leverage” hasn’t earned me any favors this year: I first submitted a request for a new projector bulb last May, and when Sean came to observe my class last week he was surprised to find that I haven’t been exaggerating about teaching in the dark all year. On top of that, I found out today that the 8th grade Algebra class I wanted to create next year has been nixed. I’m pretty crushed. I had hoped to leave my mark on the district by kickstarting a group of students who could realistically pass an AP test, but, apparently, 8th grade Algebra would make our scores look bad. There are a lot of things wrong with this rationale, but let me just acknowledge the obvious (scores are more important than educating kids!? WTF?!) and ask the burning question HOW ON EARTH COULD THIS MAKE US LOOK BAD? Our scores for next year are going to be incomprehensible anyway, since we’re switching to common core, so this is a great opportunity to try something new. I’m hoping to have a chat with the Great Naysayer sometime soon to have my concerns heard. I am convinced that I will not be able to make a difference with the GN, since he’s the one who laid down the No Fieldtrips mandate (because they take away from learning time, apparently in contrast to baseball pullouts), approved the purchase of classroom printers but won’t approve ink, referred to sanctioned student murals as “graffiti”, and attacked a colleague’s personal values during a conversation in his office about a school-related conflict. I like my job and I love my kids, but I need to stop being compliant when I feel that people, myself included, are being abused. If this guy makes my life a nightmare, I’ll just take my mad math teacher skillz elsewhere and bite my thumb on the way out the door.
This weekend was rad. We gardened and gardened and gardened.
On Saturday, we went to Palestine to help the Spanish Club with their bake sale. I’m planning to accompany them on their trip to Costa Rica next summer, so I like to help out when I can. Here’s a link to the gofundme page if you’re interested in what the kids are up to. If you want to make a donation, do so here so that 100% of your donation goes to the trip. Gofundme takes a cut.
The Spanish Club couldn’t set up at the baseball field, which was a bummer, but they parked themselves at an intersection nearby and did some business. It was hot and sunny, but the kids are always hilarious and people were generous with us. Sean, Roma and I walked down to the field and watched a very little bit of the boys’ game, but missed the girls’ game entirely. As we were walking back to the bake sale, Roma and I and two of our friends stepped right over a baby copperhead without seeing it. What good is a dog that’s oblivious to snakes? Sean had his foot poised over it when he spotted the little bugger and launched himself balletically into the stratosphere, wailing “Weeeaaaah! Snaaake! Snaaaaaaake!” Sean doesn’t care for snakes.
We had dinner in town (mmmm fried pickles) with Mallory and went to the square for Arts in The Park on Saturday night. We sat on the grass listening to the band, visited with friends we don’t see often and shared a lonely waltz.
Easily the best part of the weekend was visiting our friends Butch and Linda on Sunday evening. Butch helped us slaughter our barbeque hog last spring; he’s an expert on all things critter. Linda is the lady behind Arts in the Park. We chatted for a couple of hours and made plans to get together for dinner and a tour of their farm sometime soon. I can’t wait! One of our summer goals is to spend more time with our neighbors.