Monday, December 14, 2009

Long Time, No See

I've been away for awhile...

School Stuff/Pain in my Arse:

--School has really been rough this year. The 8th grade house administrator is ill. In addition, his mother is terminally ill. Thus he misses school frequently. The "bad" students are AWFUL. In the hall roaming around up to 10 minutes after the bell. Yelling in the hallway. Acting like complete hooligans. Disrupting the learning process for those attempting to do the right thing. It has been very difficult. Only receiving "silent lunch" or a "conference with an administrator" when teachers write discipline referrals. The students are getting away with awful behavior---and they know it! SOOOOO frustrating!

--I'm the reading department head. This is an unpaid position, and the 3rd year I've had it. Generally, I've enjoyed the duties---attending meetings with other department heads, the principal, and house administrators; helping others in my department; pulling data and reports from the reading software programs we use, etc. This year, I'm a bit overwhelmed. I am the department head---no problem. However, I am also the "S.A.M. Administrator." This is a position that is held by a reading coach at most schools. My school doesn't have a reading coach because we're an "A" the role fell to me. As S.A.M. Administrator I am responsible for adding or deleting all reading students to the software system as students move into or out of our school. I'm also responsible for printing/presenting data reports to my principal and administrators as needed. I also attend quarterly (at a minimum) meetings with other S.A.M. workers in my county. I don't mind the "S.A.M." aspects overall...they just can be time consuming. (And it's also another unpaid duty.)

--The icing on the cake is that our contract requires each department to have a "Senate Rep" on the School Senate. The Senate meets twice a month to discuss "issues" in the school (everything from safety to testing to grading, etc.) I am one of only 2 department heads in my school who is also the Senate Rep for their department. (Also unpaid.) I spoke with my principal about feeling overwhelmed. I mentioned that I planned to ask one of the other 4 teachers in my department to take over the Senate Rep role. My principal was in agreement with this, even stating that she understands how it feels having so many meetings to attend. Last week at our department meeting I explained that due to Senate and Department Head meetings, I literally am booked for a meeting EVERY THURSDAY morning. I said that I was seeking help and would appreciate it if someone else would finish Senate for the year. I even suggested that perhaps people cover Senate for only one quarter---that way it wouldn't be all on one person. I even dangled the carrot that 2nd quarter is nearly over, so whoever picks up this quarter wouldn't have to do much, because I've already attended all the Senate meetings for the first half of the quarter. NO ONE was willing to take the rep position. I am stuck. I feel like I do EVERYTHING for my department. AAAACCCK!

--Another pain in my bum is reading quizzes. The reading program we use requires students to take a minimum of three book comprehension quizzes per quarter. Teachers have the ability to create quizzes as needed. I feel like I'm a little screwed---because I teach 8th graders, I am the only person in the department who has students who have been in the reading program for 3 years. Thus to date, I've made FORTY-TWO quizzes (including all the "Twilight," "Harry Potter," "Eragon," and "Bluford Series" books among others.) I make the quizzes, because by the time students are in my class, they've already tested on the majority of pre-made quizzes. In addition, they often want to read: a. Series books and b. High Interest books. Wanna take a wild guess how many quizzes the other teachers in my department have made? NADA. ZILCH. Zippo.'s like I'm running a one-woman show and the others are benefiting from my work. UGH!

--Anyway, I've been staying late after school nearly everyday because between Senate, SAM, and Department Chair, it's difficult to find time for my regular (paid and important) teaching duties. You know---like lesson planning and grading amongst other things. I'm behind on blogging and typing my holiday letter and other things that are important to ME because I keep doing all of these other school related duties. Sighs.

--I don't really see an "out" right now. But I do feel somewhat better now that I've vented. Thanks! :)

About Me: And now for a fun survey I found on my blog buddy, Mrs. Gamgee's blog (but which originated with Aunt Becky):

1) Do you like sprinkles on your ice cream? Nah...I don't hate them, but don't really see the "need" either.

2) If you had to choose one word to banish from the English language, what would it be and why? (Sorry for the vulgarity...) I'm going to have to say "twat." Why? I just find it a disgusting word with gross connotation for female anatomy.

3) If you were a flavor, what would it be? My first thought was "garlic." Followed closely by, "a flavor of what?" I mean if I'm going to be ice cream or fruit, I certainly wouldn't want to taste like garlic! But I am a big garlic fan, so I'll stick with my original answer. :)

4) What’s the most pointless annoying chore you can think of that you do on a daily/weekly basis?

--Home--I HATE mopping. Oh, wait. I don't do that daily/weekly. How about washing dishes?? Our dishwasher is broken, and I'm the one who hand washes 99% of the time.

--School/Work--I HATE that teachers are required to escort their classes to/from assigned tables in the cafeteria. Surely 8th graders could make it to/from lunch independently?

5) What’s your favorite nickname? (For yourself.) Lon. Only my closest friends and family call me Lon instead of Alana. I love it!

6) You’re stuck on a desert island with the collective works of 5 (and only five) musical artists for the rest of your life. Who are they?

--Bare Naked Ladies---LOVE their humor, sarcasm, and sound. One of the only groups DH and I own literally EVERY album they've ever had. (Including their fun "Snacktime" kids album from a few years ago.)

--Billy Joel---love his mellow style, 70s - 90s music, AND did you know he has a classical CD he composed all the music for? Amazing!

--Les Miserables Original Broadway Recording--I love Broadway musicals. I had a tough time narrowing the "Broadway" genre to only one soundtrack...but because Les Mis is long (2 discs) and is one of my favorites, it won out.

--Alanis Morrissette--angst, raw emotion, and mostly alto so I can sing along....gotta love it. (Hope I didn't butcher the spelling of her name.)

--SO hard to pick only 5. Hmmm.... I guess I'll end with "Lon's Jazz Jingles" a self-made CD I created a few years ago with many of my favorite jazz tunes. (Everything from Etta James to Lena Horne to "Sing, Sing, Sing" to Harry Connick, Jr.)

7) Everything is better with bacon. True or false? Definitely false. My Mom started making turkey bacon (instead of regular pork bacon) back when I was in high school. I followed suit. DH and I only purchase/cook turkey bacon. I can barely even stomach regular bacon now.

8 ) If you could go back in time, what would you tell your young self? Keep singing. I was always involved in chorus in elementary school, and Show Choir and Symphonic Choirs in my middle and high school years. I participated in the Women's Glee Club while at Ohio U. Now other than in the shower or as an outlet while driving, I don't sing much... I miss it.

I like Mrs. Gamgee's idea---are there any other random questions you'd like me to answer?

Two more school days until winter break. Definitely counting down!


Marie W said...

I was just wondering about you! Welcome back, but sorry you have all these overwhelming responsibilities. You sound just like me! Department Chair, SAC Chair, PLC Chair, Partnership committee member, TDIF Approval committee, and the list goes on. I know how you feel-I promised myself that next year I am giving them all up - I would love to just be a "regular" teacher. Only a few more days until Winter Break! I know Em must be so excited.

OppositeOfOops said...

Ok, I was feeling for you. I really was. You sound stressed out, and like you have a lot of crap you're dealing with. But - winter break?! I have officially lost all sympathy for you.


p.s. There's a restaurant in northern NJ called the Garlic Rose that has garlic ice cream. :)

Danifred said...

Holy busyness! No wonder you haven't been blogging lately.
I swear, education makes me want to strangle many broken things that need to be fixed!

By the way, I love garlic, I think that's a wonderful flavor to be :)

Beautiful Mess said...

I was thinking about you yesterday and then you commented on my blog! YAY, thanks for your comment, btw. It's nice to know a teacher sees my point.

Sorry work is so crazy! I know what it feels like to be doing EVERYTHING at a job. It's very frustrating. I hope someone else steps up and takes some of the load off of you.

Love the answers to those questions! I don't think I have any for you. If I think of any, I'll come back!

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

I am so sorry that work is draining so much of your time and energy these days - I agree with Sippy Cups! I hope that you are able to get some time to yourself and to enjoy your family during the holidays.

Sunny said...

Wow, that is REALLY unfair. I'm so sorry you are overwhelmed like that! Can you be a little firmer in your NOs... like talk to your principal and say that no one has stepped up for the Senate, but you need to stop attending the meetings because your other duties call. Then stop going! You can't do everything.

Good luck!

Lavender Luz said...

I hope you're getting some much-deserved down time by now!

I'm a BNL fan, too. Love em!