Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You don't have to do everything... (by Bet)

Yesterday my teaching partner opened up a Dove chocolate and found this message inside the wrapper:  "You don't have to do everything".  This may be true but it sure feels as if you should.

I am hoping that writing about my "everything" at school will help put it into perspective.  Then again, maybe I just want someone to complain to.

Fourteen days of school left for most, ten days of school left for seniors. 

In my ninth/tenth grade class students are learning to classify leaves (remember bug collections?) and  finishing Earth Abides.  Well, most are finishing, some are just starting.  There are three essays in my outbox and a new one coming into my in box on Friday.  Essays in my class are used to both show learning and practice writing skills.  I can't hope to keep up if I want them to actually write on a regular basis.  Justification at its best, maybe I am just lazy.

In my eleventh/twelfth grade class students are learning Parli Pro and are preparing for Model UN.  This is the first year we are embarking in Model UN at our little high school.  The teacher who wanted to do it just had a new child and it turns out has no idea how Model UN is organized.  This has been left to myself and before mentioned partner.  We are in over our head.  We only have eight more school days left to pull it off.   The other English teachers who have seniors are not even interested in learning about it.

In twelfth grade AP the students are also preparing for Model UN and studying Theater of the Absurd.  Finals for this class will include three more essays.  I have a twelve inch stack of revisions to grade for them.

Yesterday at the staff meeting I was told that I had to have grades in for seniors in six days.  That is four days before their last day of school.  I was informed that I needed to get things graded quickly because otherwise they could not do their job.  I believe they were trying to make me feel guilty because they had to work on a weekend.  I wonder if they wake up at 2 am to grade papers so that their job won't interfere with their family life?  Wow.  That sounded bitter.

Today I am gone because I have the last of a series of ELL trainings.  I got elected via the Life Cereal motto.  Remember the slogan, "Mikey will try it" when no one else wants to?  In my school when it has to do with English and no one else knows how or what to do it becomes, "Bet will do it."  The scary thing is is that I am not sure I want it any other way. 

Our state's reading and writing portfolio for students who can't pass the state test is due early next week.  Guess who gets to make sure they are done, put together correctly and sufficient?  No, I don't get paid to do it.

The Environmental Club received a grant to make over a portion of my classes vegetable garden into a habitat garden.  (As mentioned before, I don't garden.  Things tend to just die.)  The group finally got it together and spent yesterday afternoon cleaning things out.  When I visited the local nursery I was told they don't even know the plants on the list.  What?  I said.  Turns out that the people they hire at the local nursery don't garden either.  A very nice employee followed me out and said that she worked at a different nursery in a different town and they had everything on my list.  So my drive time became two hours instead of fifteen minutes.  The garden needs to be in and the report written by June 2. 

I have a zoo field trip to plan and execute on the fourth of June with the Older/Younger program I run with the local day care.  It is our culminating activity and the little kids first experience on a real school bus.  It will be fun if my hair doesn't turn completely white before that.

Sometime in there I need to go the middle school and interview kids for my ninth grade class.  I run the alternative class and this year students are finally going to have a choice about whether they want to join.  I'm tired of people deciding to put kids in my program because they look like the kind of kid they believe should be in my class.  It drives me crazy.

I'm sure I'm missing something that will come back to bite me later, but I do feel better.  Plus, if you've made it this far you have to be wishing I'd just finish up or put in a picture or two.  The camera is still a nightmare, so blogging will continue to be picture-less. Sorry.

My own children are happy despite the craziness at school.  The husband went back to work this week which is a good thing, despite him leaving at 4:30 am and coming home at 6.  The girl has a record player which has been so much fun.  I found a bunch of records with songs that took me back at Goodwill and we have been having a good time dancing.   The boy has a real lab in which he has been gleefully mixing colors and growing severed body parts in.  Thank you Steve Spangler Science!

What is your "everything"?

 Oh, and Kat?  You proofread my work, not the other way around. 


  1. Bet! So nice to see you. We do understand the workload you are under though. Big love Bella

  2. Holy Cow!!! I will not complain about the one class I still need to finish grading papers for after this.

  3. I keep reading this--over and over--trying to figure out how to help. Urg. Can't figure out how! I'll come garden, or even grade papers if you don't mind me flunking each and every one of them...
    Do you remember I started a mock UN group in high school? There were three of us, as I recall.
    It was really a big joke--except for a few really big districts to the west, no schools showed evidence of any pre-planning or studying.
    I liked to represent Finland. They usually followed the (then) USSR's lead, but maintained their own identity pretty well. Besides, nobody knew enough about Finland's politics to argue with me!