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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Friday, July 14, 2006

No More Teachers, No More Books

It took sometime, but I finally have a worthy new renter who goes by the name of Pointless Drivel. While I'm still learning about PD I can tell you this. The size of his umm, blogroll is really important to him. Oh and he writes a lot of funny stuff, too. So why not get my blogroll together with his blogroll and make some magic happen!

Finally. I now have a few spare moments to write about the last days of school. What? It's only three weeks after the fact, one of which I was on vacation. Cut me some slack.

As anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows, it was a difficult year. The year before this one, I had what politically correct educators would call a "challenging" class. Then this last bunch came along and made the so-called class from the year prior look like paddy cake, assuming I actually knew what "paddy cake" was, that is.

Anyway, with the end of the year comes a lot of summative paperwork. One of the things my school does is hold an awards ceremony. Actually, this year they decided to break it up into two awards ceremonies. One for the academic awards, another for the non-academic awards. Why I don't know. All I knew was that it was the double the opportunity to do something other than live the charade of teaching the little buggers in the dog days of June.

When it came time to nominate students for awards I thought long and hard. A lot of teachers go the obvious route and nominate the kids who are good. But these kids are not always the most talented. In fact as my class this year will prove, sometimes the smartest kids are the ones causing the most chaos.

So I was honest with myself when I sat down to give out awards and gave them to the children I felt were the most deserving, not the best qualified on paper. That meant I nominated two of my "trouble" kids, students who have admittedly never received such awards before, received academic awards, one in Handwriting, the other in math. Since they are only in 3rd grade they can try to play it off like they didn't care, but some small part of me chooses to believe that they thought it was sorta cool.

So the day of the first awards ceremony came. Now what you need to know is that I work in a school where everyone is related to everyone. Seriously, if I had a dollar for everytime I heard the phrase "Miss, that is my cousin." come out of a child's mouth I would be able to buy and sell the school two times over. No lie.

At any rate, they call say "Jose Santiago" for a non-academic award and so Jose Santiago in my class goes to go up. Only problem was he, apparently was not the only Jose Santiago in the school, let alone in the room at the time. He was, however, the closest one to the stage. So my Jose Santiago gets up there and there's tons of confusion. Cause you know, a school district in a area where double, even triple names are common they couldn't possibly forsee this happening and maybe, I don't know, add the teacher's name to the certificate, too.

This wouldn't have been so bad if it happened the one time. But it happened two more times. That day alone. Lucky for him, he was finally the recipient of the final award of the day. He was also a really good sport about all of it.

Now fast forward a few days and the academic awards are about to take place. Now with those awards I know for sure who is receiving them. I know this because I am the one to give them out. So I made it clear over and over. If you did not receive an invitation, you are not receiving an award today. The invitations are only sent home should a parent decide to show up.

Still we get downstairs and again, Jose Santiago's name is called and he's sitting nowhere near me at the time. And so of course, he gets up.

And all I can think is oh shit.

It doesn't matter that we've discussed if you're not getting an invitation that you aren't getting an award. It doesn't matter because the kids in my class didn't retain anything, and therein lies the problem I had with them THE ENTIRE YEAR.

Case in point, Jose Santiago, who is actually being retained and although we talked about it a number of times he still remains confused. I knew this when on the last day of school his teacher for next year came by to introduce herself and he said he "didn't know he was being retained". So I explained it again to which he responded "Oh, ok,I just thought I was doing third grade over again."

And I've got nothing.

Only problem is when it came time for the ceremonies to end my principal called me up and yelled at me that I should have had Jose sitting next to me just in case that happened again. I told her that I spoke to all of them about the invitations and frankly, when you're a teacher, the last thing you have on your mind is something like that. But then again, you need to know my principal in order to not love her.

Speaking of principals and summatives, the principal of the school has to formerly sit down with you and close out the year. Informally she or he assesses how your year went and what the school goals are for next year. I imagine it's a bit different for tenured teachers as in much more of a joke, but I wouldn't know first hand.

So my principal starts out the conference like this "You had a challenging class this year. And I want you to know that I know that."

Ummm, ok.

Now once again you need to know my principal. She is very, very stingy when it comes to compliments. So her public admittance to me that my class was difficult was about as close as I was going to get to hearing the words "Good job." In short, I'll take what I can get.

But quickly I snapped into oh no she didn't! mode when she started talking about motivation and classroom managment and my possibly attending workshops over the summer to work on this skill.

Now I'm all for professional development and improvement. Everyone has something new to learn. But, and this is a big but, I under no circumstances did not give 110 percent to a class many people would have walked out on. I also did it without complaining to her or administration, even once.

So I did what any teacher who feels unnaturally attacked would do. I calmly, and thoroughly, outlined what I did throughout the year and what my behavior plan specifically entails. You know, the behavior plan we are forced to submit at the beginning of the school year that no one actually reads?

To this she had nothing to say but oh. She knew she was down for the count. Professionally speaking of course.

See at the end of the day it really doesn't matter what she thinks. Cause I work for a big school and at that big school we had an end of the year party. And at that end of the year party I won this award:

The Purple Heart Award For Having The "Best" Class

Eat your heart out, principal. Just make mine purple.



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