Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I was symbolicallly reamed by two different administrators at two different schools today, both by e-mail. That must be some sort of record. I will hash out a potential response here, so I can get it out of my head so it won't keep me up tonight. I will follow that with a generalized rant.

First, at the high school this afternoon, the assistant principal stuck his head in my door and told a kid to take off his baseball cap. He also noticed that another kid had a stocking cap on. After class, I got an e-mail that said, "just a friendly reminder that we are enforcing the no hats/coats/headphones policy... If you have any questions, please get back to me."

Honestly, I didn't even know the kids had hats on. I was reading them a story, and I hadn't looked up for several minutes. Of course, during those several minutes was when the boss walked by, and glanced through the window in the door and saw a kid with a hat on. Isn't that the way it always is? That's not a big deal, and now that the principal has decreed this, it's easier for me to enforce the rule, because I can say "since my boss said so, I have to do it." I do not plan to respond to this e-mail.

I also received an e-mail this afternoon from the principal of the middle school where I work in the morning, which said, "There have been some concerns that you have not been leaving work for the para to have the students do after you leave. Please let me know next week what the students are supposed to be doing," or something to that effect.

For one, the para who comes in to cover my classes halfway through block two (so I can drive to the high school) is also the one who is in the students' various classes, so she knows what assignments they have. When she's in my class during block one, and the kids have homework time (which is necessary for most, if not all of these kids), she knows exactly what the kids should be doing. I had (naturally?) assumed that since the last part of block one is homework time, the last part of block two would be homework time. Since the para knew what the kids had to do in their other classes, it wasn't that big of a leap to assume that they would work on their other assignments for the last part of block two. I guess I have to give them some more hard-core math and spelling assignments, which they probably won't do.

Speaking of work refusal, that's a big issue. What happens when I give they assignments to do when I go and they don't do them? Will "there be some concerns" that the students aren't doing the work, and it's my responsibility, even though I'm on the other side of the district?

And now the rant. From the e-mail, "There have been some concerns..." Don't you just love the passive voice? Who has the concerns? Is it the para who knows what the kids have for assignments, but won't make them do them? Is the the other special ed teacher, who won't address me directly? I know it's not the principal, because she hasn't been in my room since October.

How about this: "There have been some concerns that this teacher is just being used as a placeholder."
"There are some concerns that this teacher is thought of as .5 FTE at one school and .5 FTE at another, and the minutes are what's important, not the person."
"There are some concerns that this teacher's class is being used as a dumping ground, and no real education actually goes on in the special education classes."
"There are some concerns that special education teachers are doing two jobs in one: casemanager and teacher, either one of which is a full-time job in itself."
"There are some concerns that special ed teachers are responsible for the behavior of their students, when regular ed teachers are not responsible for the behavior of theirs. When a Civics teacher gives an assignment, and a kid doesn't do it, the kid gets an 'F' and that's that. When that kid has an IEP, and doesn't do his work, it's the special ed teacher's fault. No accountability (Republicans love that word... it means 'who can we blame when it doesn't work') for the kid."

But, this is my last year doing special ed. It's back to social studies next year, even if I have to sub until I find a job. It's just not worth it. Special ed is a soul-crushing job. That's why I got out of it in the first place.


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