Monday, February 18, 2008

who has time to sit on their ass?

I love them. I really do. But sometimes my kids can be so dumb! And it isn't necessarily because they really are dumb but just because they are content to be that way.

Anyway, that is entirely beyond the point of anything. All I gotta do is my job and hope that something clicks somewhere along the line. There is nothing like review / iLeap blitz time to really make me wonder whether anything will ever stick to some of them. The next two weeks are mostly cram time: cram everything they've ever done and whatever else you can fit into the math block into their brains and hope that something, somehow sticks to their brain cells that does not have to do with myspace.

Once again, my boss' enthusiasm and confidence get me through these weeks. Two people at school are really my hero right now. One is my master teacher, because she is supportive but also realistic and straightforward. She's been into the same trenches I've been into this year and she knows the deficiencies and obstacles facing my kids. The other is, of course, the principal who has this enormous confidence in me that I am not always sure I have earned, but which makes the work seem less bleak on the bleak days. He is also my hero because he sees what is going on with all the teachers and I know that he will reward those who work and cut those who drag us down. Who they are, I don't ask and don't always want to know. In a profession where administration is often criticized for being out of touch with what is going on in the classroom, he is one administrator who pays attention. And it is reassuring to know that he sees the inequity that I have been experiencing and I know that he will do something about it in the end.

I said today that I less exhausted by what the kids put me through than I am by witnessing others who are supposed to be my peers not pull their weight. It is the most frustrating to feel like I should be able to look to these people for their wisdom and experience only to find that I'm busting my ass and others...aren't. With all that is wrong with our children's lives, we should be worried less about cutting them breaks and more about busting their asses to catch up in any way possible. Last week I had several students ask me why I am the only one of their teachers who never sits down during class.

Who has time to sit down when you're teaching? My desk is not a work space, it is a hall pass/homework/tardy slip/workbook/pencil dumping ground that I sometimes lean against when my knees start to hurt or my ankles start to swell at the end of the day (god, I'm too fucking young for this shit). It does little more than take up space and give me something to hide behind during my planning period (when there are, mercifully, no children demanding my attention). I don't even have time to eat! No, that's not true - I don't have the brain cells available to remind me to eat. Because I wake up at 5:00 a.m. and know that I have to be at work for 6:30 to have time to think, prepare, make a battle plan, dominate the copy machine while no one is at work, and enjoy the only solitude I might get in my 10 to 12-hour workday. So, you can understand why I royally peeves me to notice that my colleagues routinely show up to work ten to fifteen minutes late (after the students get to class and have had time to take advantage of no adult supervision) and rarely show up (or skip out early) for duty (and then do so late).

Which is the long of way of saying that it is good to know that my principal sees me busting my exhausted ass. And thinks to check in and make sure that everything's going as smoothly as one can expect in our universe of the unexpected.

I know I should be doing it for the kids. And ultimately that is true. But when I just can't stand the sight of their ungrateful tween faces, my boss makes this job worth it. Why would I want to work anywhere else?

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