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Daily Archives: September 22nd, 2008

Last year the administration in my school decided we needed some type of “in-school” tutoring, or, as it was known in my day, study hall.  There was much discussion, many attempts at working out the schedule, much gnashing of teeth.  Finally the committee that had been appointed to figure this out (and ask me how many teachers were included.  go ahead ask me.  that’s right, none) came up with a final schedule.

You need a little background before I continue this tale.  Our negotiated agreement, a.k.a. our contract, states that teachers must be in the building 15 minutes before the first bell.  For the past umpteen years the first bell has been at 7:50 and the tardy bell for first period has rung at 7:55.  With this set-up teachers reported at 7:35.  We stay 15 minutes after the last bell, which rings at 2:50, so we are free to leave at 3:05.  Now, most teachers get there before 7:35 and most stay after 3:05, but contractually thats the length of our day.  Ask us nice and we have no problem being flexible.  Tell us with an attitude though…

So…

The new schedule for this year was going to have the first bell at 7:45 and the tardy bell for “zero” hour at 7:50.  The association, a.k.a. union pointed out to the administration that this was a violation of our negotiated agreement, that they can’t start school until 7:50.

An aside.  I know many of you are thinking, what’s the big deal about 5 minutes?  Well, if you’re a teacher you know that if you give the administration 5 minutes, it won’t be long and they’ll want an hour.  We just wanted them to work within the negotiated agreement.  If they can’t do that, then why negotiate an agreement in the first place…

Well, the schedule went back to committee.  Eventually they decided that the tardy bell would ring at 7:50 and they would just tell the kids that they had to be in class by then.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

You can imagine how that worked out.

The principal has developed a way around his problem.  The 5 assistant principals are placed in strategic areas around the campus.  At 7:45 they each have an air-horn that they blast for 15 seconds.  This is the kids cue to head to class.  When I asked Mr. Principal about this his response was…

are you ready for this?

with an innocent look on his face…

he says,

“We’re not ringing a bell.”