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Category Archives: Administrators

Yesterday one of my little darlings received a paper cut while passing a worksheet down the aisle.  He asked to go to the office to get a band-aid.  Being the ex-boy scout that I am, I was prepared.

“I have band-aids in my desk.  I also have some Neosporin.”

We fixed up the damaged digit and went about our business.

During my planning period today I was summoned to the office.  It seems that this morning the young man asked one of his teachers if he could come to my room to change his band-aid.  The teacher asked why he wanted to go to my room.  The kid told her it was because I had Neosporin.

This teacher is one of the ones who doesn’t do her job, and I’ve called her on it in the past.  She doesn’t care for me…

So she turned me in to the administration.  The administration has a placed a reprimand in my file.  Dispensing medication without authorization.

When they told me they had to write me up my response was, “Kiss my ass.  I’ll sign the form, but you can kiss my ass.”  Direct quote.  Probably not wise, but wtf?, I’ve got tenure…

 

[edit]

by the way, no we don’t have a nurse.  we can’t afford the luxury.  the main office receptionist is the “trained” staff that dispenses meds…

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.”

Let there be light.

All the bathroom lightbulbs were replaced overnight.

Today the powers-that-be decided another way to save energy money is to remove every other lightbulb from the bathrooms.

Their reasoning?

It will save money and discourage kids from hanging out in the bathroom longer than necessary.

I remember my high school days.  It would discourage me from going into the bathroom at all…

Somebody call the President.  My school administration has discovered the solution to the energy crisis.

We got an email today:

Due to high energy costs all personnel must turn off all screen savers.  Set your screen saver to “none”.  Thank you for your continued help in our efforts to save money.

Now my first reaction was, this has got to be a joke.

No.  The IT guy was serious.

With 1500 computers district-wide that’s gotta save us what, $0.02 per month?

 As I’m taking roll in my 7th period class I hear a young lady mention that she has Mr. E for English 6th period.  Mr. E teaches English III (juniors) and English IV (seniors).  This young lady is listed as a sophomore on my roll.  The following conversation then took place:

Me:  You have Mr. E for English?
Her:  Yes.
Me:  English three?
Her:  Yes.
Me:  I thought you were a sophomore?
Her:  I am.
Me:  But you’re in English three?
Her:  Yes.
Me:  (in a whisper)  Oh, were you a sophomore last year too?
Her:  No, I was a freshman.
Me:  Did you take English two as a freshman?
Her:  No.
Me:  (puzzled look)
Her:  I had English one.
Me:  (continued puzzled look)
Her:  I’m in English one this year too.
Me:  (new puzzled look)  Why?
Her:  I failed English one last year.
Me:  And the counselor put you in English three?
Her:  Yes.
Me:  Didn’t you think that might not be right?
Her:  I figured the counselor knew what she was doing.
Me:  (smiling knowingly)  Well…

So I told Mr. E about it after school.  His response?

 

I can’t put it here.  Children might be reading this…

Before you accuse me of not knowing how to spell, yes I did it on purpose.

For those of you not familiar with the Peter Principle, here it is:

In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his/her level of incompetence.

If you happen to be a school administrator, I’m sorry, but from what I’ve seen this holds true.  Let me give you an example.

Last year we had a first-year teacher teaching Algebra 1.  71% of her students failed the class.  She was always upset about the success (or lack of) from her students.  She did everything she could to help them.  She tutored before and after school.  She made home visits.  She really tried.  She refused to give a student a passing grade if the work didn’t merit it.  The principal didn’t want to re-hire her.  The central administration was riding the principal’s backside about her failure rate.  She was constantly told how bad a job she was doing.  They couldn’t find someone to take her place so she was re-hired and given the worst classes.  Her self-esteem was crushed.  She doubted if she was in the right profession.

A second-year teacher was teaching Algebra 1.  His failure rate was about 60%.  Again, he only kept his job because they couldn’t find someone else.  He also was “demoted” and doesn’t teach Algebra 1 anymore.

A 17 year veteran teaching Algebra 1 had a failure rate of 11%.  A 19 year vet teaching Algebra 1 had a failure rate of 7%.  What great teachers.  What shining examples for the slackers.  Try to be more like them.  Watch them teach.  Learn from them.

In my fair state we have End-of-Instruction tests.  When you hear about high stakes testing, this is high stakes.  The Algebra 1 EOI is infamous for its difficulty.  Today we received the results of last year’s tests.

Our school had 67% pass the test.  Now that number may not impress you, but state-wide only 40% passed. 

The first-year teacher who was constantly told how bad she was had 91% pass the state test.
The second-year teacher who couldn’t teach had 87% pass the state test.
The 17 year vet, one of the shining examples, had 31% pass the state test.
The 19 year vet, the man held up as the prime example of doing it the right way, had 19% pass the state test.

The superintendant and the assistant super both showed up in the principal’s office today demanding to know why the two most successful Algebra 1 teachers were not teaching Algebra 1 this year…  They seem to have forgotten that they wanted to fire them 4 months ago.  The principal can’t imagine why those two had such success on the state tests.

Maybe it is because kids will rise to your expectations.  Maybe it is because if you actually hold kids accountable they’ll learn something.  Maybe it is because if you actually teach and not just pass out worksheets kids will learn. 

I hope they both feel vindicated.  I hope they both continue to keep high standards.  I hope they both remember why they chose education as a career. 

I hope someday I’ll see a real live administrator who doesn’t forget what it was like to be in the classroom.

First day of school…

Over the summer our district has installed some new software.   You would think someone would make sure things are set-up properly before the first day.  You would think.

When student schedules are printed you would assume that the first line would be first period, the second line would be second period, etc., wouldn’t you?  I know I would.  And I know that 1,683 students would think so too.  The headings for the columns on our schedules looked like this:

Teacher’s Name / Room # / Subject / Pd / Sec

Then they were sorted alphabetically.  By the teacher’s name.

Teacher’s with their last name beginning with A’s or B’s had 100+ kids show up to first period, while teacher’s such as myself, with a last name beginning with W, had no one show up…

Mass confusion for the first half-hour or so…

Today I learned that the least effective means of teaching is lecture.  I also learned that the human attention span is somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes.

I learned this during a 3 1/2 hour lecture, with no breaks.

The lecturer read the powerpoint to us.  The principal sat in the back of the auditorium to make sure no one left.  He actually had a bathroom pass.  One.  You had to take the pass and bring it back to go to the bathroom. 

Quality professional development.

To the superintendant, both vice-sups and my principal.  Lets see how they respond…

I had a student who failed my class this semester.  He had 20 absences, numerous tardies, and made little effort to pass my class.

He then took a proficiency test downtown, passed the test, and is getting credit and is being allowed to graduate.

First, who decides who takes a “proficiency test?”
What is a proficiency test?
Who administers the proficiency test?
Is my final not considered a proficiency test?
If a student can just take a test after failing my class, what purpose does it serve for me to spend 18 weeks attempting to teach the subject?
If this student is allowed to pass, how in good conscience can we ever fail any student?

If you’ve ever wondered why teachers leave the profession, here is one grand example.  No respect for what I do in the classroom, no respect for how hard I try to make sure each of my students who WANT to do well can succeed, and a lazy, disrespectful student laughing behind my back because regardless of the effort he put forth, he still gets to graduate with a passing grade.

Amazing.

Respectfully,