Friday, September 15, 2006

A Man/Woman Doesn't Know

This week has been oddly bi-polar. On one hand, I am happy with how my classes are going - I'm finding the rhythm of things, check-in is going marvelously, and I really like my kids this year. Advanced Drama, for example, are falling in love with Much Ado, and we haven't even held auditions yet. A bunch of the students rented the movie themselves, and now they're roaming the halls declaring "Remember I am an ass" (see the last line of this scene) And here I was hoping the line that would catch on would be "We are the only love-gods"....

On the other hand, though, we (the faculty) were informed of a last-minute "short" meeting immediately after school on Wednesday. Our principal explained that the numbers are in, and we have too many teachers - we need to "surplus" 2.5 FTEs (Full-Time Employees). This is thanks to our district who decided last year that it's problematic to have junior high schools feed into different high schools. So they redrew the boundaries, thereby dropping our overall enrollment significantly (this also meant, by the way, that students who lived within walking distance of our school - mere blocks away - are now being bused to a different school. Makes a lot of sense in a time of high gas prices, yes?). In one sense, I'm thrilled and more than a little surprised that our administration is communicating with us so openly about the problem (that's really not the pattern at my school - something like this would more likely be swept under the carpet until it exploded). Still, the faculty have all been tense since that meeting. Between the question "who's gonna go?" that gets whispered and bantered about, there's also the knowledge that no matter who is surplused, we're all going to have to face new students in every class. Essentially, we're going to have Day 1 all over again, sometime around October 1. That should be a lot of fun for testing this year - let's create so many changes that it's like the first 6 weeks of school didn't happen, and then let's see how the students do on year-end tests with those crazy weeks. And, even better, let's see who they blame for lower test scores across the district. Must be the teachers, right? Because heaven forbid the district own up to their mistakes.

Sorry for the rant. Honestly, I don't think my job's in any danger. How remarkable is that? Normally, electives (that is, the arts) are the first targets for budget cuts, but not at our school. That's wonderful and rare, I must say. Plus, I think I've made myself indispensable, as they discovered when they tried to remove me as stage crew advisor (that went from "We'll find a replacement for you" to "we'll find an assistant for you" to "we'll find someone to cover for you when you can't come" within about a week). Even without that threat, though, there's just too much frustration. I'm tired of feeling so powerless as a teacher. We're being threatened, pushed around, punished, and experimented with all the time, and we have no control or say in the matter.

On the plus side, it's cold and rainy outside. And I'm not being sarcastic - I really do love this weather. I've been looking forward to it all week. I'm hoping it continues tomorrow, since it suits my plan of hot chocolate-at-a-bookstore-browsing-and-a-movie perfectly. Tonight I rewarded myself with chicken tikka masala and naan bread from a really tasty Indian restaurant. Mmm....

Happy weekend to you all!

1 comment:

  1. Eigh. I was the victim of just such a downsizing in my fourth year of teaching.

    I feel for you all, hope it isn't too painful.