Thursday, January 18, 2007

COME TOGETHER BROTHERS AND SISTERS, AND PREPARE TO DO BATTLE!!!!!!!

Or some damn thing.

I received a bright yellow union memo in my
box earlier this week that stated that the district was lying to us,
that the District Super got a huge raise, and that the Union had to be
diligent and prepared for action. While the accusations are in fact
true (and irritating), I'm not about to take up swords, cry "freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmm",
and rush the district office. Whoever decided to write this up had a
very interesting sense of timing. It is the week of finals, so it isn't
like the high school teachers don't have important things to do. I'm in
early and out late this week trying to get everything prepared for the
tests, get make-up work set, and most of all, prepare of the deluge of
questions regarding grades. With Seniors the questions come fast and
furious, and the more open and available grades are, the better. The
only problem is that I had a little trouble with the transfer of grades
from my home computer to the school computer, and some assignments are
coming up missing. In most cases, students have kept the work and
simply reminded me to add in the grade. That won't last too long.
Eventually, we are going to find adiscrepancy , and I'll end up eating
it. I should, it's my fault. Not that I'm going to take much shit from
anyone regarding technology errors. I'm one of the very few that are
serious with the Web (one other is in my department) at the school, and
I'm taking risks with technology for the benefit of students and kids.
Some hiccups are going to occur. We'll deal with it and move on. One
option for next year might be to dump Making the Grade, my current
program and moving to an online host, like Gradespeed. I feel a little uneasy about an off-site host, but the program is smoother, better coded, and much more accessable.
Back to the Union issue, the one issue I'm really trying to get solved with
the Union is simply not being addressed quick enough, so I'm not on
their side right now. Officer Dave has become an absolute joke to deal
with in my class. Everything on the Internet, and I mean everything, is
censored.YouTube is totally blocked, hence the lack of political videos
that my class saw this semester. Last week, some of Cagle's political cartoons
were blocked. Today I tried to download Window's Messenger for my
school computer. You might think that it is nuts, but you need to
understand that many of my Seniors are gone by 10:30 a.m. I'm done
teaching at 2:45, but I'm at my desk doing work until 5:30. Students
often e-mail me, but I don't get it until much later, sometimes because
of server problems, sometimes because the school filters label their
mail as SPAM. So, Instant Messenger is the deal, except that the school
has the site blocked. Are we serious about technology or not, because
if I'm going to work on the Web, let me work on the Web. And censor
everything if you have to, but give me a damn password to bypass that
stupid ass filter.
That is currently something the Union is
currently "discussing" with the district. Apparently, the district is
looking at some form that states that we will be sent to Baghdad if we
give students the bypass password. Form? You meanEdCode isn't enough?
What about the contract that I signed? District policy? Our
professionalism? I hate not being trusted as a professional to make
decisions that are best for the students. Instead, some techiefanboy is sitting at the district waging war against Renaissance nudes because some 2nd grade teacher found Johnny oogling the Virgin Mary.
So no, my sword is staying in the scabbard until some real classroom
teaching issues come up. Yes, I'm irritated at the district for funding
issues. However, I'm much more irritated at the State for not supplying
us withadequate funding (no conferences, athletics is out of money, band is out of money, extra-curricular has no money, transportation is out of money, technology is out of money), and the issues that involve my ability to teach the kids to the
richest prospective possible.
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