Thursday, August 26, 2010

Musings of my 10th year, week one.

It would be simple to say that my 10th year of being an educator has started out just like any other year.  If we are talking from the point of the students, then the statement would make sense.  However education is far from being as simple as the students, it’s about the institution.  And the institution is very, very sick.

First the students.  My classes are slammed full, which is not at all unusual for college prep Gov/Econ classes.  At the moment: AP Comp Gov- 34, Gov/Econ- 34, 35, 36, and APUSH- 27.  Contractually, I can have 34 students in my room by the thirtieth day of the semester.  I pretty much ignore the contract, tell the admin that I’m always willing to take on more students, and in the end, it never happens.  Classes will level themselves as students transfer to the continuation school, go on Independent Study, and get sent off campus for disciplinary reasons.  People often complain about large class sizes.  Well, mine are always big and it works out fine.  And students are students.  They are good natured, a little down this week (the realization has set in), and a little squirrely when the weather is nice outside.

The problems reside outside of the realm of the students.  Here is a statement that says it all.  It was sent to me by a colleague. 

Ukiah High School Budget  years ago:  $125,000

Ukiah High School Budget this year:  $15,000

Ouch.  I got no supplies, no paper, no nothin to get the year going.  Now, I have to admit, foreseeing this problem a couple of years ago, I started to pack away some school supplies and I’m not going to run out of pencils any time soon.  But what I’m seriously concerned about is something like my projector bulb.  That sucker is hundreds of dollars, and I’ve been told there is no replacing it if it goes out.  I’m thinking of a sacrifice on the alter of the projector gods to keep the bulb going for the next few years.  How about the heads of both political parties in the California legislature?

I have my personal/professional goals set for the year.

-Make APUSH more engaging while maintaining the high standards.

-Don’t take work home with me.

-Work on maintaining energy after lunch.

-Go after squawkers (those that are a pain, but not enough to toss from class) early and consistently.

-Media, every day.

-Call on more students that are not raising their hands.

-Check for understanding more consistently.

We’ll see how it works out. 

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