Sunday, May 01, 2011

A bizarre week

Projector bulbs are expensive.  We are not talking “hey, that sushi is actually $15” expensive, we are talking “how the fuck is this light bulb actually $400” expensive.  My first bulb lasted two and a half years.  It might have been worth the cost.  The second bulb lasted this last four months.  I would say that the benefit did not outweigh the cost for the second bulb.  I would say that it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride when the red projector light started blinking and my screen didn’t start up.  I calmly called our on-campus tech guy and offered up anything from single malt scotch to tickets to the next Final Four for a projector bulb, and I got one.  In fact, the man came down and replaced it within five minutes, something that very well deserves consideration for a bottle of Glenfiddich. 

This was also the week were some Seniors got to feel the pinch of what the real world was going to be like, and some did not like it at all.  With Prom, AP tests, social lives, and the end of school breathing down their throats, the school became a haven for the dramatic, with anything setting off those that are now realizing that they can’t do everything they want.  Some fight.  The beginning of the warm weather brought forth a very active week of confrontations between the local Reds and Blues, something we’ve been dealing with over the last few years.  Some get anxious to the point of not being able to deal with school, or at least the academic part of school.  It’s amazing how parents are suckered into “I'm too stressed for school”, but their kid manages to get to a baseball game, a class election meeting, and Prom.  Finally some kids simply break down from life getting tough.  I’m often the recipient of some student anger because I often say no.  While I’m often a little more flexible about students in exceptional situations, I still want kids to see the importance of making a choice.  I’m still hammering them on attendance.  I’m still insistent that they maintain organization in terms of knowing when things are due, and I’m still running my classes with the understanding that they are there to learn.  That conflicts with the “we’re Seniors, let’s rage for the last quarter” attitude.  In return, I get a little blow back in the form of snarky comments, indigent looks, and sometimes outright tantrums.  This is where experience steps in; take it all in stride, remain calm, offer support, don’t overblow a small explosion, and remember that 80% of the students are doing just fine.  I am much better at dealing with the last throes of Senioritis.

Alas, the final problem was money.  I found that we have no money for next year, which is not a whole lot less than the little money we had this year but enough to make you hang your head a little.  We’ve been told to cut more from our budget, although that pretty much leaves counselors and custodians as the only ones left.  Already our counselors are at over 500 student caseloads, and already our campus is down 2-3 custodians, but apparently we are looking to trim at something and the only thing left if either cutting “programs furthest from the students” (like safe/clean campus and counseling don’t impact students") or creating new forms of revenue. 

But the week’s over now and we move on to Advanced Placement tests and the real downhill run to the end.       

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