Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Study in Thinking on One's Feet

Yesterday--I didn't get to comment on this due to being a "bit of a hassle"--was a day full of spur-of-the-moment decisions regarding my classes. Now, I pretty much live by the spur of the moment, so I was used to the pace; I just thought it interesting that my school chose to play along yesterday.

I, as a Spanish teacher, was "volunteered," along with the rest of the dept, to oversee the testing of the Limited English Proficiency students at our school. Since this would take the whole morning, our fifth and sixth periods (we're on block) would be herded into the Auditorium with subs (there's good thinking). Five minutes after bell, however, a counselor tells me they can take my students--whose seats in the auditorium I had assigned only the day before and which (mysteriously!) had been taken already--to the computer lab in the library. As this had been my original plan before this lovely morning of bureaucracy was thrust upon me, I said something to the effect of, "Uh--sure. Umm...let me get some plans written down for my sub"--who was himself, I believe, of Limited English Proficiency (!)--and jotted down a note, given to my brightest student, and off they all went. This brightest student was only to return to my "penthouse suite" (my 4th-floor classroom with the leaky roof) to breathlessly inform me that half of the students had gotten confused on the way downstairs and had gone to the writing LAB. SOO, I corral a counselor (the cause of the whole morning) into my class, herd my students from the lab to the library, go back up to the room and administer the test.

So far, so good -- the "relief teacher" who comes to give us breaks had to tell us of some "last-minute procedures" that--surprise!--we weren't told about notwithstanding--but after sixth period I go down to the library to find out that, oh, only about FIVE out of the twenty-four kids in sixth period showed up. Where they were, I don't know. Here's to hoping they were in the Auditorium.

The counselors thanked us for our help, then asked what we were going to do with the rest of our free afternoon. (Umm...teach, maybe?) But no! They seemed to be under the impression that, since we had subs assigned to us today we could leave at lunch and leave them in charge. Sigh. If there are any other teachers reading this, you know how much planning a sub needs. So I went back up to the penthouse with my sub and explained to him--and a student who would be in the classes that afternoon--what would be expected. Seems, amazingly, to have gone off all right.

This is, more or less, what happens every day. I just usually get the WHOLE day to cram in this much planning, as opposed to about ninety minutes total.

Welcome to public ed: your tax dollars at work.


Christina said...

I am a sub. And I did teach at one time (for real). And I feel your pain:)

David Bryan said...

LOL Misery loves company.

Thanks for stoppin' by...I've added you to my blogroll.