Sunday, February 28, 2010

Very Productive Long Weekend

That's what I had. I graded four sets of papers, planned lessons for this whole week, worked on some stuff for an extracurricular activity I advise, and finished two reports for my literacy coach. I AM AWESOME.

Here's my problem, which happened after Christmas vacation and again after winter recess last week: I'll feel FINE about going back to work--accomplished, in control, ready--and then by Monday or at the latest Tuesday, I'm depressed and demoralized again. I worked on that very hard this weekend. Even if I'm not "with the program," I'm still a good teacher for lots of reasons. I can see a few areas where I need to improve and I'm working towards that every day. I really and truly don't suck. I got a few nice compliments from colleagues and from students and even from my AP this past week, and I HAVE to hold on to those things. If I let Principal X be the sole source of my feel-good about work, well, it's just not going to happen. S/he just is not in the business of giving warm fuzzies. And maybe I have to learn to live with that, at least for the rest of this school year.

I even got my car dug out, so I should be able to breeze off to the Morton School tomorrow problem-free.



Here we go again. 120 days until summer vacation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Come On, Saint Eulalia...

Let's do this thing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back to the Grind

Tomorrow we're all back to work and I have to say I had a really nice break. I didn't do much, but I had tried to plan it so that I wouldn't need to. The Morton School recently gave out report cards, so I didn't have a backlog of grading to work through. I have eight million interruptions this week, so I didn't need to plan a full week of lessons, either. About the only thing I have left to do is preview a movie I might show the kiddies, which will be a nice quiet way to pass this Sunday morning.

My resolution for the rest of this year is to stop letting Principal X and the b-s at school get me down so much. I had some revelations in the past couple of weeks that reminded me that, details be damned, I am a good teacher who is respected and appreciated by current and former students alike. That means a great deal to me. Principal X may not have any use for that particular measure of teacher quality, which is fine. It means everything to me, though.

This school year has been tough on everyone at the Morton School. I know this for certain now, that it was never just me. I'm doing the best I can in a difficult situation, and as long as I behave kindly and fairly to the kids and design lessons that don't waste their time, I am doing a good job. Everything else is details. Some details I'm good at, some details I'm not. C'est la vie.

Now, let's see if this eminently reasonable and healthy attitude endures for longer than 36 hours.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quiet Winter Recess at Home

I wanted to go on vacation for this recess, I admit, but for various reasons it didn't work out. As it turns out, though, I'm okay with it. I'm having a nice winter recess anyway. I've visited with some friends and family, done some sightseeing across the city, enjoyed watching the Olympics, and caught up on some movies and books I've been meaning to get around to.

I came to the realization that, despite how hellacious work has been since returning from the holiday recess, I dragged my sorry butt in to work every single day. If ever I deserved a mental health day, these past six weeks were it. But I doggedly showed up every day, if only because I was embarrassed about how messy my desk was. So I pat myself on the back.

Incidentally, there are only five weeks between this break and the next one. But April and May are going to be looooooong. Still, March is right around the corner. The end is starting to come in to focus.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All Hail Saint Eulalia

Won't be setting the alarm tomorrow! WOOHOO!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back from the Dark Side

One of my most controversial posts here was this one, in which I complained, perhaps unfairly, about a colleague who, as I put it then, went over to "the dark side." She had been an administrative intern and seemed, for a while, to be firmly in Principal X's pocket. I am, in a tragic way, happy to report her return from the dark side. And yes, these days, at the Morton School, it definitely is the dark side. Sorry.

I had to talk to her today about a matter completely unrelated to general bitching about Morton School management, and we ended up having a just-like-old-times talk about how much everything has changed. Apparently my colleague found herself on the receiving end of Principal X's insanity a few too many times. We talked for almost an hour, leaving with promises to catch up more often. I was reminded what I'd always liked about her--her sense of adventure and abandon in the classroom, her irreverence and wit. She's a wonderful teacher and we're lucky to have her. And of course, I'm glad that she doesn't see me as a squeaky widget anymore!

Meanwhile, Principal X is getting crazier. Principal X making someone cry is hardly newsworthy, but the other day, one of Principal X's staunchest defenders broke down and cried. It's getting uglier by the minute in our "breezy mountain nook in the healthy heart of England," so to speak.

Thank God for the kids. Apparently my job is to teach them. Who knew?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

¡Callate la Boca!

I had to talk to a colleague the other day. I caught her during our common prep, but she was on her way to cover a Spanish class.

She motioned me into the room anyway, and we tried to have our conversation, but the students in the room were giddy with the absence of their regular teacher. Within a few minutes, the room had erupted in chatter and laughter. "HEY!" my colleague shouted at them. "I know every single one of you and most of your parents! Your teacher left work for you and you're going to do it! And don't ask me for help, because the only Spanish I speak is ¡CALLATE LA BOCA! You got that?"

Chastened, they put their heads down and grudgingly pulled out their Spanish books.

I hope to one day achieve that level of classroom management.