Click on it, look closely, you'll get it.
Well, the first two weeks of school are over. I survived. Our enrollment numbers are higher than expected, which, for now, means we have some fairly packed classes. The other day the Head Custodian came in to see if I had any spare desks. At the time I did, and he took 3 for a teacher who had more students than desks. That would have been nice, except since then I've had 5 new students show up. Got 2 of my desks back 2 days ago, now I need 3 more. Last year that wouldn't have been a problem, since each class had 2 or 3 students that just never showed up. Well, our Attendance Dean got a head start this year, has a "No Show" list and has been calling parents and students convincing them to get their butts to school. Four students chose today to be their first day of school. We're still up 30 students from where we expected to be. That means we should have one more teacher working than we do, cramming one extra teacher's worth of kids into all the other classes. But, we just have to wait until October, when we do our final warm-body-count and get our official staffing allowance from the district.
So, the first weeks went pretty well. I really like my Geometry classes. I have some really interesting students in them, but today I had 98% of the class engaged in what we were doing, even in the assignment. Some were working harder than others, but not a single student was avoiding the work all together. Niiiice. Algebra, right before Geometry, not so much. That's the class that had 2 kids show up for the first time, and one that just transferred into it. There was a group of 4 in the back (yes, they will be moved and separated by next class) doing nothing except talking. They did keep it down when I was going over the material, but whenever we had a transition or independent working, they were socializing. Yeah "Earth to dumbasses, if you pass my class now, you just might have an easy Senior year when (and if) you get there." Yeah, try telling that to a generation that's used to making multiple life-and-death decisions in one 20 minute video game. I still have a lot of students in the class that I really like, that are going to prove to be amusing throughout the year, I'm just going to be working at keeping them on task. The good news is that so far there isn't a single student that I wish would disappear off the rolls and out of the school. Can't say that for last year. I did have one major teacher success moment, the first week of school. This one student, a sophomore I think, was giving me the old "Why do we have to work the first week of school" whine right before the second day of class. I looked at him and said "Tell you what, you go out get a job and when you show up for the first day of work tell your boss you're going to just sit in the corner and do nothing because, after all, it is just the first day of work" He gave me a puzzled look and I asked "Do you think you'll still have a job?" He shyly said "No" and sat down and got to work. Yeah! Chalk one up for the Gipper!
On the other hand, the staff can be every bit as annoying as the students. This one counselor for example. She came to us halfway through the year last year, and because of that I forgot to print up a Relicensure Point Certificate for the inservice hours she was there for. Well, when we passed them out at the first faculty meeting and she didn't get one, she came up to me and said (gruffly) "I need to get my points." I apologized to her and told her to eMail me and that I would get them to her as soon as possible. (Note: Relicensure is always in June, so if she didn't need them by June 2008, she won't need them until June of 2009. Not an immediate need). From our conversation she goes over to the principal and tells her to make sure that I don't forget to print her up the certificate. The principal (she's a wise one, she is) tells her to go ahead and let me know, and when the counselor tells her that she already told me the principal says "Well, then don't worry, he'll do it." Nope, she wants the principal to remind me. Ok, fast forward to yesterday, going past several emails and remiders from her, she comes into my classroom first thing in the morning to ask me if I had her certificate done yet. I told her that I had her emails, had even sent in an official district work order to remind me, and that I would get to it as soon as possible. She goes on about needing it, has to get it "off her desk" so she can file it, etc. I try to explain that this is the beginning of the school year and that I have 3 teachers with no computer, a lab that needs Word and a printer installed and several other issues that directly effect student education, and that, frankly, her certificate is not that high a priority. She continues to go on about "getting it off her desk" so I just assure her that I will get to it as soon as possible and shoo her out the door. By lunch I have an eMail from her reminding me of the discussion we had earlier that day and that she needs to (yes, you got it) get this off her desk. Right after school she sticks her head in to ask me if I got her eMail reminding me about the discussion we had at the beginning of the day. If the door had opened into the class instead of out into the hall, I would have slammed it in her face. Well, the part of me that wanted to fight that kind of bullying got the crap beat out of it by the part of me that was willing to do anything to avoid talking to this woman, and I ended up making up her certificate, which has to be signed by the principal, who is going to talk to her about the way she dealt with this (and other things, I'm not the only one) when she gives her the certificate.
So, that was the first couple of weeks. Got a little frustrated over fighting the cellphone thing for a couple days, but just stuck to it and we're doing ok. Been a good couple of weeks, overall. Have some great students, have some good students, have some annoying students. But none that I would like to see disappear. That's success.