March 29, 2010

Spring Break!

I'm looking forward to this week off for sprng break!   Although I will be going in at least one or two days to work.   Sleeping in, catching up on errands, lazy mornings......   ahhhhh 

March 28, 2010

Really? How Dumb Are We?

I've heard rumors that the business world thinks the education world is foolish. Well, I think I have been a part of an incident that perpetuates that myth. 

I attended a conference recently.  When I was first told that I was going, I was asked if I wanted a cash advance or to be reimbursed. I chose to be reimbursed thinking t woukd be easier on all involved. That may have been my first misjudgement.

Through the online registraton, I was told that I would not be confirmed until my payment was recieved. So I wrote out a check and mailed it in the next day.  A few weeks later I got a copy of a purchase order from our district to the conference listing the handful of local people attending with the accompanying registration fee.  I immediately called the office telling them that I had already paid this fee because  had chosed to be reimbursed--remember?--I then was directed to call the conference director and arrange to have them return my fee to me.  ( Which couldn't be done until a few weeks after the conference was over and they close out the books , understandably). Sigh.

I brushed it off, went to the conference and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I learned a lot  and networked with some great educators.  I even ran into a gal I haven't seen since we went to graduate school!

I turned in my hotel bill and mileage.  The school office emailed me that the hotel bill was not a "zero balance " bill.   WHAT?   The bill shows the amount due.  It shows the amount charged to my credit card. In fact, when I checked out I made a special trip to the desk to ask for the special bill instead of lients a just taking the nice handy copy of the bill slipped under my hotel door.   But no, that is not good enough for the schoo office.   They wont take the bill that the hotel gves out to hundreds of clients a week ( and I am sure that a good portion of them need zero balance bills).  This wasn't a rinky-dink hotel,  it was a very nice place that shares a name with a socialite named Paris.

The school office told me to call the hotel and ask them to fax the office a copy of a zero balance.    So I called. The hotel bookkeeper told me that the bill I got WAS a zero balance bill.  I know that, she knows that, but the school office doesn't know that.  The bookkeeper was very gracious. I told her that maybe she could write on the bill that the bill was paid in full or something.  She said she would take care of it and get it faxed.  

All was well for a few days until I got another email from the school office.  She said she had submitted the paperwork and the school business office had rejected the hotel bill.  WHAT?  REALLY?  They will not accept a faxed copy.  They need an original.  BUT I ALREADY GAVE AN ORIGINAL!  It was very hard to write a reply email to the school office and ask what exactly they want me to do now without showing some kind of disgust/attitude.  I mean, REALLY?  Come on, people. 

It's not even the money.  It's the idea.  Come on.  How many times are you going to make me call this business and ask them to give you the same information that they have already provided in the first place?  Geesh.  No wonder the world thinks we're dumb. 

March 27, 2010

ELL Grant

I heard that I was accepted to be a part of the English Language Learner Certification Cohort Grant that I applied to a couple months ago.  This involves 21 hours of college credit, every Saturday for a year, and the cost of textbooks & incidentals.  It will culminate with a K-12 certification in ESL. 

I'm hoping that it will be another handy tool in my toolbox to meet the diverse needs of my learners, and that it will open any doors that may need to be opened in the future of my employment. 

A bonus is that another colleague of mine who works at my school also was accepted, so we can collaborate together or metaphorically run down the hall with a question if needed....

March 20, 2010

A first

I'm not proud, but today a first happened to me after 9 years of teaching.   The kids actually made me start to cry.  Darn it!  I hate it that it happened!   I am not usually an emotional ball of goo-- but they worked on me all day and wore me down.  My regular hard-hitters were on cue all day and I was deflecting them left and right with the best of them.  The hit I took that left me wavering with watery eyes and a quivery voice came out of right field. It was from one of my good kids.  One of the kids who who generally gives me joy when I teach.    He was mad and thought I was being unfair.  

We had an assembly today that was scheduled during our recess time. The children were upset because assemblies are always scheduled then.  I empathized with them but told them I didn't think it would change.  The assembly finished with about 30 minutes left before school was out for the day.  Our class still had things to pass out and closure to have for the week so we headed back to the room.  However, the other classes in our grade decided to go outside for a recess time.

My class whined and complained all the way to the room.  I considered letting them go out as soon as we got our things passed out, but they continued to whine and complain, and then began to accuse me of being unfair to them.  It didn't bother me at all until my good kid started in on me.  He told me that it is not fair because our class always misses alot of recess. 

I reminded him and the class that just yesterday our class took a double recess ( and only our class--the other classes went inside at the regular time).  He then went on to say that I sit at the computer and check my email and our class misses part of their recess all the time. 

Now I know this is not true.  I never check my email or do any personal things on class time.  In fact, I told the class that I felt I was more than generous with the free time and recess that they had.

I guess I am hurt because they don't realize how much I care and put in to working for them.  How many hours I give for the class.  It is not worth it.  When even my good kids begin to turn against me and take the joy from me, then I might as well stop putting in the time that I do. Maybe I will just do the 40 hours from now on and whatever doesnt get done--oh well.

No more tears for me.     

March 14, 2010

Next Year Options - 1

I got an email today from the principal I interviewed with last week.  He informed me that the positions that could have been available were going to be filled by the teachers that were faced with a certification change.    If you remember, last week I told you that this school was being downsized by a team of teachers, and yet they had some positions open outside of some of their certification areas.  The teachers had to make a decision to either look for a job within their certification area at another school in the district or take steps to become certified in teh positions the school needed.

Oh well.  I knew it was a long shot anyway.  I thanked the principal again for the opportunity to interview and should anything open up between now and fall to let me know. 

So my options for next year are basically to stay where I am at.  Hopefully the principal won't hold it against me that I am trying to leave. 

 I am still waiting to hear about the ELL grant.  Makes me a little frustrated because the paperwork said the acceptance letters would be mailed February 27 and it is now March 13.  I emailed my contact and asked in a tactful way if  the decisions had been made and I was told they were still waiting on documents.    Very frustrating.  Makes me wonder how wishy washy other parts of the program might be.  

March 8, 2010

Interviewed and waiting. Sort of.

I put my name on the transfer list in January.  Names need to be there before February 1 if you want to have an opportunity to change schools.  Last time I put my name on the list, I was never even called for an interview.   That year, I also applied for 2 positions that were not classroom teachers.   I interviewed for both of them and did not get hired for either one.  Next in line is what the both interviewers told me-- I was good, but there was another with more experience, or more something.  I was a little disappointed, but figured that I could apply again the next year.  In fact, the interviewers encouraged me to do so as both departments had plans to expand the following year.   Now, a few years later, both of those departments have downsized.  One to only a couple positions and one no longer exists.  I guess it was a good thing I didn't get picked for the jobs! 

But once again, I am on the list and last week I had an interview at the middle school.   I really don't like interviewing.  I feel like I have to sell myself and I don't like doing that.  At my school now, and even throughout the school system at my grade level--people know me and know what I am capable of doing and what I am involved in.    But interviewing for a different level means talking to someone who probably has no idea what a wonderful, hard-working person I am.    I get a bit tongue tied.  Since the interview, I have gone over it a thousand times in my head and I kick myself for saying one thing or not saying another.   Hopefully I went over well enough.   

The principal alluded that a position may be open in a few weeks.   A friend of mine ( who also interviewed there) told me that the principal told her some teachers were making the decision to either stay and change their certifications or move on to another school.  So the positions wont be available until they make the decsion to move on.  With the climate the way it is, I doubt there are many jobs available at other schools  so the chance that this interview is even serious is pretty low.  But who knows!    Another strike is that the principal is retiring this year.  So even if I am liked, it will be someone else there next year who doesn't know me and I'd be in the same boat as this year. 

So the boat has been rocked because my current principal knows that I am interested in leaving and the chances a job opens up are pretty slim.  Looks like it will be one of thse difficult years again next year.  Too bad that education is full of politics ( what job isn't?) instead of just educating children. 

I also have another iron in the fire-- I applied earlier this year to do coursework for ELL certification.  A grant is available to do these courses at no charge.  I was supposed to have heard by the end of February, but havent heard anything yet.  So I emailed the person in charge today and they responded that the decisions hadn't been made yet.  

So my options for next year are:
1. to stay where I am and do what I am doing
2. to stay where I am and study for ELL
3. to change schools
4. to change schools and study for ELL

I wonder which it will be.