etc // fail


I'm having a little frustration with my job -- not so much the job myself, or the politics at the school (I'm used to that) but sort of the lack of resources and how that leads to a real lack of efficiency. I was hired a couple days into the school year and basically did odd jobs, tech support and data entry for the first week. I kind of felt like a secretary. Then they put together my first class (I teach, basically, remedial English): 25 4th graders who are pretty much at a late 1st/early 2nd grade reading level. Next week I'm going to start working with 2nd and 3rd graders who basically still need the most basic foundations of reading.

This is a very diverse, low socio-economic level school, so none of this is really surprising -- although it's sad. The frustrating thing is that...

Well, there are several things.

- The room I'm teaching in is the same room that is used for the teacher leader (he's kind of a vice principal without the title), the two EL aides, the after-school music program, and the occasional meeting. The other remediation teacher is currently teaching in a room that is used for classroom storage (PE, science, books, etc), food storage (she got a delivery of 30 boxes of cabbage in the middle of her class last week), has no windows, no Internet, poor lighting, partially ripped-up flooring, is used for a different after school program, and - rumor has it - is technically in a condemned building.

- The school's copy machines are all at least 10, 15+ years old. Only one of them collates. Two of them do not have lids that open to accommodate books, so you have to use a different machine to make a master first, and they are constantly jamming/breaking down.

- This school's system is that the teachers can make as many copies as they want (as opposed to my last school, which tracked your copies and deducted something like $.05 per copy from your teacher budget) but the teacher has to buy their own paper from their teacher budget. No one has explained to me or the other remediation teacher how to access our teacher budget, so we're stuck using the only paper in this multi-purpose room which is a horrible bright salmon color.

- There are a million other things I don't have, and I don't feel like anyone is moving towards getting them. I admit that both the other teacher and I have pencils, erasers, markers and an overhead projector. I 'borrowed' from the office: crayons and index cards. I have (she does not) a teacher desk, a white board, and an overhead screen. I need 5 more practice books for my students (otherwise I have to make copies of everything, and I think you can figure out how much copy-making is), staples, tape, a class set of scissors, colored pencils, a chair for my desk, copy paper, red pens for correcting, and a bunch of other things I've probably forgotten about. I have provided for my class, from my own supplies/money: bins for the kids to keep their materials in (because all I have is large tables, not student desks with underneath storage), journals, writing paper and - as of today - binders to keep their papers in (only because I happened to stop by Office Depot and they happened to have a bunch of 3-ring binders for $.25 each, rather than ~$2.00). I need to dig out my 3-hole punch also.

Probably part of the problem is the lack of a state budget -- schools are loathe to spend money they're not certain they have. But... I sort of think this is ridiculous.
  • Current Mood: frustrated frustrated
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Sounds pretty crappy hun :/

Is there any way you can complain or try to improve the money situation?

I can complain - everyone is complaining - but I don't think it would do much good. The administration is as grumpy about this as everyone else, it seems.
I feel really bad for these kids :(

Hopefully having a good teacher like you will make a difference :D

And yet, if given all of that insanity, your kids don't make adequate yearly progress - ie: they're not up to an end 4th grade reading level by the end of the year? It will be because you're a poor teacher.

Gotta love No Child Left Behind. Great concept, crappy execution.
Well, these problems don't have anything to do with NCLB -- and no one expects they'll make that kind of progress. I think they would be happy having them go up to the next level on their CSTs.
:( I wish I had advice... I'll think good thoughts for you.
Hi, Alli!

I know you're busy with the new job, but my only suggestion is to be pro-active in obtaining donations of supplies. Check with the local businesses near your school; "hint" to friends, parents, neighbors; you might check with the local Office Depot, Staples, etc., and see if they have a donation policy; try writing to Crayola and other vendors of the supplies you use...

Don't forget the 99 cent stores and the like...

Check with the local public library. Sometimes the librarians can be a useful resource too. Also, check with the Salvation Army, or the Purple Heart Society and other organizations for assistance.

I know your students are low-income, but they might still be able to do things to help themselves...can/bottle collecting to take to a recycle center for an example.

Keep up the good work, Alli. Those kids need you.


Best wishes.
umm, wow. That's awful :(

I'm really glad that you're teaching these groups of kids and hopefully their English skills will improve!

I hope you're able to get some budget stuff worked out so you can actually get some reasonable supplies and all.