September 7th, 2008

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.
etc // rock out kitty

and now for your viewing pleasure

I've gotten out of the habit of watching certain TV shows on certain nights, so I'm making myself a helpful schedule.

8pm, FOX: Terminator: SCC (9/8) -- Dollhouse at midseason
8pm, CBS: Big Bang Theory (9/22)
830pm, CBS: Two and a Half Men (9/22)
9pm, NBC: Heroes (9/22)

9pm, FOX: Fringe (9/9 - 8pm 2-hour premiere)

8pm, FOX: Bones
8pm, ABC: Pushing Daisies (10/1)

8pm, CBS: Survivor (9/25)
930pm, NBC: The Office (9/25)

8pm, FOX: Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
10pm, NBC: Life (previewing on 9/29)

There's other stuff I might give a shot at, but these are the shows I want to make sure I see. Fringe and Dollhouse are the only new shows I plan on bothering with... The Mentalist and My Own Worst Enemy and Eleventh Hour all look like your standard "won't last the season" shows... but then, I thought that about Chuck, too.

Am I missing anything?