Friday, September 20, 2002

Did you ever notice how much more FUN it is to do nothing when there are other things that you should be doing (like . . . oh . .. for example . . . off the top of my head . . . writing up a case study, outlining a paper you don't want to write, or reading 100 horribly dense pages about the parts of speech assigned by the worlds WROST writing teacher!!) I'd forgotten how much fun staring at the wall can be when used as a method for avoiding homework!

The worlds worst writing teacher (who you may remember, is neither a writer or a teacher) had his second chance this week - - I still don't like him, or his methods, or his ideas, or anything else about him. He gave a long lecture (mostly read from page 47 of the APA Manual) about pronouns; specifically not using "their" when you mean "He or she" . This confused me, because page 66 of the APA manual suggests one ought not use "he or she" and instead suggests THEIR as a way of eliminating gender bias. Of course, I sweetly pointed out the inconsistancy and watched "Mr.Writing-Teacher" fumble to try and explain or rationalize it away (I'm usually much more subtle in my trouble-making methods, but I was bored with the pronoun lecture and needed to entertain myself! -- bad julie)

Here's a little known factoid - 50% of all charter schools close within 5 years. Here's another piece of trivia - if a charter schools payroll checks BOUNCE, maybe it's time to start looking for a new job!!!! The third week of school is over, and I'm wondering if I really did throw my life away. (Today was the WRONG day for this to happen) The principal had a "reward movie" planned for the "good kids", but at the last minute decided the classroom teachers needed to have a meeting, and ALL the kids (even the naughty ones) would go to the movie ("so they can see what they'll be missing out on next time we have a reward movie") While the classroom teachers met, the 4 specials teachers got to monitor all 150 kids, and handle popcorn and punch distribution (AAAHHHH!!!!) THEN, I come home to find my first paycheck doesn't exist, and the bank has charged ME $4 as a "handling fee" (!!!!!!!)

It's all out of control -- espcially Student Discipline, yet I fear it is more than just that!
("Lest anyone think it was "just me", I assure you it is not. The spanish teacher and I have had many a conversation on these topics, and most everyone recognizes that disipline is a major issue!)

All my "romantic ideals" about teaching in an inner city school "with a mission" are gone

Several years ago, I read Punished By Rewards , and made a conscious effort to stop bribing my students, BUT reward systems are aplenty at this little academy. (Classrooms can earn (and loose) points for parties, then there is this school-wide "reward" movie each month, Kids can earn "school bucks" for behaving and buy stuff from the school store, Every classroom has a "warning chart" where everyone can see just how close their classmates are to losing privileges or their mothers called . . . .) It's too much. Even if I weren't morally opposed to it all, it'd be wrong. I've tried to distance myself from it, but the school is so based on rewards it's hard to get away from (FYI - it's not working, the kids are still crazy - - part of that is due to the culture of poverty - - part of that is due to a bunch of white (female) teachers (half of whom were not on staff last year) - - and part of it is the plain simple fact that the KIDS GET AWAY WITH IT!!! (as evidenced by the "reward movie" today)

I'm not sure what to do
I'm going to start looking for another job
Not just because of discipline "issues", and not just because they stiffed me on my first paycheck. We do not have a union at this school, and they do not issue contracts to teachers (it is "at will employment" which means they can let anyone go at any time, for any reason) IF half of all charter schools fail, and IF this charter school can't keep money enough in it's checking account to cover the first set of paychecks, and IF there isn't a contract or union to guarantee I have a job through May - - - I might be wise to begin considering alternative employment options.