So… I’m walking down the hallway, minding my business, and the AEA (Educator Association) rep for our school is nearby, being loud. He’s kind of awesomely loud in a way that’s really fun for students, although it does make him seem a little crazy.
He and I start talking, and he’s being super-negative about the state of education, so I remind him of a speech he gave in front of the entire faculty last year about how it’s okay to be realistic about the current state of things as long as we’re hoping towards the future.
His response catches me off-guard a bit, because he starts to show some of the heart behind his ranting and yelling that so often consume the hallways after work. And he’s expressing broken-heartedness for students. This is fascinating to me, because he’s more of a naysayer in my mind than anything else… and that’s when it hits me: He’s all-in with education. Even though he’s super unhappy about the state of things, education is his life.
This dude has been trying to get me to join the association for years, and every time we talk about it, I’m honest with him and I say, “I agree with everything you’re saying, but I unfortunately don’t care enough to throw my money into the mix.” And he’s polite, and says that he gets it… but I didn’t understand that the conversation was really about life’s meaning. I know, right… we’re getting very deep and philosophical here.
This dude has to keep working on improving a jacked-up system that is too bureaucratic and convoluted to improve much in any given time-frame, because that gives his life meaning. I honestly do my best as a teacher, and I love students, but teaching isn’t my life. It pays the bills. I’m not all-in.
Also today, I ended up working late, because I’m having to take over a program that I’ve run every year since I became a teacher except for last year… Unfortunately, in weaseling my way out of that program last year (in the hopes I’d never have to handle it again), I managed to screw myself royally for this year. The program is for English Language Learners, and in addition to teaching a Basic English Class, the person running the program has to deal with a crap-ton of paperwork and legal hooplah.
Well, I started looking through student files and trying to get things organized, when I realized that the lady who did the job last year really effed things up. A lot. She ignored the entire file cabinet I gave her that had the existing student files in them, and thus ended up creating brand-new files for kids that already had them. This seems like it’s not a big problem, but it is. You see, English Language Learners each have a special file and a special number that is special to them. That file and that number becomes their identification in every computer system we have. We who are in charge of the ELL programs have the power to create new files and new numbers and no one really checks up on us. So… this lady made it seem like one student was actually two, and she did this for more students than I’ve actually identified thus far.
Additionally, she did not send any of our files away from our school. This means that the district now believes that students who were at our school two years ago are still there. They believe that students who have actually graduated are in my class. Also, some students who used to go to our school now attend to other schools in the district… but their files did not go with them, so I suspect the ELL masters at those schools created new files and new numbers for the students they received who seemingly didn’t have numbers or files.
Big picture: the district believes it has more English Language Learners than it really has and allocated $ it shouldn’t have allocated.
I stayed late at work to try to work out how many ELLs actually attend my school. Then, it started
raining monsooning. I rushed outside in an attempt to get on the roads before they flooded because my school is in the middle of about eight trillion washes that flood in monsoons. Also, I drive just about the worst monsooning car ever (although I’ve been told beetles can float, so maybe it wouldn’t be too bad). I prayed out loud, “Jesus don’t let my car get stuck, please.” And there were about 12 times that I believed we weren’t going to make it, but we did, so here’s a picture of my flooded back patio. 🙂