Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Chewing through the leather straps

What a day !!

The day was in trouble from the start. At 7:30 this morning, my mom was to have brain surgery. She has a tumor on her brain behind her eye that has been swelling. The DR removed it this morning. She is fine. The operation went great. She is in surgical ICU until tomorrow. This has added to the stress level that has already been piling up for the last few weeks.

Let me give you the short list of stress factors in my life. Some of these are just common run of the mill factors until compiled by some extenuating circumstances.

#1 ... My job is on the line. Not today. Not tomorrow. BUT, I am reminded occasionally that "we" have to get the numbers up in my enrollment of my entire program is in jeopardy. It isn't like I can go to the HS and twist a few arms and force students to take Electricity. It is a brand new program here, never offered before. The counselors don't even know how to promote or schedule it. Still yet, every now and then, I hear the 'numbers' tale (it isn't long enough to be a speech.)

One of my third block students said he heard I was leaving. I explained to them the process and that I was not quitting. They were going to have to put up with me for at least 3 years.

#2 ... Program Assessment. The state instituted a program of assessment and evaluation to answer the questions of where we might be failing to educate kids in our Area Technology Centers. All schools are going to be assessed in two years. Half will be assessed this year and half next year. We got picked for the first round because we have a new principal and we had done well in the past.

The Program Assessment is a great idea. I have no problem with that. I think, we, as teachers, must be accountable for our job. This is much different than my old field of construction electricity. In CE, there was a test every time you finished a project. It worked or it didn't. It was a pass/fail kind of test. This is a much more subjective field. Whether you are passing or failing can be interpreted either way from the exact same information. One assessor may think you are doing great, and another may look at the same data and think your program/teaching sucks.
The way the State assesses us is with a program assessment box. It consists of 21 sections consisting of 108 folders. There should be documentation of our teaching process to find a place in each of these folders.
My problem with that is ... Anyone can fake the paperwork. I know some here that do and consider the whole process a 'dog and pony show'. I do not. As a parent of school age children, I am interested in seeing that they get the best from every teacher.

That assessment is tomorrow.

#3 ... The case concerning Tammy. Her wrists hurt all the time. I don't want $30K and walk away. I want her not to be in pain. I want her to be able to sleep at night. I want her to be able to dry her hair and brush it. She will fuss because I am worrying, but that is just what she will have to do. I am going to worry, even when she tries so hard to hide how much and how often she hurts. I let her get away with her act, only because she tries so hard not to worry me. It doesn't work. I could go on and on about this, but you get the point. It hurts me when she hurts. She gets frustrated when I do things for myself that she can do for me. I can't help it.

#4 ... My 4th/5th block. I am not sure that this is a symptom or a cause. There was a blow up in class. I had the Estill Co kids working on a project this afternoon. One of the kids said she didn't feel good and didn't want to do it. I explained to her that if she didn't work on the project she would receive a zero for the day. She begrudgingly got her tools and began working slowly. Another of the students was at my desk talking to me about her situation at home. She is abused. I have talked about that before. I told her she needed to work on the project as well. She opted for the zero. That was her choice. The first student began to complain about it and her friend joined in as well.

I explained to them that what they did reflected on their grade and what she did reflected on her grade. They needed to worry about what they were doing and not what the other students were doing. This did not satisfy them. They wanted to whine about it more. I told them about real life. You can't go to work and tell your boss that you don't feel good and expect that you will get paid for doing nothing.

The first student went to the office and requested out of my class. That was fine. If she doesn't want to do the work, I would prefer that she be in a class where she isn't going to flunk. Throughout the next bit of class they still whined and complained about student 2 talking to me. Student 2 went to the office and requested out of the class so she wouldn't have to put up with the others. This brought the principal in, I explained what was happening, including my becoming somewhat defensive.

The principal called the Estill Co. School and they decided to keep the students here in my class. They can pass or flunk, but they will not be moving.

Still, I hate getting defensive. I hate the edge of losing control. I hate anger. I realize it is vital in the proper context, but anger rarely comes out in the right context. If you lose your temper, you do not have control of it any more. I didn't lose my temper, but I could have.

That situation is resolved, somewhat. Anyone not wishing to work in the shop will get a zero on their daily grade and then they will go help the maintenance guy clean up trash around the building.
One of the girls said I should 'make' the students do the work. I told them, I cannot make you work. I cannot twist your arm and make you put up electrical boxes. I can put the work out there and you can do it or not. I can put the test in front of you and you can take it or not. That grade is all the force I have. Unless ... They want me to start handing out detentions and such.

Add this to the daily stress of living, driving 20 miles each way in traffic of idiots, dealing with other morons in school, raising teenagers and a smart 9 year old (for 6 more days), concerns about finances, my kids personal problems (always shared), drama from Tommy upstairs, and the myriad of other little stress inducers, and it is a wonder I sleep at all.

Some days it just isn't worth chewing through the leather straps.

On the bright side, I am happy and head over heels in love !!

1 comment:

TammyJ said...

Hey baby..

Why chew through them .. I like you in leather straps.. and you know what.. that head over heels in love thing.. I know that feeling with all of my heart.. love ya sexy man..