Thursday, May 15, 2008

Will This School Year EVER End???

Long ago, in a schoolhouse far, far away, teachers taught.

I wish we could go back there sometime soon, sigh.

This has been an exhausting week at work. Our principal applied for and was awarded a John Madden (pro football player turned pro football coach turned NFL broadcaster). This grant covered all the costs associated with all the students in our building going to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

On Monday our kindergarten, first and second graders went. They spent several hours at the Hall of Fame, then ate lunch under a big tent because it was raining outside, then returned to school in time for dismissal.

On Tuesday, our third and fourth graders went, and I was lucky enough to be assigned to accompany them.

It's been DECADES since I've ridden in a school bus more than 3 miles. I'd forgotten that the smell of diesel fuel made me nauseous. I'd forgotten how bumpy the buses actually were. I'd forgotten how S L O W the buses traveled.

When we got there, the sign in the window said that an adult admission was $18! YES, THAT'S EIGHTEEN DOLLARS....EACH! I was shocked that it was that expensive. My initial reaction to that was, "Thank goodness I'm not paying for my admission!"

It's one thing to go to a place like this and be able to take your time, look at what you want to look at, skip over what you're not interested in and and browse at your leisure. However, it's an entirely different thing to be on a strict timetable with each section of the museum and the actual hall of fame part. Fortunately the kids were really good. In fact, the only problems with the kids were that a few of them had trouble sitting down on the bus on the way home. I can only comment on the bus I was on, so I don't know how the kids on the other buses were behaving.

We were able to eat our lunches outside because the weather was gorgeous, so that was a help. The kids got to run a little energy off before boarding the buses to come home.

On Wednesday (yesterday) our building hosted all the elementaries in our district for a "Safety Day." Our principal arranged it all and had at least 10 different stations set up and each group traveled from station to station. It was all held outside, so we were really hoping the weather would hold out. It began to rain right before lunch, so we all ended up eating inside, and by the time we went back out after lunch, the rain had stopped.

It was really a great day, much better than I thought it would be. We had 20 minutes at each station and they included an ambulance, the local dive team, a Med Flight helicopter (it was so cool to see them come in and land), an entire parking lot of different kinds of firetrucks, a "Jaws of Life" demo, the local SWAT team, seat belt demonstration, the sheriff's department K-9 unit, and police cruisers. The professionals who demonstrated each station were absolutely wonderful and extremely informative. They talked in language the children could understand and answered a TON of questions. It was a tiring, yet fun-filled day.

By last night I was in pretty bad shape. Not only was I tired, but my arthritic knees were not functioning very well. In addition to that, I was getting more and more frustrated by the minute, thinking about what all I still needed to get accomplished this week, knowing that I only had two days left.

That's when my mind started to wander...thinking about how next week is booked solid with things we need to do, including a final reading test for all the students. It's a computer generated test that we do in the computer lab, but we can only be in there on Monday morning, all day Wednesday, and Friday afternoon because the actual computer classes are held all the other times during the week. Of course it just so happens that with all the special events going on next week, the fourth graders aren't available ANY of those times! Third grade will also not be available on Wednesday due to a special event.

I keep asking for 36 hours in my day, but so far no one has approved my request.

Once again, I guess I just care about my job too much. Another teacher at school keeps telling me not to worry about what doesn't get done. She said it's not our fault that we were only given so much time to get all this stuff done, and since someone else scheduled all the extra events we shouldn't let it upset us about what we don't get finished.

Well I can't help it. I care about it. Like I said here I still have passion for my job. That's why I'm still doing it. I'm NOT just in it for the money, believe me.

And I guess I'm almost all alone in the thoughts that with a little over two weeks left, there's still some teaching to do. This will be the last time many of our kids open a book until the end of August.

That's so sad.

(Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.)


Jen said...

My last full year of teaching, I had the opposite problem. We finished the entire curriculum two and a half weeks before school ended. I basically ran a day camp for the end of school and let the kids play all day. The teacher next door did the same thing (because she was jealous of my class) but hadn't finished her curriculum. She wasn't re-hired next year.

Paulie said...

Lucky you with just a couple weeks left. Here the kids go until almost the end of June.