Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I can ride my bike with no handlebars

In the midst of the chaos that is the first day of school, an announcement on the loudspeaker called all the AIS teachers down to the office. Dutifully down to the office I went, where I was met by the principal, who looked at me and said, "You're still AIS? Not classroom?"

Readers, I almost had a heart attack -- I was sure my job was about to be changed -- but fortunately it was just a mix-up.

All in all, I had a good first day! Except for the debacle that was 50 minutes, which of course is what I'm going to write about first because debacles are such juicy fun to read. Here's how it went down:

Our regular school day ends at 2:20 pm. But, we have a program that we call "50 minutes" (some schools have "37.5 minutes," but they do theirs four days a week and ours is only three days a week) until 3:10 pm for kids who need extra academic help. As a result, some students leave for the day at 2:20, and others stay until 3:10. Some stay in their own classrooms, some go to other classrooms, and some go to places like the library and the computer lab where out-of-classroom teachers like me work with them.

I got a roster of my 50 minutes kids in my mailbox this morning. I knew who they were and I had even told some of them they'd be coming to my group at the end of the day. (One of them responded with "Cool!") Then a classroom teacher happened to say to me, "I got a list of the kids who stay in my room for 50 minutes, but what about my kids who go to other classrooms? How do I know who is supposed to go where?"

That, my friends, is an excellent question!

At 2:20 today, I was waiting for my group of 50 minutes kids. At 2:35, I was still waiting. That's odd, I thought. I know it's the first day, but they're all coming from different rooms, so some of them should have been here by now. I figured their teachers probably hadn't gotten a list of which kids went where and just kept them in their own rooms, so I decided to take a little walk around to the classrooms and see if I could pick them up.

But alas, it was just as I suspected (and feared): My classroom teachers called the administrator in charge of 50 minutes and posed her the same question that teacher asked me: How do I know where to send my students who leave the room for 50 minutes? And the administrator answered by telling them: You don't have any students who go to other rooms for 50 minutes. They either stay with you, or they go home.

She sent my 50 minutes kids home! Only they couldn't go home, because I'm sure nobody was there to pick them up, because they all received letters informing them that they would stay for 50 minutes. They probably sat in the auditorium from 2:20 to 3:10, and then their parents tried to pick them up in their regular dismissal spots at 3:10, only they weren't there because they were in the auditorium.

Angry parents + missing children + screwy attendance forms = stressed-out school.

Other than that, my first day was fine. I practiced putting my teacher voice back on ("I don't know why I hear talking," "I really like the way Iris is following directions," you know the drill) and I am ready to go (famous last words)!


Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work.

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