Wednesday, September 5, 2007

That didn't take long....

Yesterday, I mentioned that we lost our assistants this year, so we have no help at all with our class. I can't believe I didn't whine more about this yesterday because it already caused a problem at the end of the day. Technically, our work day ends at 2:45 when our class is dismissed. I know that seems kind of weird, but that's our contract. However, the kindergarten students are not dismissed like the rest of the school. They need to be picked up at our classrooms, and signed out by whoever picks them up. Now, 98% of the time, I'm at school long after the last of my children is picked up, which is usually after 3:00. (For those of you not in the know, CPS teachers are the unofficial "free babysitter" for the community!!)

Anyway, like I said, I almost never leave on time. On the rare occasion when I did need to leave on time, my assistant would handle dismissal. Not a problem, because the assistants work until 3:15. Well, now we have no assistant to help with dismissal. Now, normally, this wouldn't really be an issue, because like I said, I'm there anyway. But yesterday, I had an appointment for my dog with the vet right after school. It didn't occur to me until lunchtime that I wasn't going to be able to leave when the bell rang. "Now what?" Long story longer, I left about 3:15. By the time I got out of there, I was annoyed, so I stewed all the way home.

It occurred to me that the earliest I'll ever be able to leave is 3:00, which is 15 minutes past my "real" end time. That might not seem like much, but that comes to a minimum of 75 minutes per week. That's equal to almost 2 prep periods every week. I suppose some would think this is really petty, but it upsets me nonetheless.

[Side story----when I got home to get Buster, my dog, after driving like a lunatic from school, I rushed in the back door, opened the kitchen door, and found that my little darling decided to play with the garbage that day. Now, there were at least 3 pot's worth of coffee grounds in the garbage can, among other lovely items such as egg shells and leftover salad. Not only were there coffee grounds from one end of my kitchen to the other, there were also coffee-paw prints everywhere! All I saw was red! I couldn't deal with it at the moment even if I wanted to because we were already late for the vet. It was exactly what I DIDN'T need yesterday! The real kicker was that I just spent a good bit of time the day before sweeping, vacuuming, and then mopping the kitchen floor. Not once, but twice!! Don't worry, Laura, he's still alive!]

OK, back to school. I've already bored you enough with the mundane minutia regarding this dismissal problem, so let me just say this. I ended up getting into it with my principal in the middle of the hallway over this issue. It wasn't pretty. He caught me at a bad moment, and then said something that set me off, and boy, did he hear it. We repeated the scene after school, again in the hallway, when he had the gall to ask why I was still there at 3:00 ("I thought you needed to leave when the bell rang.") He hasn't heard the last from me on this issue, because now he's just pissed me off. He forgets that he needs me more than I need this job. Actually, I reminded him during this after school scene, and he said something like, "Oh, I see, now that you graduated and got your masters, you're too good to work here." I know he was trying to be funny, especially because he saw how pissed I was, but all it did was piss me off more. We're going to have to sit down and come up with a plan here, because I'm not letting it go.

He already gets almost an hour a day out of me without pay because I come in early everyday. Now that's my choice, so I don't expect him to even care, let alone compensate me. But this after school issue is NOT my choice, and I shouldn't have to give any more of my time unless I get compensated in some way. It doesn't even need to be monetarily. I'd be thrilled with an extra prep period or two. Again, I know some would think this sounds petty, but not everyone understands how much time teachers already give without being paid. We grade papers, write lesson plans, prepare lesson materials, and so on, all on our own time, at home. I don't know of many other professions that require that kind of sacrifice of time. Doctors don't take patients home with them, waitstaff don't serve people once they leave the restaurant (unless of course they're moms!), you get the idea. We're already grossly underpaid, so I think it's ballsy to expect us to give even more. Good God, I need to climb down off my soapbox now, I can feel my blood pressure rising again! (I tried to edit out the raunchy language Laura warned you about, but this was the best I could do. Believe me, this had been edited!)

OK, let's see, what is today's positive.....? I didn't get my morning Dunkin Donuts coffee today (large hazelnut, extra cream and 4 Splenda) because the drive-thru line was too long this morning, so I was in desperate need of some caffeine. I was looking through the fridge in the teachers' lounge, and I found a 2 liter of Diet Coke that I had left there in June, marked with my name and room number. I can NOT believe it was still there, since things tend to disappear in that fridge, labeled or not. Needless to say, it almost didn't make it through the day. With the stress of the episode with my principal in the afternoon, I drank way more than I should have. But, it did alleviate the pounding in my head :) So, that's my positive for today -- Finding a full 2 liter bottle of cold Diet Coke! And, there's enough for a morning cup tomorrow!

Here's today's quote:

The soul is healed by being with children.

--Fyodur Dostoevsky

This really held true today, because it was hard to stay in that moment of anger when I was with my babies. They crack me up, and give love so freely. Some of them just met me yesterday, and they all greeted me with hugs this morning, not to mention several times throughout the day. It's funny, the worst behaved ones are the ones that want to hug me the most. They're also the ones that need those hugs the most. OK, before I start getting all mushy, I'm going to sign off for the night. See you tomorrow!


Dori said...

cheer up. :) I'm thankful to have you as my Kinder partner. You always tell like it is and your students adore you.

Christina Shaver said...

Is there any hope of getting assistants back or this is just the way it's going to be?

I can't imagine teaching a class with no assistants. Okay. I can't imagine teaching a class. Let alone all by myself. I lead a girl scout troop one year. ONE.

I realized I wasn't cut out for teaching when one of them decided to try to exit the classroom via a window and I didn't even notice until her foot was out because my attention was diverted to the girl who brought silly string.

How do you keep a class in line?!

Smileygirl said...

Now I understand why you use the language you do!!! That is not fair for you and the other teachers and that principal is damn lucky to have you!

ChiTown Girl said...

Christina, you are hilarious!! But I totally understand, it was silly string, for Pete's sake! You know, the offer to spend the day with me at school is open to you, too. If can get some time to yourself, without the boys, that is. Hey, it may even seem like a vacation :) Not! It would be interesting, nonetheless, and I think you would feel a lot better about some of the behaviors you see in Evan.