Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ack-Ack-Ack-Part Three

You know it's going to be an interesting week when the school nurse is out sick with the flu and isn't expected back until next week.

I suppose all the coughing, hacking, and spewing finally got to her. Thank goodness she was well and healthy on Monday when we were able to get our flu shots during our planning periods. So, in the meantime, if a kid needs meds we send them to guidance (and I swear, half the school seems to be on meds) and if they're sick we send them up front to call home and get them out of the building.

One of the high schools in the district is running 25% absent so they've closed for the next two days. We're only running at about 15% absent, so we're nowhere near closing. However, last week a lot of the sixth grade was out and now a lot (more) seventh graders are out.

Starting last week we started to get emails and homework forms that read something like this:

"Sick Kid is going to be out until Someday. Could you get together his/her missing work and send it up front from Mom to pick up?"

Seventh grade has 1st and 2nd period planning so if we get one of these emails after 9:00 am, we don't have any free time (except maybe a few minutes after we've gulped down our lunch before we pick up the kids from the cafeteria) to get anything together. We have repeatedly asked the secretaries to please let the 7th grade parents know that we'll have the stuff ready by the next day because we are - surprise! - busy TEACHING and don't have time to get together five days worth of work until we're done TEACHING. And that's after school.

Does this happen? Not often enough.

So we've rushed around trying to get work together for these kids, in between TEACHING our classes, and have a kid run these packets up to the front office. Sometimes we get the stuff up there in the afternoon, and sometimes we don't.

And here's the kicker. Most of the time the parents don't bother to come pick the stuff up.

Kid you not.

We have had a least half a dozen of these kids come back to class over the past few days, all of whom had piles of work sitting up in the front office.

Mrs. Social Studies and I asked one of these kids, who strolled in today, about the work we put up in the front office.

"Um, Mom didn't come pick it up," he said. "She got busy."

I bet. Kind of like the mom who has a kid who is going hungry (no money in the lunch account) and who's too busy "playing her computer video games" to either give her kid a check or sign a free and reduced lunch request form.

Kids as accessories. I swear, that's all they are for some folks.

And in the meantime, I'm not really motivated to stop my TEACHING to get work together for some kid if all it's going to do is collect dust in the front office.

8 comments:

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Here in the desert no flu yet. I talked to our school nurse and she suggested that I just get the regular flu shot, and that she would continue to look into the swine flu shot as well. She has concerns about side effects and I don't really blame her. Stay healthy!

Lady said...

I got to the point where I wouldn't put together a homework packet unless someone (parent, brother, sister, etc) came to my classroom before or after school to get it. I got tired of wasting time when they'd sit in the office collecting dust.

Mrs. H said...

The exact same thing happens to me! I have first hour plan every day and one day this week I got five homework requests! What really gets me is when the kids come to class and tell me that they never got the work from the office (that their parents requested). So frustrating!

Mister Teacher said...

Our nurse has been out sick this whole week too! And so has our principal! I've also had a few kids that I haven't seen nor heard about since last Thursday. I am assuming they haven't just withdrawn and moved to another school, but man are they missing a lot of material. And they're not the highest academicians to begin with!

dragonlady said...

Mrs. Bluebird, you have a serious attitude problem on top of a serious management problem. You should have a system to develop ongoing packets of work for ANY absent student, and those packets should be signed off for by students when they return. You can then hold them accountable for work they've missed (no more parents saying you never gave make-up work!), and the packet will be ready for delivery to the office for parent requests to pick up. One or two reliable students in each teaching period can handle this task daily...all they'll need is a class list and a few paperclips...check off the absentee, collect the work, label it with the kids' names, put the stacks in your designated "home." You'll be free to ENJOY your students and your teaching!

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Actually I have a system in place. Each kid has a mailbox...all their work goes in there, and there's an assignment book that lists exactly what we did so all they have to do is check it. At the end of every day I file all their wok (takes a few minutes) and it's there waiting for them to pick up when they return. It's when the parents call and it's work for the FUTURE, which is what we're seeing, that there's a problem. If it's for the next week, I don't have the copies run yet, or the calendar filled out.

I also have a problem with kids doing secretarial work for me during class. My students don't have time to do work like that as I teach bell to bell. They have three minutes to fill out their agenda and then we hit the ground running. It's also not their job to do my job for me.

Mister Teacher said...

Um, "a serious attitude problem" is pretty harsh, Dragonlady!

I have had a ton of kids out as well. My concern about giving them all the homework they've missed is that some of it is stuff that they haven't learned because they weren't in class those days the HW was assigned. Sending them home with the papers as soon as they got back seems either futile or an invitation for them to just have somebody else do it for them...

mtharp said...

My kids are grown and I'm currently going back to school for my teacher certification. I always wondered about missed school due to sickness and make-up work. Luckily, my kids didn't miss more than two days in a row. Even then it was hard to collect their make-up work. I tried and I went to the school when a teacher said they would have it ready. Usually they wanted the kid to return to school and get the makeup work later, which often put us more behind. I liked the above blog that showed an organizational system with file folders. I always figured a list of the work reviewed each day and homework assignments would be easy to obtain. Don't teachers know what they covered each day in class by subject? Isn't it easy to write down at the end of the day, if it isn't already jotted down somewhere? Schools are always going to have students out sick, why such a lack in the system?