Thursday, February 11, 2010

You're Going to Have To Drag Me Out of My Room Kicking and Screaming

Finally, we were back in school today after what seems to have been day after day after day of snow days. It's still cold out (didn't get above freezing today, about, oh, 15 degrees below normal) and the snow isn't melting much, but it's not on the roads and the buses can run so we're in session.

And we're so freaking far behind that it's nearly giving me hives.

This whole year has been a race from the get go. Not only did we get new, tougher, standards, but for some reason seventh grade ended up with a lot more material to cover than either sixth or eighth grade did. We can't quite figure this out. You would think the Powers That Be would have evened it up a bit, but NOOOOO, they had to give the most content to the group that is probably the least capable of learning anything, and that's seventh graders. It's the hormones.

Anyway, we've had a dickens of a time trying to keep up with the pacing guide established over the summer and now, after seven snow days, Mrs. Eagle, Mrs. Hummingbird and I just looked at each other, tossed it aside and said, "Screw it."

Yeah, well, we may not be ready for the third benchmark but at this point We Don't Freaking Care anymore. We'll be ready for the Very Big Deal Government Mandated Test come April, but it's going to be a battle to get there. We don't need any more snow days, and God forbid, any of us get sick and have to turn our classes over to a sub. We need to be here, in our rooms, teaching like there's no tomorrow.

Which makes me wonder why Mrs. Standards wants me to come to a meeting at Central Office to help some other seventh grade teachers put together a Very Big Deal Government Mandated Test review program.

Let me step back a bit. About five or six years ago, Mrs. Eagle and I, along with our other seventh grade science teacher at the time, Mrs. Robin, asked Mrs. Standards if she could help us come up with a really good two week review program for the Very Big Deal Government Mandated Test. Great idea! So we put this program together, which is basically a theme/standard a day, lots of mini-labs, mini quizzes, hands on, keep them so busy they can't even think of getting into trouble, review. It kicks ass. It's complete chaos and it's exhausting, but the end result? Best damn scores in the county.

So, this year I've helped Mrs. Standards with some tech stuff on the new textbook, even taught an in service on how to use the online features (I swear, I can't believe how many teachers aren't even using this, but that's another story for another day) and now I'm apparently her go-to person when it comes to seventh grade stuff.

So, apparently some of the other seventh grade teachers in The District had heard about our program (and probably wondered "How in the hell did they get those scores out of those little gangbangers over at That School?") and asked if I could help them put together something for their kids.

Hey, no problem, I'm glad to share.

Except I find out that she wants me to take half a day (of course the half when I'm teaching and don't have planning) and leave my room to go help these other teachers.

Which I'm not willing to do. We've lost seven days - that's SEVEN DAYS - so far to snow (and more coming), and I'm not leaving my classroom when I still have teaching to do.

So, I email her and inform her that Mrs. Eagle and Mrs. Hummingbird are actually working on The Program (we're re-writing it with all the new standards, and since Mrs. Eagle is Mrs. Hummingbird's mentor, they're using this as mentoring time too) every Friday and we'd all be glad to have anyone come over and work with us, but it will have to be after school.

Because we aren't leaving our classrooms until that Damn Very Big Deal Government Mandated Test is over.


Theresa Milstein said...

Good for you!

Mister Teacher said...

Funny, here we just had our FIRST day off because of snow... said...

I found this years ago when we started the Academy. We were traveling all over telling others how to do it. Finally I said, enough, come see me if you want to know how we do this.