Saturday, August 14, 2010


One of the problems with our wacky unbalanced classes this year is that some kids that really shouldn't be together are. Poor Mrs. Social Studies was ready to pack it in, retire, and move to Arizona when she realized that not only was her 5th period (the class we take to lunch and historically, the Worst Class of the Day) her largest class at 36, but that it had every single one of our wannabe thugs in it.

One of the little darlings, Bad Attitude Boy, had already had hallway conferences with two of us, had been barked at (severely) by me, and was rapidly proving to be a real pain in the neck. In addition, we looked at his records and realized that he really should be in our inclusion math and wasn't. So, Mr. Math, Mrs. Social Studies and I sat down and reworked his schedule to put him in the proper math class and to remove him from his buddies in Mrs. Social Studies' crowded class and put him in my nearly all girl class of 21. (I figure putting him in with a bunch of rather serious-minded girls, rather than another set of class clowns, would be a new and sobering reality for him.)

Before we can do a schedule change, we have to do a parent contact to let them know we're doing a schedule change (just in case they actually care), so Mr. Math went off to do that during planning.

I was setting at my desk putting the final touches on a lab when Mr. Math comes in.

"Can I borrow your phone?" he asks. "Something weird keeps happening every time I try to call Bad Attitude Boy's parents and I want to make sure it's not my phone."

Let me step back a minute and mention our issue with the phones. Last spring Someone Somewhere Who Has Authority decreed that all phones would be removed from our desks and mounted on the wall by the door of each classroom. Apparently many phones were getting knocked off desks and we were spending a fortune replacing them. No one asked the teachers if this was convenient (it isn't) or if it made sense, they just up and came and took our phones and put them by the door. Since many of our classrooms have doors right next to each other, it's a real treat trying to figure out who's phone is ringing when you are doing hall duty. The other annoying part is that if you want to talk to a parent with your computer in front of you (so you can read the information in PowerSchool) you have to unhook your computer from the teacher station goodies (document reader, LCD projector, etc.) and carry it over there and find a place to put it so you can read from it. I've seen teachers sitting on the floor by their door with their computers in their lap, talking on the phone because not everyone has a table to put by the door! I have my teacher station somewhat close by so I went and bought a 25' phone handset cord so I can see my computer and talk on the phone.

But anyway...back to Mr. Math's phone problem. I wasn't surprised, at all, by Mr. Math's question because yet another issue with the phones being moved is that, for some weird reason, they don't work all that well now. I was having an awful time with static, and voices cutting in and out (until, amazingly, I spent my own money on my 25' phone cord), so I figured Mr. Math was having a similar problem.

"Go ahead and use it all you want," I said.

"If you don't mind, I want to put it on speaker phone so you can hear it in case it does it again," he said. No problem. He pressed the button, dialed away, and the phone rang twice then picked up.

"Hi there, this is Mr. Math from The School and I'd like to..." he said and then we heard a very loud and audible CLICK.

"See, it did it again!" he said.

"That's not the phone," I told him. "That's someone hanging up on you!"

"That's what I thought," he said. "It happens as soon as I mention that I'm from The School! I can actually hear breathing on the line, and then they hang up!"

Amazing. So much for all that parent involvement that we keep hearing the politicians bark about. Good thing we weren't calling to tell The NonParent that the little darling had been, oh, hit by a car or something.

Mr. Math did go to Mrs. Sparrow, one of our admins, and she said to document the three hang-ups and change the schedule.

So there.


Mardie said...

This sounds strangely familiar. Bad Attitude Boy's parents must not have 'call display,' which is usually how our BABs parents avoid phone calls from the school. said...

Welcome to the world of an inner city school teacher. I dealt with this for many years.