Sunday, May 29, 2011

Packing Up to Pack it In

So the last day of school for the kids was on Tuesday the 24th.

The last day for teachers, due to the fact that the kids were forgiven the ungodly number of snow days we had this year but the teachers were not, is Tuesday the 31st.

Which means we have had a lot of time to kill.  Our days usually consisted of about 3 hours of in-services, meetings, workshops or whatever.  Then lunch on our own.  Then the rest of the afternoon was spent packing up our rooms, working with other teachers, and trying to keep from becoming completely bored before we could leave at 2:30.  The 8th grade teachers - every one of which had to change rooms - really needed the time.

Just in case some of you were wondering, the 8th grade teachers had to change rooms for a variety of reasons.  One, since our district is pushing a big huge STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiative into the 8th grade this next year, they finally saw the light and realized that science teachers probably need to be in the rooms with running water and sinks, since the social studies teachers who were in those rooms weren't using the running water and sinks.  (No, I still do not have running water and a sink and it will be a cold day in hell before any of us in the old part of the building ever get those, even if we are teaching science.)  The other reason is that we will again have a number of 8th grade teachers who will be picking up two7th grade classes next year, and it makes sense to have these teachers on the end of the 8th grade hallway that's closest to the7th graders.  Last year we had 7th graders running all over the building (and consequently being late all over the time) because their teacher was way down on the end of the 8th grade hallway.  So, truly, it all works out.  Or it should.

Maybe because the admins solicited topics for the in-services, they actually were, for the most part, pretty interesting.  We did a review of our first year of SWPBS (school wide positive behavior support) implementation which was interesting.  Our discipline referrals are way, way, way down this year, but of course the grade with the most problems is 7th.  Let's face it, they just lose their minds that year, regardless of all the positive reinforcement you give them.  As Mr. Enforcer said, it's amazing the amount of stupid boy stuff that he sees out of the seventh graders.  (Sort of like the kid who smuggled his friend onto the school bus in a duffle bag since he didn't have a permission slip from the principal to ride another bus.  Gotta wonder about that one.)

We also had a great in service on what kind of information you can find in a cumulative file.  The Principal is planning on giving us two days of in-service credit at the beginning of the year to work on the files of our 20% of kids who are considered most at risk so we can come up with some interventions - great idea, if you ask me. As luck would have it, my whole team knew exactly what file the Principal was using as soon as it went up on the document reader - even though the names had been blacked out - because it's one we worked with most of the year.  Truly, this poor kid has one of the worst life stories I've ever heard and you could have heard a pin drop as The Principal went through his file and highlighted things that popped out at her that we needed to look at.  Mother had him at 17, father deceased, did okay on state tests until the 5th grade, removed from the home twice, mother has a drug problem and was charged with abuse and neglect, not to mention the fact that she'd lock her kids in their bedrooms while she turned tricks for drug money, she'd lock them in the car, live-in boyfriend was on the lam for some sort of felony conviction, and it went on and on.  (Is there any surprise here that this kid does not do well in school?)

And of course Mrs. Eagle and I spent a lot of time going through our files (and dumping a lot of stuff), going through our unit binders (and dumping and adding stuff) and generally coming up with some ideas for next year.  Although STEM is going to be hit hard and heavy in 8th grade, we're being "encouraged" to attempt more of it on our own next year as well (no big deal as we did a lot of that this year anyway).

So, it's been productive, and unrushed, but we're all about at the end of finding things to keep us busy.  So one more day, which includes our end of the year lunch, and then we're free.

Except I have a science lab in-service on June 1st.  Maybe I can sleep in on the 2nd...

1 comment:

TeacherFromTN said...

I would love to hear your opinion on the SWPBS. We are taking a full year next year to plan with a designated committee, and will implement it the year after. The principal keeps stressing that it is NOT a "discipline plan", and that it is NOT punitive in nature. This has us a little concerned because we have a population that needs a little "punitive" in their lives! We're an elementary school in East TN with about 65% free and reduced, Title I, large trailer park population with all the stereotypes you would expect from that. So, what do you think?