Thursday, February 10, 2011

Prepping for the SOL, Round 2

If I can get through this year, I can do anything.  Not only is this my first year teaching and I'm in a really challenging school, but I also am on a cart (versus actually having a classroom--I just wheel around, to and fro, a portable font of learning), AND I have two SOL classes.  WHEW!

I am happy to report that at this point, only 5 of my students from 11th grade have not passed the SOL.  In fact, two of my students went from failing the SOL the first go round to passing in the "Advanced" category.  This really reaffirms my theory that many kids just blew off the SOL.

Now, I am prepping my 10th graders to take the Writing SOL in less than a month.  The principal came up with an idea where we identify students who really need some help and then have an SOL prep class twice a week until they test in March.  Its a great idea, but here is the rub:  our contract hours are over at 2:25.  The class goes until 3:00.  I understand that as teachers, we all go beyond contract hours because it can be necessary to get the job done.  We stay late, come in early, take work home--but no one requires us to do it.  Yet, we were basically told by our principal that we had to stay.  I suppose we could have said no, but it would not have looked very good.  We want our kids to pass the SOLs and of course, we are willing to help them.  So, we stayed today and worked with the kids.

The interesting part is how much I enjoyed it.  Many of the kids I worked with were not my students.  For the most part, the kids were working hard and appreciated the help.  This is why I became a teacher.  It was so great to have the time to work with the kids one on one, without having to deal with classroom management issues.  The principal was there, so anyone who didn't take the opportunity seriously would have been asked to leave.  It was great to have the time to sit there and work with the kid until the light bulb came on.  It was worth the 35 minutes of unpaid work.

You know what's not worth it and so I'm not doing it anymore?  Calling parents who think their kids are angels and that I am the problem.  I love it when their kid has been kicked out of class repeatedly for being disruptive and/or doesn't turn in work and yet somehow, they manage to turn it around and make it about me.  I actually had a parent tell me after I gave her a laundry list of inappropriate behaviors this child has displayed in class, that the issue was that I am not a good role model.  OHHHHH!  Thanks!  Now I get it!   Anyway, finally an Administrator (not the Soul Crushing one, obviously, as if...!) told me three things.  One, once you realize that a parent isn't going to be responsive, end the conversation and never call again unless the kid is failing.  Two, don't do a lot of work at home.  Home should be the escape and too much cross over is going to have a bad impact on your personal life.  Three, let it go--you can't save them all and you are going to lose your mind trying.

With all that in mind, I am trying desperately trying to keep my eye on the prize--the husband and I are going on a cruise in just three weeks.  I am taking two personal days and a sick day and I have the total support of my department head and my coworkers who have vowed to cover for me.  Soon, I will be living my own personal Corona commercial and letting the real world, melt away! Ole!

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