“Momma Take This Badge Offa Me…I Can’t Use It Anymore.”
That’s a whole lot of deceased banditos. I drew it on Monday, knowing full well what Tuesday and Wednesday would be like this week. The school year is drawing to its close…with all that this entails.
First off, contrary to what most people think, my grades are turned in BEFORE the last day of school. Tuesday in fact. Which means that Wednesday through Friday, students know full well that no assignment has value, and in fact, I am beholden to both paperwork closeouts and cleanup of the room. My method of management is reliant on the work we need to do, which I am very honest about with the kids. Thusly, I actually had a most charming day today, as a result of being up front about it.
Not so everyplace.
First: Monday, all of the non-culminating Eighth graders were contained in the auditorium, while the remainder were taken to the field trip at the beach. That left about 150 students who were angry, to be managed by two substitute teachers. Smart decision? No.
Second: The english teacher with seniority downstairs, who runs a tight ship, took this entire week off. Her classes are now out of control. Beyond the pale.
Third: The other english teacher downstairs, with less than half my experience, thinks that my team should take her five worst kids off her hands for the week because “I’m just tired of them.”
Fourth: Tuesday, my entire upstairs team was to attend a training, replacing all five teachers with subs. Thankfully, the training was on my floor, so i could continuously leave the room to maintain order. In an ironic move, the training was led by a teacher who wanted to be taken seriously, and have more leadership…and could not seem to make decisions during her presentation.
Fifth: The math teacher downstairs insists, at every possible chance and great volume, that the kids are inherently bad and unskilled, and fundamental changes need to be made to the community itself to help them. This is followed by a rant that apparently takes precedence over any conversation, especially those about how far my students have come, how well they are handling this time, and generally charming they can be if given focus.
I can go on…but you see the common denominator. This kids are just fine. They are kids. The reason campus is disorderly, and things are fraying…is that the adults have turned on each other, like the Donner Party, each trying to gain some small advantage for themselves while losing sight of the bigger picture. Like the illustration, myself and the downstairs leader, Agent of GATE, can put down several of these intellectual cowboys…
…but more sneak up on you, frustratingly, in the direction you weren’t looking.
Note the vultures in the clouds.
Agent of GATE is tough, but not Nigh Invulnerable. Things are wearing on that real person pretty hard, and I’m pretty worried there. It’s the final push to the end, and I hope he can hang tough.
Today, a young lady wrote me a thank you note for being her teacher. In it, she said that she “felt protected.” She went on to say how I’m their superhero, and to thank me for “teaching her how to think and make sense.” The drafts, the intro debates, the philosophical questions, the way of writing to make a point, the literature, plays, and reading in general….she said she would miss it.
I read the note, and while I did, she asked if I was okay. the young lady was worried that I might cry. I thought about it…a note like that from a thirteen year old is kind of huge.
Right now, my biggest challenge isn’t paperwork, and isn’t cleaning up my very “lived in classroom.” It is figuring out how to deal with colleagues that want the kind of response I got from that fine young person, but aren’t willing to cultivate the good within. Only the negative elements are seen…and in that exact moment, in that perception, failure is guaranteed.
It makes me tired, like Agent of GATE is…hence the title of the post. I’m pretty sure it’s the main reason we get summer off…not to get away from the kids, but from negative adults.
Tomorrow: The Moria Treatment!