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Vacay…sort of

It’s here.  The day and time I’ve been waiting for.  Thanksgiving Break.  It was much needed.  My school kids are mostly good.  Mostly.  I do have days when the kids are crazy, and I am crazy.  I like to blame the weather, the fact that they ate Halloween candy for breakfast and dinner, the extra visitors in our classroom, and the last minute schedule interruption for those crazy days, but the truth is some of the time it’s my fault.  I know my lesson, but I haven’t pulled all the materials until right when I need them.  Those minutes of unpreparedness bite me in the butt every time.   I should know better.  I do know better, but I don’t always do better.  My kids can’t handle downtime minutes.  There must not be any lag time between tasks or things can get pretty chaotic.

Two weeks ago I had one of those weeks.  I did my lesson plans, but despite my good efforts the kids were crazy.  I can’t say best efforts, because it was just an all around hard week and I gave up trying to do my best by Wednesday.  By Friday I was in survival mode.  I arrived at school hoping a few kids were absent just so there would be fewer to corral.  I opened up my email and noticed that my principal had emailed the evaluation schedule.  My window to be evaluated started that day.  She sent the email out the evening before.  I figured she wanted to start evals on Monday since she had quite a few teachers to evaluate.  This would give everyone the weekend to make sure they were prepared.  Exactly 45 minutes after reading the email she walked in to do my evaluation.  I was quite shocked.  I had a student observer from a local college in my room which always excites the kids.  They wouldn’t sit still, talked while they were supposed to be listening, talked while they were supposed to be working, and bothered anyone in their general vicinity.  The lesson I had planned was a good one, and I had already taken out all my materials, but the kids were hyped up big time.  When all was said and done she decided not to use that as my evaluation due to extreme craziness in my room.  I felt terrible about it, but she seemed understanding.  Mostly.  She blamed much of the crazy week on the Halloween festivities the weekend before.  I appreciated that.  She said when she came back the next week she expected things to be different.    She showed up on Monday morning at the same time.  The lesson wasn’t as good just because it was an opening lesson.  The material was completely new to the kids so they weren’t yet excited about it.  The behavior factor was much better though.  I haven’t gotten the results yet and don’t expect a spectacular review, but thankfully my principal is good.  She is so supportive and knows the type of kids we have at the school.  She has dealt with many of them in her office over various things.

Speaking of the kids at my school…

The majority of the kids come from very low socioeconomic backgrounds and many of them have absentee parents.  The school where I teach is fabulous at making sure to meet the needs of all the kids, but I can’t say the same thing about the parents.  Many are in jail, on drugs, or quite neglectful.  It is the school’s responsibility to make sure these kids are getting what they need.  We take that very seriously. Unfortunately behavior issues are a work in progress.  If the parents were involved in the process it would be so much easier. I do what I can in my classroom, but I never feel like it’s enough.  I am so thankful to be working with the staff there.  I honestly don’t think I could have better coworkers.

I started this on Friday night.  Because it was the first day of the break.  It’s been 2 days.  I’ve mostly slept.  I decided that if I didn’t hurry up and publish this the break would be over, and I had planned to write a couple other blog posts over this break.  Hmmmm…

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