Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cecelia's First Day of 3rd Grade!
(and some other random pictures)
It was raining out so you can't see her cute outfit but she was really excited. I can't believe she's in 3rd grade already.

This was the camp out we did in the living room the night before the hurricane hit us. It was supposed to start getting bad around midnight and there are really big trees in the yard so we all slept downstairs just to be on the safe side in case one of the trees came down on the house. This is in the dining room and the ring of boxes around those two walls is about gone except for the china boxes. I miss my built-in hutch!

Here's the yard after the hurricane. It's hard to see in the picture just how many branches are down but that's about all we got.

The kids in front of a torpedo.
Dear God,
What have I gotten myself into....

I have a job. I am greatful. Let me just say that first and up front. Now, there are some interesting details about the job. I have been hired into a small school corporation. There is one high school with about 800 students. I have been assigned to the ELL program as the math teacher. This is the English Language Learners program for students that speak some English but are not considered proficient in academic English. So they can trash talk with their friends out in the hallway but don't always understand the vocab in a classroom. I have learned that the school is not loved by the community and the budget often gets rejected. So the school has money problems. I am a new teacher and the program is still being worked out. I do not have my own classroom. While I was spoiled at Elkhart and had one, it isn't unusual for new teachers to have to travel. The down side to this is that ELL students will do better with more manipulatives in the lessons. This means more crap to lug from class to class. They have also expanded the math department so there are not enough keys for everyone right now. Because of the money problems, books are a premium and every teacher only gets a classroom set and can't check them out to the students because they can't afford to replace them and don't have enough for all the students to have their own. Also, because they are trying to properly place the students in the right classes, they have not placed most of the students in my classes. A full load of classes is five classes. I currently have one class. I will have five. They just don't know what they are or where.
Let's recap. Today was my first day at my new job with students in the building. I don't have a classroom, or keys, or classes, or a schedule. Until the third period I couldn't get on the school programs or into my school email. I have a class set of books for the one class I do have but if I end up teaching that class more than once a day I will have to figure out a way to transport those books from one class to another. I have the feeling of being lost and homeless, neglected and unwanted. While the people I work with are sympathetic and nice, no one is moving in a direction to fix anything. People seem to be in the mindset of keep your head down and don't make eye contact. I'm not sure how to function that way. It's not in my nature. Mom tried to point out the silver lining and said to me last night that this is the kind of school that you can make big changes in and they make inspirational movies about. This is true. And the eight kids I had in my one class today were engaged and eager to be in my class by the time our one period together was over. There is a long history of a large gap between ELL students and non-ELL students who pass the state exam. There is the opportunity to make huge differences in a lot of kids' lives. I have faith in my ability to reach my students. I know I can teach them and they will learn. I have faith I can get them to pass a state test. I've done it before. But I question at what cost...