I've had a good hard think about this blog, and I've decided that cutting it off entirely was throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I still have things to say, but I've decided that I'm not going to worry about blogging every day. I'll just post when there's something to say. And boy, this week has been busy.
First off, my job is safe! Our principal pulled some strings and called in favors, and managed to keep my position. And no, it wasn't to help me out (although I'm grateful), but so that the school could preserve its eight-periods-spread-out-over-two-days schedule, which has been extremely successful and helped the school get its Gates grant. So I won't have that hanging over my head. But we are still losing one PE teacher, an open English position won't be filled, and there will be a lot of reshuffling of schedules. (And the poor counselors are going to have to do it all by hand…)
On the grading front, I'm glad I pulled that all-afternooner last week. I'm falling a little behind again, but it's nothing too serious, as I'll be able to get caught up again this week. (I'd say this weekend, but there's too much other stuff going on that I doubt I'll find the time.) And this is proving to be a good thing, as the mid-quarter progress reports are going to be due very soon, and several of my colleagues are still behind where I am. So I would have every right to feel smug if I were that petty.
We've gotten all of that start-of-the-year stuff out of the way, so now things have fallen into a familiar pattern. (This is another reason I'm not going to try to blog every day, as most entries would be something like, "Taught math today." Real exciting, huh?) Unfortunately it also means that the initial excitement of the start of the school year is over, and a lot of students are now showing their true colors in class. Most of my students are pretty good, but I do have one class that's proving to be a bit chatty. As a result, they've fallen a bit behind once or twice, and we've had to play catch-up. (No, I'm not considering just letting them stay behind. I'm having enough trouble keeping track of two sets of plans, I'd rather not do three. Besides, I don't want them to think that their behavior results in the reward of not having to do the work.) We had a class discussion about the issue yesterday, however, and they came up with some ideas, and I expressed my concerns. It went well, and I think we can work together to keep it from becoming a big problem again. Of course, this could all go out the window if schedules get shuffled too radically.
Thursday afternoon, we voted on the new calendar for this school year. It's not perfect, as many teachers were not happy about working Saturdays (five in all, two with students — one Jewish teacher was very upset about that, not that I blame her), working two days between Christmas and New Year's Day (December 29 and 30, which I figure could be a quick two-day unit that won't affect things much, as many students will be gone anyway), and various other issues. But with so much time to make up, I don't think we could have done any better, and we're out on July 16, so we'll at least be able to salvage some summer. (I hope that when real contract negotiations begin, they consider starting the 2004-05 school year a week late, just to extend this year's summer break a little bit.) The calendar was overwhelmingly approved by voice vote. Now let's just hope that there isn't snow so bad that school has to be cancelled! We'd have to make those days up beginning July 19!
You'd think that, after having turned in all my paperwork in August, we'd have our benefits allstraightened out by now. But apparently the district didn't do anything with it during the strike (even though they paid the various providers!), so there are a lot of teachers without their cards or other information that they need. But it looks like it's going to get straightened out soon. Good thing, as I have an appointment with my doctor for a check-up Friday morning, and my dentist that afternoon. It sure would be nice to not have to pay the whole thing for once!