Friday, July 25, 2008

Madder Than a Wet Hen...Or, the Johnny Mac Attack!

When we were but babes, our Nana kept chickens in her backyard. When she got ticked off, she'd say, "Doesn't that make you madder than a wet hen?"

Your Humble Scribe, who doesn't do much complaining (yeah, right-o!) was feeling a little like that yesterday. Well, either a wet hen or Johnny Mac, when he got off the plane in New Hampshire & only one lonely reporter was waiting to interview him. This was the same day that Young Barack was being absolutely adored by hundreds of thousands of a gazillion people in Berlin.

FYI, Our Esteemed Presumptive (don'tcha just love that word?) Republican Presidential Candidate is known to get a tad hot under his starched collar. Even the smallest little ol' thing can tick that guy off. And, as The Hubby would say, he's wound tighter than a tick in July! And BTW--we are pretty sure that the photo below has been enhanced by computer. That's a pretty scary face, isn't it?

But we digress. What made us so ticked off, to coin a phrase (ain't it wonderful how words work?), was an e-mail from our Venerable Department Chair. VDC was notifying the English staff about scheduling, room use, etc. for the upcoming school year.

For those of you who don't know, this is how education works: Hire the teachers, pay them less than a living wage, treat them like a lower life form...oh, please, get to the punchline!

It's a minor thing, really. Our Humble High School is moving to a new schedule this year. Something about a Professional Learning Community, more time for students to fart around--oops! We mean learn--just a whole lotta nuthin' that we, frankly, don't understand, not being adMINistrators, & all.

Y'all know about Teacher Planning Periods, right? A designated time during the day for us to figure out the Hows, Whys & Wherefores of our daily lessons. A time to reflect. A time to get ready for tomorrow. A time to look ahead. Not to complain or anything, but it makes a heck of a lot more sense for a teacher to do planning in her own classroom, and not to have to give up that space--with the computers, the files, the LCD projector, and other teaching materials (used in the planning of the lessons, you see)--to someone else during the valuable time given to us to prepare for our Cherubs.

So, you've already guessed what put us in a fowl (hey, words are wonderful, ain't they?)--to continue the wet hen/Johnny Mac metaphor--mood. VDC (Remember her? Venerable Department Chair?) tells Your Humble Scribe that she won't be allowed to use her room for planning this year, because another teacher's going to be in there, conducting class!

Hey, we believe in sharing. We're all for collaboration with our colleagues. But being put out of one's classroom during a planning period means staying after school longer to plan, and staying after school longer to plan means less time grading papers, and the whole thing ends up being too many hours spent "off the clock," as some professional educators say, and too much time spent away from family & friends. And those countless hours off the clock are basically why teachers complain that they don't get paid enough for what they do!

OK--Wet Hens, Johnny Mac & Moi--a slightly damp trio. Thanks so much for letting us kvetch. After all, it's what we do best!


Edna Lee said...

We are "moving towards the PLC model" this year too. I can hardly WAIT to see what doozies they throw at us.

Best of luck sharing your classroom!

cupcake said...

We held PLC meetings weekly before school started, delaying the first bell by 15 minutes. The natives didn't just get restless, they got destructive. Second semester, no more PLC.

As for sharing your room: I did that all last year, and it worked out fine. Talk to the teacher. I stayed in my room and worked away. I tried to keep my comings and goings to a minimum, and I also was able to watch the other teacher's class when he had to step out every now and then. It worked out fine.

There were times when I had to use a computer in one of the labs, and that was okay as well. In fact, most teachers I know did not stay in the room, but instead did their planning in a lab or in the library. Sharing classrooms was a fact of life at my school. We just got a 10-classroom portable unit, though, so I no longer have to share. Once you get used to it, it's really not so bad.

Clix said...

I'm with cupcake: talk to the other teacher. And don't forget - it could be worse! You could be THAT teacher, with like ZERO space for yourself. *shiver*

Also - wait - don't you have, like, Journalism equipment in your room?!!

Elizabeth said...

Why can't you stay in the room & plan while the other teacher uses the room? That's what we do. Unfortunately, our town population is growing, but no one wants to expand or build new schools. Our teachers' union contract states that we get 1 personal planning period in our primary teaching space. Even if it isn't in a contract, isn't it common courtesy? Is this an admin. decision, has staff been consulted to see if they "mind" another teacher in the room during their class? I can't see it being too distracting to HS students.

HappyChyck said...

Arg! That is frustrating! So, where will you do your planning? Clix does have a point, though. It could be much worse! You're resourceful and tough. I know you'll find a space and a groove!


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