Tuesday, June 26, 2012
It's a Mystery
I long ago established, in this space I believe, the fact that my school district is the toughest on the face of God's Green Earth - on its teachers, that is.
Yes, our cherubs have the luxury of starting school the day after Labor Day, when many of their nearest & dearest get back on the bus as early as the second week in August each year. But things don't ever seem to work out on the other end of the equation.
Up here in the DC 'Burbs, we seem to be heading into year-round school - for the teachers, at any rate. Yours Truly must report 194 days per year - 11 more than my cherubs. Lest you think the authorities are cutting us any slack, "Professional Development" takes up most of the additional days that I hang out in Room 215 every year.
Seems like I'm nitpicking. I'm often reminded that I also receive "time off" each year which, on paper, equals a cool two months during the summer. But let's look at the bottom line, always a joy.
"Professional Development, " in my school district, is the gift that keeps on giving.
So-called teacher inservices certainly are inane. A while back, I spent the day learning how to draw a ladybug, and another session crammed with 180 peers in a lecture hall designed to hold 100, trying to pay heed to an alleged "expert" who didn't have a microphone. I've sat on my bum for hours at a time, waiting patiently (OK, I've occupied my time with Twitter, Facebook, and this blog) while those who were trying to professionally develop me tangled with simple technology well over their heads.
Like watching paint dry.
I've been to touchy-feely sessions, which have come this close to Tina Fey trust falls documented in "Mean Girls." I've sat in on bitch-fests, where we've been encouraged to vent, but were too afraid to. I've participated in mandatory "bonding time," wherein teachers - the worker bees - pretended to be best buds with the administrators who, ultimately, evaluate our performance and make the decision, every three years, on whether we stay or whether we go.
And that's only during the 11 days built into the school year calendar.
Don't forget the mandatory, three-month, after-school graduate school class I took this year to help me hone my AP Lang skills. And this week, after only four days to decompress from the school year, I'm spending another week of my summer break further sharpening my AP portfolio.
Yesterday, during my second mandatory AP training of the year, I learned a couple of things. During our eight-hour session, I also Tweeted, Facebooked, Blogged - and admired my smashing new pedicure (pictured above). I was frustrated, to be sure, though probably not as much as Venus Williams, who exited Wimbeldon in the first round yesterday.
So forgive me for wondering what was up this afternoon, when our "teacher," tasked with tuning us up to teach AP Lang next year, turned to her assembled charges and pronounced her opinion on a key, but difficult, piece of the course's culminating exam.
"It's a mystery," she said. Yes, it certainly is.