Tuesday, July 10, 2012
For those of you who think that teachers get a free pass in the summer, please take a look at the snap above. Yes, this is a candid look at Room 215 in repose, if you will. No students; books and papers packed away. The humming energy of the give-and-take usually present during a typical high school day is clearly absent - from both this photo and from the classroom itself.
So, what's wrong with this picture? The teacher who occupies this space 10 months or so out of each designated school year visited yesterday. Twice.
I've shared my trials and tribulations with you before. Inane inservices - workshops designed to make us better teachers, only to turn us into catatonic zombies. Inept administrators, more interested in their own legacies (Principal Man, anyone?) than in educating the children. Paperwork - don't get me started on the trees we decimate each year in the name of Public Education.
So, I was back in Room 215 yesterday to complete some of this aforementioned paperwork. Not such a big deal. I'm taking three editors to a workshop across town in August and I was told - four weeks after getting this excursion approved - that, Oops! We Made a Mistake!! You have to do more paperwork!!! Strictly pro-forma.
Of course, I can't download the field trip forms from home, nor can I save what I enter into their little gray boxes once I type in all the information. A tad 1984, I'd say. So I schlepped down to school to complete the paperwork, making sure to print out two copies of each form so that I had proof that I had been there.
I left with my pile of papers, hoping to get them in order and back to the proper authorities on the morrow. But wait. I got to a stoplight near my house and had a flashback to a time buried way back in the past, when I had forgotten the XY-7200, "Permission to get permission to get permission" kind of form, which must be signed by the Chain of Command before all of the rest of the paperwork may make its way to its final destination, presumably the circular file in some inept administrator's office. When last I forgot to submit this crucial form, I had a devil of a time trying to get the trip approved.
Did I tell you that I live 15 miles - give or take a kilometer - from school? Did I mention that I visited Room 215 twice yesterday?
Well, I'll be dag blasted if I'm gonna let a little piece of paper get in the way of me interrupting my Summer Break to carry my students to a workshop in the dog days of August.
Long story short, I returned to the scene of the crime, printed out the requisite form (remember, I can't print it out at home) and drove back to my domicile, to get everything put together. If you're counting, that was 60 miles yesterday. Add another 30 for today's schlep back to school to make sure the paperwork gets processed correctly.
Sounds more like a Catch-22. I was thinking George Orwell when I clearly should have given the nod to Joseph Heller.