Friday, September 28, 2007

Take Me To Your Leader

The principal of the last school I taught at is a nice person. He is interested in the welfare of the students and tries to make the school better. That being said, he needs to take charge, put some teeth in the rules, and pay attention to me when I have a concern. I will briefly relate the two worst incidents. Hopefully my bitterness has had time to become less sour.

During the first semester I had a delightful little brat in my fourth period class. We teach on the block schedule, so that was the last class of the day. One afternoon as class was starting I told him to sit in his assigned seat. In response to that request he walked across the room, forcefully swung his binder to within an inch of my face and walked to his seat. I don't recall exactly where I sent him because I was pretty upset. At faculty meeting (15 minutes after class ended) I informed the principal and one of his assistants of what happened.

"He hit you with his binder?!?"
"He didn't actually hit me, but he swung it in my face."
"Oh. Okay."

Okay? OKAY??? Perhaps he didn't hear what I said. He. Swung. A. Binder. In. My. Face. I asked him to do something about it and he told me to write him an e-mail to remind him.

Dear Principal,
I don't care if you don't like confrontation with the students. That's your job. That's why your salary is three times what mine is.

I guess that "fake assault" is a small enough crime that the only consequence was moving the student from my fourth period class to my second period class. Magically, my second period class then became my most difficult, rather then the fourth period. Grumble.

The second story is better and reflects much less rancor. Background: I shared the foods room with the other foods teacher and had another room to myself for teaching the Teen Living class (it's too difficult to keep even the foods classes away from the stoves, let alone a regular class). The semester ends two weeks after classes resume from winter break. A week or so before winter break another teacher came to me and asked if I was ready for us to swap classrooms at the semester. What? I hadn't heard a thing. I e-mail the principal and he responded that I was to switch my Teen Living classroom with the classroom of the math teacher. He wanted the whole math department together. I understand that. I was fine with that. Later he decided that he wanted us to swap by winter break. That was laughable, considering we would both be dealing for two weeks with students "forgetting" that we changed classrooms and showing up 20 minutes late. We did the passive aggressive thing and just didn't move our stuff until the semester break.

But that's not the best part of my story. Two days before the semester change (at the end of the day, no less) the principal informed me that the math teacher's class would not be available for my use. Long story. I asked where I would hold my Teen Living class and reminded him that my other classroom was filled with ovens. He agreed that was not the best place for them to be. Instead, he said he would think about where we could go. "Umm...we only have one more day until I get a new class." To save time in explaining what all happened he suggested we meet in the library. Really. The semester started and I had students going to three different classrooms trying to figure where they belonged. I called the replacement Assistant Principal (our real one was in the state legislature) and, miracle of miracles, she had us in an empty classroom within five minutes. That classroom stuck, but they never did give me a key to let myself in.

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