Thursday, February 09, 2006

Perfect Storm

Yesterday was more than a little surreal. I left the house at 6:25 AM, and returned 15 hours later, practically gibbering. In between--oh yeah--in between.

It was a 'minimum day', where we have no lunch and short classes, and the kids get out at 12:25. I taught. Then there was the language arts department meeting.

We're having some bad problems at our school site right now. Chief among them is that we have been ordered to teach 'strategic' cores next year. It was expected that we would vote on one of three methods of doing this.

It turned into a two-hour meeting. Two people cried. One of them was male. It was not fun.

After the meeting, I zipped off to my next meeting, the ELD meeting for the district. I like most of the people I see there. There is this one woman, though, who has my equivalent job at another middle school across town, who bugs me in certain ways.

She's extremely confident, and she lets people know, frequently, in no uncertain terms, just how good she is. She's one of those people who mistakes MY self-depreciation or non-confrontationality for timidity and general incompetance. She likes to help me, by telling me just what to do. She also tends to talk a lot of losh about people in the district. She's not intolerable, but she's someone I find it kind of hard to cope with.

Yesterday, I mentioned at the meeting that we have a new group of language arts classes, which are essentially sheltered or strategic classes, (long story), and that it's been stressful for the teachers working on it to create the curriculum and materials as fast as needed. I THINK that's all I said.

She comes up with a bright idea. We should use the most advanced level of the crummy program I teach in ELD as the strategic core text.

This is not a good idea, and it will not be taken kindly by the people who are teaching this class, but I vaguely murmur that I will mention it, that's an interesting idea, and I'll see if there's any interest.

This gal grabs my hand and says, assertively, "NO, Balabusta, you have to TELL them what they need to do!" I say, with a touch more acid, that I will ASK if they are interested.

So, we finish that meeting, and then go to a parent meeting, and then I get home and collapse.

Next morning I go to the teacher who's involved in the new core class, and ask if he's interested in my books. That would be a NO. OK, I say, and go away, mission accomplished.

Next thing I know, the daft woman who suggested it has e-mailed my principal and my VP, mentioned my name, and promoted the whole stupid idea to them again.

Eeeeeech. I e-mailed back, telling her I had floated the idea, and they AIN'T INTERESTED. She, by return e-mail, hopes I didn't mind, but thought I might want some support from my 'ELD colleagues'. Translation: I am too timid and stupid to transmit the idea and make it stick. She also implies that the teacher I approached can't be well-qualified to teach English learners. I shoot back another e-mail, defending him, and mentioning a little more aggressively that this kind of a touchy moment at our school, and my name should probably not be linked to attempts to push semi-scripted curriculum on other teachers.

Note to self: stay away from this woman. Combination of self-righteousness and chutzpah is not good news.

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