Saturday, February 03, 2007

What's Going On

We've been having an exciting week here in the San Francisco Bay Area. This was the week that a fifty-something second-grade teacher from right here in El Cerrito was removed from her classroom by the cops, in front of her weeping students, either because (the school claims) she was put on administrative leave for being an erratic loony or (as she, and a large number of the parents claim), she was punished for challenging the school about their indifference to violent bullying. Over in San Francisco, we're having a sex scandal involving the mayor. Oh, and also, a local columnist referred to said mayor as 'middle aged', which panicked the Balabusta, since the mayor is six years older than her. Fun, fun, fun.

The Superbowl is tomorrow. The Balabusta does not know who is playing, nor does she care, but she is going to make guacamole anyway, because she likes guacamole, and avocados are on sale. Groomra will be watching, as will his parents. (He doesn't eat guacamole, so I get it all to myself. Bonus!)

My career...well it's been an interesting week-or-so at my school as well. Last week, I was formally observed by my principal, who wrote a truly lovely evaluation complimenting my abilities and accurately identifying my challenges.

Three days later, two things happened. First the Balabusta had a bad encounter with a diocese consultant, who told the principal that the Balabusta was incapable of running a classroom effectively. Second, a parent dropped in, at two PM, on a Friday, on report card day, on the day when two students had been caught with liquor on campus and suspensions were flying, and left in a state of foaming fury because the study hall was loud, and the kids were gossiping with each other.

As they say in Catholic school, mea maxima culpa.

Now, unless my classroom management undergoes an AMAZING boost, it seems that my job may be in some peril.

This week was Catholic Schools Week, which is not much fun if you are a teacher. There are a lot of theme activities, and the kids get very angry if you think you're going to teach, rather than let them play around. Also, we had a student make a suicide gesture on campus, and a crazy guy wandered in off the street to complain about our priest and scare the hell out of the math teacher.

And to cap it all off, yesterday the schedule got messed up because of an emergency meeting one of the teacher-administrators had to go to, meaning that I got one of my English classes coming in to me with TWENTY MINUTES left in the period. At this EXACT moment, the consultant who thinks I can't manage a classroom enters to observe, with a laptop, followed by another diocese official who apparently just happened by and started dropping into classrooms to see what we were up to. Oh, and this class is sort of worked up, because two of their classmates left the school without warning in the last two days, so they're skitzed out, and worried, and sad.

Holy Mary, mother of God...pray for this poor sinner, now, and for however long it takes...

So, as you might imagine, I'm REAL glad it's Shabbos. Sometimes when it's been rough for a while, when we light for Shabbos, the Balabusta's mother will say, cheerfully, 'bye-bye week!'. Yeah. Like that.

But on the plus side, I don't know if it's the Paxil, or approaching maturity, or just that the last year burned out my ability to stress a lot about school jobs, but I feel fine. I've told my principal, honestly, that I will follow her guidelines, stay in touch with her, and do everything that I can to bring my performance up to her standard. I will go on working very very hard, as I have been, and she acknowledges I have been.

If I succeed, tov. I like St. Colmcille. If I don't, I will get another job, in teaching, or education, or answering phones at a law firm. But I'm not afraid. I'm not embarassed. I am not doing anything wrong, and I am working as hard and smart as I can.

I am not going to let the consultant make me feel bad. I care intensely that my principal know I work hard and try to do everything needed. I want my students to know that I care about them, and want them to learn. I want my students' parents to know that too. But the consultant--she's a road block. I think she's mostly ego, and while I will try to use her expertise to help me, I do not care what she thinks or says about me, good or bad.

And this isn't bravado, it's just how I feel. It's pretty cool. I hope it lasts.

A good Shabbos to those of you who are online today, and a good week to those who pick this up after this evening.