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.


elf said...

It sounds like you're handling this pretty well. I bet it'll all work out. Shavua tov!

Amishav said...

Wow- and I thought my school was screwed up- but yes, you seem to be holding up just fine- and if they do fire you- there are other, better paying teaching jobs out there- Here's to Paxil!

Tia said...

Cathy, I'm lost", I said, though I knew she was sleeping.

Hope everything is ok- long time no post.

Just wanted to let you know, in my weird stalking non-sequitor-like manner that:

ANSWER is having an anti-war rally on Sunday March 18. They are meeting at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco at 12.00, then marching to Civic Center.

International ANSWER is a fake peace movement. They support:
* North Korea- a dictatorial regime that deprieves its people of basic civil rights
* Hezbollah and Hamas- radical Islamic terrorist organizations

ANSWER tolerates offensive anti-Semitic imagery at their events, and opposes international intervention to stop the genocide in Darfur.

As always, there will be an anti-idiotarian group group standing opposed to ANSWER.


Stand with Us Stand for Peace Stand with Israel
Sunday, March 18th
11:30AM to 1PM
Justin Herman Plaza (foot of Market St. at the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco)


StandWithUs/San Francisco Voice for Israel will be standing up for Israel and reminding people not only that the Iraq War is not about Israel but also that Israel has a right to exist and to live free from terror attacks and threats of destruction. We will be educating people about A.N.S.W.E.R.’s agenda and we will be providing an alternate, pro-Israel voice for both the media and the community at large.

Please remember that StandWithUs/San Francisco Voice for Israel takes no position on the war in Iraq.

The back of the hill said...

Wow, I was also going to mention the counter-demo to Int'l ANSWER this sunday (again: March 18th., 11:30 AM), but I see that Tia has been here ahead of me.

I do hope you will come. Bring people. Bring dander - we promise it will be upped.