Sunday, October 4, 2009

School has begun....

I have had no time for anything other than 2 showers, a you know what, and two point five meals each day. This program that we started ... I stole the idea from other people, primarily my mom, and kept pushing it until "they" said yes ... has been an enormously stressful and time consuming disaster. What is it? Basically the school district says that the students are heterogeneously grouped, but they're really not. ESL students who speak Spanish are kept separate all day. Special needs students (all of them in the grade level) are in one homeroom filled the rest of the way with gifted students. Those special needs kids only have science and history/health (that's a whole other issue - the kids don't understand that NJ is a state and not a country, but the district thinks it's okay for the social studies teacher to have to spend two days a week on health...can't the gym teacher do that? I'm sure they'd want to if they knew their students think that we live in the country of New Jersey). The special needs kids don't have me for math or problem solving or my co workers for reading or those periods the gifted students, who aren't most in need of lots of one on one time with us are in a small group setting multiple times during the day. Others, who are borderline in need or special classes, are packed into other groups b/c the group with the special needs and gifted students has a cap on it. So I'll have a math class with lots of troubled learners...24 kids, then I'll have a class of gifted kids...8 kids. How is this okay?

In an attempt to help us move towards a better situation I suggested (rather nagged) that we have heterogeneous homerooms and that those homerooms would travel JUST to the activity classes together (world language, gym, art, computers, and music). The district chose this year to impose on us teachers another turd-tastic program that they chose not to have staff test run before purchase. Last few years it was an online plan book/teacher web page combo. I hate it, it sux, the web page doesn't accept hardly any widgets. Now it's an online gradebook. While I love the idea, had they asked me to try it (I would have volunteered w/o pay b/c I'm an idiot) I would have known right away that this would have posed a problem for our heterogeneous groups b/c we would need a middle school format of the program.

People up top I guess don't see the benefit of the program as much as we do on the bottom. I have bilingual students becoming best friends with special needs and regular ed students. My final dream... that science and social studies/health be totally mixed along with activity classes.

I've been crying every other day. People have lost patience with me. I've seriously thought about how Mr. G and I would survive if I quit. I really feel that unless I de-stress I will not get pregnant. So, that's where I've been. What's been up with you?

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Zel, The Grimm Witch
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