Monday, November 19, 2007


This is the problem. I don't have a classroom. I share a small office. But in one of the classrooms, I'm viewed as a co-resident with another (new) teacher. This has been an adjustment for me. It's like Oscar and Felix. I'm a nut case when it comes to classroom upkeep. I don't let my students leave the classroom until every bit of paper, pencils, and other forms of classroom refuse are cleaned up.

I go ape sh*t when I find a sunflower seed shell anywhere in the room. That is my pet peeve. I've given up on the gum issue, so long as they don't crack and pop it in their mouth. They know that if I find one piece of gum anywhere under a desk or chair, the gum days are over. I fought the gum battle for three years, and really, it was just a waste of instructional time. So I let it be.

So, tomorrow is parent-teacher conferences at my school. A time when many teachers spend some extra time getting things tidy and organizing papers and projects. I have done all I can to support this new teacher (whom I was responsible for hiring), and spent all of my Teacher's Choice money on classroom supplies. I know what being broke is like during the first few months of teaching, so I'm basically happy to do so.

But this teacher has had a rather difficult time maintaining the classroom. I know that (s)he is definitely lost at sea in many respects. IS Prep is a very intense school to work at. As a new school, people do take on many additional duties. Our classroom instruction is standardized in terms of format, which took me some time to adjust to. But in many respects, it works. Sixth graders leaving their self-contained classrooms seem to do well when instruction is structured similarly amongst teachers. I'm not a huge fan of the workshop model, but the instructional flow that we have adopted stresses independent work over collaborative, with only a small portion of the class engaged in pair and share.

But Oscar left this afternoon immediately following the end of the school day. Normally, I don't have a problem with this. Today, I did. The classroom was a mess, the bulletin boards were not completed, and whole bunch of other matters needed to be attended to ... especially if I'm going to be conducting conferences in the same room. So now it's 8:00 PM, and I'm just getting in to the house.

I know what it is like to be a new teacher, and have vowed to help her/him throughout the year. But sometimes I get the feeling that this profession just isn't cut out for this teacher. You have to have a lot of heart and an abundance of initiative. Honestly, I just don't see it. I'm hoping I'm wrong with these gut feelings. Tomorrow will be a sit down with her/him, both as a friend and lead. I don't know. I'll share what transpires.

(As always, this post has not been edited. Apologies.)

1 comment:

ms. v. said...

Working in small schools pushes us into leadership and support roles in informal ways... I find it exciting but also very challenging... your story is similar to what we've experienced with a few new teachers... you help in as many ways as you can, but after a while, it's like, c'mon, fish or cut bait!