Friday, May 22, 2009

It Is What It Is

Lately the phrase, "It is what it is" seems to be our principals favorite rejoinder. He finds an excuse to toss this phrase out at any meeting. Sometimes it comes off as a sympathetic shrug as in "Whatchagonnado?" Other times this phrase comes off as being almost calous and without feeling. It comes off sounding more like a "Let them eat cake" remark.

Deep breaths, deep breaths, hold, now slowly exhale. Ok perhaps now I have calmed down enough to share the latest benefits of being a teacher at RHS. I knew we were going to have a faculty meeting today and I was pretty sure it was going to be about cell phones.

Hey I'm there for that. Having lived over half my life with a rotary dial phone attached to a wall, I will be the first to admit I just don't get it. I don't get kids sleeping with their cell phones. I don't understand adults having personal conversations using their blue tooth while standing on line at the grocery store. It's totally over my head why anyone feels it is necessary to have their cell phone on during a movie in a theater let alone why they MUST take the call while sitting next to you during the most important part of the film.

Mr. J and I have spoken a number of times about how crazy it is to hear that teachers are actually talking on their cell phone during class. Mr. J had said to me a few times that if it was up to him teachers would get written up for such infractions. FINE. JUST FINE. It doesn't affect me whatsoever. No problem.

Then it was on to covering more classes. I figured I would cover more classes next year anyway. Let's see, they had to para-pros who subbed for teachers but they will be laid off. I will not be working extended day next year so the writing was already on the wall. I would be covering more classes. Dr. E spoke about how the fact that when he first came to our school he'd done everything he could to help the teachers feel better about coverage. For the first two years he was at our school he rewarded teachers with $10 Kroger gift cards. They were nice. I never received one because I worked extended day and never covered any classes.

They stopped the gift cards but you did receive a coupon and you could save them up to either miss PTSO meetings or you could leave school grounds during your planning period. I never received those until this year when I finally had a planning period. Next year I will get two planning periods because of what they plan to do do another program in the Vocational Department. So Ok! Alright already, I will be covering more classes. No problem. I will earn more coupons and that means I can use them if convenient.

I think what threw me was the next topic of the faculty meeting. Dr. E said that he tried to help the school spirit. He cracked a joke about how he can't make everyone happy. He smiled and mentioned how he couldn't even make his wife happy all the time. We laughed. I honestly thought He was going to say how much school spirit had improved since his arrival. For awhile, I was almost the only teacher who dressed up. Now more teachers than ever dress up.

Oh silly me, why would we get an "atta boy"? No we were told that we would institute a new way of improving school spirit. That's right!!!! We were going to increase school spirit and help teacher moral by REQUIRING teachers to attend ten mandatory events. Bear in mind this means attending an event for an hour and a half with pay.

For someone like me that used to be REQUIRED to attend the six PTSO meetings because I didn't have the ability to earn coupons this would a a big increase. Oh but the hits just keep coming. Not only will I have to attend these extra events after school but my pay will be going down because I will lose my extended day pay. We haven't even been told if the six PTSO meetings will be included or if they are in addition. Oh and we can't buy our way out of it.

As an added bonus to pit us against them, coaches will not have to attend ten events because their games count towards those events. School events held during school hours like FBLA would not count because we are already being paid for them. Yet coaches who receive money for being coaches will have their games counted. Oh and have I mentioned how many teachers live in Alabama or closer into Atlanta.

So essentially the fact that I participate in every pep rally does not promote school spirit but me attending a school play does. The fact that I help kids with their homework for other classes, that's not school spirit, but forcing me to attend sporting events, which I have no interest in will make kids feel more school spirit.

My honest perception is that someone at the School Board said, "Times are tough and people are going to want to know what they are getting their money's worth. If you get the teachers to show up we will be able to legitimately claim that they are working more hours without a raise. Where as other teachers in other schools have to show up at planning and not be paid for that but we will just work later in the evening. Translated to mean, I will be driving in the dark.

Deep breath. Ok I guess I should crawl on hot broken glass thanking them that I have a job. I can't help but recall one of my favorite movie lines of all times. It comes from the movie Animal House. In the movie the pledges are grabbing their ankles and being wacked with a huge paddle. With each wack they say, "Thank You Sir. Can I have another?" So I will smile. I will suck it up. With each wack I will say, "Thank you sir can I have another." Do you wonder why so many teachers leave the profession?

Practicing using my new Vado Camcorder these last few days. There is a bird nest behind a light fixure at our home. When you walk outside the mother flies away. I climb up on a chair and hold the camera over the nest at a distance.

The camcoder doesn't really let you focus it but it is easy to use and very light and easy to carry.

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