Are All Schools Like This?

First, the background. I told my kids early last week that we were going to have a test yesterday, Tuesday. Around last Thursday I realized we needed an extra day, so I put it off until Wednesday, today.

Then, in a faculty meeting Monday, I found out that also planned for this Wednesday, the day of my test, was: 1) A fire drill; 2) An awards assembly, and; 3) A Halloween dance during school hours for all the good kids. The result would have been about one complete class on Wednesday; all the rest would be eaten up by the activities. Hence, I once again postponed my test.

It’s piss poor management, in my opinion, to tell everyone two days before it happens that the whole day of classes is shot. But even worse is what actually occurred. Had things worked out as “planned” sure, I would have had to postpone my exam, but at least I would have gotten a day off from the classroom. That, however, was not to be.

The fire drill was supposed to occur during second hour, and after that, we would go to the assembly. Figuring we would only have about ten minutes of class, I was going to zip through the answers to the study guide I had given them yesterday and then wait for the fire drill. Only the fire drill never happened. And the assembly that was supposed to start half way through the class actually started at the end of the class. What this means is, first, I could have given them the test, and second, that I had to create an ad hoc class. Not that I do not have emergency activities in my desk, but I did not want to use them because I kept expecting the class to end. I did not want to start something when I had been told that the class would be cut in half. Very frustrating.

So we went to the assembly.

At the assembly, we, students and not-in-the-inner-administrative-ring-teachers both,  discovered that on Friday all the perfect attendees and honor rollers will be going on a class trip to the fair. What the rest of the students will do, no one knows. Am I going to have six classes with only half my normal number of students? Or three class with the normal number? Or am I a chaperon for the trip? I guess I’ll have to make three different plans for Friday, because chances are I won’t know until my first class starts.

Also at the assembly, upon arrival I am told that not only am I in charge of presenting a certain award, but that I am also responsible for the honor roll club, and that when I present the award I am supposed to tell them how to join and what the club us all about. Having never heard of the club prior to that moment, all I did was call the kids’ names for the awards.

Finally at the assembly, the principal canceled the dance, because the kids were too loud. OK, I thought, that means I will now have a sixth period class. No big deal. We can review for the test.

That’s what we did. Then, with about five minutes left, we find out via the intercom, that the dance is back on. It was to occur during seventh hour, my planning period, so I did not care one way or the other. Soon these kids would be out of my room and I could get some paperwork done. Only the intercom then told us to release the pre-approved good kids for the dance, but to hold onto the unruly non-dancers “for just a bit.” Wanting to know if I needed to give them something to do, or just chill for a minute, I buzzed the office and asked how long “just a bit” was. The reply? “I have no idea.” Long story short, I spent my planning period baby sitting the discipline problems who were too bad to go to the dance.

That was my day. I understand that teaching middle schoolers requires flexibility. They are middle schoolers after all. But today’s problems were caused by adults. The most frustrating part? The ones who caused the problem would berate me for being a cry baby if I complained about how the day went. Oh well, just more proof that if those who can’t do, teach, then those who can’t do or teach, become the administration.

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3 Comments on “Are All Schools Like This?”

  1. The other teacher in the family Says:

    Yes, ALL schools are this way. You can rest assured that you are not the only one who gets left in the dark in all situations. Then you find yourself getting in trouble for something “YOU didn’t do”, when it wasn’t YOUR job in the 1st place. Welcome to the club!!

  2. yet ANOTHER teacher in the fam Says:

    Now, now…let’s not generalize too much. 😉 In my very short tenure as a high school teacher, I’ve worked in a few separate school districts…all very different in how they were ran and the level of disorganization therein. In the first (an inner city school), it was terrible. If the administration thought they were there for the kids, this kind of thing (as described in your post) might have happened. But as it was, the administration offered nothing…no support, no supplies, no interference whatsoever. I guess that can be good, but I found it mostly bad as support and supplies are essential in a tough classroom like I had. In my second job…wow, that was every teacher’s dream. If you’ve ever watched MTV’s “Two A Day’s” – that was my school, literally. It was incredibly fantastic. My class was never interrupted by the administration. Fire drills were planned way ahead of time; I had complete authority in my class, and on the very rare occasion when there was a discipline problem, the administration backed me up completely. A very rare treat, I’m sure…but it kind of spoiled me about future expectations.
    So, not every school is like yours, although most probably are. It’s a shame.

  3. Greenshirt Says:

    Any possibility, when you were left alone with the ones who were not “invited” to the dance, you could have used that time to explore how they felt about being left out?


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