What a week! My son is adjusting back to California life. He’s still not back to his normal sleep patterns. Tomorrow is also his 18th birthday! He’ll be able to vote and get his driver’s license without the student driving requirement. In two months, he’ll be going off to the Air Force.
Speaking of two months, that’s how long this new long-term contract is. I’m sure it will feel longer! They weren’t kidding when they said that this teacher had no lesson plans. He has no plans at all. From what the kids tell me, he didn’t teach much and he often fell asleep after lunch. The guy turns 80 this year! No wonder he had a heart-attack (that, and – no kidding – the man eats butter). I found out that he’s currently in a coma… and may never come back. I may be here a while.
The other thing I found out quickly is that his classroom is the absolute furthest thing away from civilization – it is near nothing of importance. It is about a three minute walk to the nearest bathroom, a five minute walk to the front office and a seven minute walk to the English department where I hope to have most of my lunches (to schmooze). I lost seven pounds this week from walking!
The students in my classes were not used to working when I arrived. They might have initially been looking forward to an easy A, but they discovered that boredom was worse than hard work. They are ready to work. Though it’s been a slow and painful week for me personally (14 hour days every day this week just to put something together – remember: three curricula!), and my wife has a cold I’ve been trying my best to avoid, I think the result by the end of the week turned out OK. The department chairs did indeed give me resources to get me going; included in the stack of materials was what the teacher should have been teaching for American Government (SDAIE) but clearly was not. I now have a ton of worksheets for two of my three subjects. My third subject is an elective class that this teacher created himself. So far as I know, there is no curriculum for it, so to help me along, I was given the captain of the debate team as a TA instead.
My TA for Speech is a gem. She has been teaching the majority of the classes this week; and I’m sure that this fact will have the parents up in arms if it continues, but at least for this week, it helped a lot. Little known fact: TA’s originally were student teachers, even at the High School level. Some colleges still let TA’s teach (I was such a person), but High Schools typically do not. Starting next week, I’ll begin to teach some of the classes, but not all of them. I have another student in class who was a TA of mine last year and he has expressed an interest in teaching. I think I’ll let him!
By the end of the first week (yesterday), I had enough curriculum and printed materials for all of next week already. This should allow me to do a semester plan by the end of next week and also build up something proper for Speech classes (the TA wants to start debate soon – her specialty – and I want to slow things down and do oratory for a while longer – my specialty). Since I see little chance of this teacher returning before Christmas (if at all), even though I’m currently scheduled through Thanksgiving, I’m planning curriculum through the end of the semester just in case. If they want me to teach beyond Christmas, they will need to hire me.
I hope that by Monday, I’ll have my own computer accounts so I can do grades and take roll electronically (so I don’t have to send a student to turn in a roll sheet every period). I’ll also have to get with security and convince them that my temporary staff pass is valid in the staff parking lot. I got a parking violation warning on Friday. Next warning, and I get towed… except that what I have on my dash is valid according to the front office.