Friday, September 24, 2010

Wiped Out!

I am sad that I look SO forward to the weekends, which are then WAY too short! Don't get me wrong, my school and class are a dream compared to the last couple of years. The biggest issue I really have is talking. But I am trying my darndest to confer with 29 children, effectively teach them (even the mass lazy ones -- side rant: WHY are these lazy children allowed to move up in grades? If we'd fail them in the lower grades, by the time they get to us, they'd be singing a whole new tune!), keep up with the mountain of paperwork and the 2 million things our district drops on our head throughout the week. It is no wonder I come home absolutely exhausted!

Due to some test scores recently, our school was placed on a priority list in the district. Yet even despite that status, and how they're going to "really push us" for better results...they won't do anything about the 29 children we have in our classes. Really? I mean, come on! I think I am good, great even, but that is asking way too much for anyone, especially when more than 50% of the class comes to you below benchmark! My head sometimes just spins from what they want us to do. Definitely know that a bunch of morons are up there at central office making these decisions when they don't have a damn clue how hard it is to teach with that many children, with that many different needs, are in one class.

Mrs. Cooperating Teacher and I were talking about that today after school because a former teacher from our school was visiting. I call him The Yeller because when I student taught with Mrs. CT, at least twice a day I had to shut our door (which was down the hall) because his yelling/badgering/belittling of his class would interrupt mine.  He had suggested that we ask for a parapro to "split" between us...and we both said, nearly at the same time, no thanks, it'd be just like having another, bigger student to have to direct.

We're tossing around the idea of using Mrs. Resource and Mrs. Reading Coach during our uninterrupted literacy time. The fourth grade suggested this (it took them 2.5 HOURS to come up with something our team put together in less than 15 minutes) and we think it will work will given our numbers and the needs of our students. Basically the idea is that two days per week we will teach from our anthology like we usually do: vocabulary and strategy read aloud the first day, listen to the story on audio while following along and practice strategy work on the second day and then on the third and fourth days, the lowest children will go with Mrs. Resource and the middle/strategic children will go with Mrs. Reading Coach to work on strategies more at their levels. That would leave the rest of my children (which at first probably won't be very many of them!) in my class to continue working on the story, the strategies and other differentiation stuff in my room. I really like that idea because a) it'll be really utilizing our reading coach and resource support and b) it'll provide me with some time to really intensify my instruction with my higher students who often get lost in the shuffle when the focus is always on the "low" kids.

I am still waiting for MAP scores (stupid computer!) for about 8 of my kids but hopefully by the first full week in October we can get the ball rolling on this idea, once all of our scores are in. It could be a nice boost for some of those "bubble kids" who are right on the brink and could go either way with a pass or fail on our standardized test. I do have several children, of the 22 I have scores for in reading, who are SO close to the target score on the MAP that I hope some intensive pushing over these last few weeks until the standardized test pushes them up so we can get OFF the stupid priority list and BACK to real teaching!


  1. I am so sad for you to feel that way about the parapros in your building. I have had the privilege of working with two in the past two years and I will never be able to say enough good things about them.

  2. When I taught 2nd grade, I had an absolutely amazing parapro. She was wonderful and I miss her so much! However, since then, the parapros in the 2 other buildings I've been in have not been that good. I don't really blame them -- our district does not provide enough support/training for them to be able to REALLY help out in our classrooms. That's why I feel like it is just more work to have one -- I don't have enough time to train them in what I need them to do and they aren't given that training by our district either. It's unfair for them AND for the kids :(