Friday, December 18, 2009

And You Wondered What's Wrong with America's Public Schools (Part 2)

Part 1 is here.

So here's what happened today:

I arrived at Castellcoch Junior/Senior High early again this morning so I could run off enough sample research paper outlines for all the Biology classes. But when I signed in in the office, Mrs. Berlin*, the school secretary, told me I wasn't to teach Biology again today, I was to go fill in for some other teacher!

Yes, my Facebook friends, it's true, I was doing my own threeping and wailing Tuesday when I got lumbered with those kids. But by today, we were making progress! By today, I had given them some real work to do and they were starting to do it! I was learning their names and who could be relied on and who should be given no slack at all!

"Excuse me," I calmly but firmly said to the secretary. "I was booked to be with those Biology students at least through Monday. We're in the middle of an big assignment. It's due Monday. I need to be there with them to see it through. I've spent time last night coming up with more material to give them."

"Well, you'll have to talk to Mr. Chummy. He's on the phone right now."

"I need to run these pages off," I told her. "They need this handout."

Besides, if I went down the hall it'd give time for Mr. Chummy to finish up on the phone.

So I took care of business in the copy room. When I returned to the office, Mr. Chummy himself was behind the counter. I repeated to him what I'd told Mrs. Berlin. I said, "If we go switching around like that, it will really teach the kids they don't have to listen to subs!" The two of them went into his office. The secretary returned alone and pronounced, "Miss Birdsong* was called in to take the Biology classes."

"But I was supposed to be in there! Couldn't Miss Birdsong take the other class? She wouldn't have any idea what to do with the Biology kids!"

The school secretary was silent, thought a moment, then said simply, "Go on upstairs."

"For the whole day?"

"That's up to Mr. Chummy."

So as the morning release bell rang and the students and I tramped up the stairs, I went to the Biology room, thinking perhaps sanity had prevailed.

(To be continued)

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