Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Remember when life wasn't nuts? (or "I work in Bedlam")

Today was the first day that I’ve had to have my mother and step-father come to drive me home. As a person who suffers from migraines, occasionally in class I get sick and am unable to perform my function as a classroom teacher. This would constitute a medical emergency on my part because I physically can’t keep performing my job.

Today’s fiasco was started by the overhead projector and cornell notes. In case I hadn’t mentioned it before, my room is severely ill-equiped for the education of children. There’s no dry erase board, no usable chalk board, and no overhead projector of any sort (dry erase or for a computer). Actually, there is an overhead projector for a computer but it is currently broken and I have nothing to get it to work with. It’s a system that looks like it’s about 20 years old which is fairly interesting since I didn’t think they had overhead projectors then. Also, the whole apparatus is locked and I can’t figure out how to get into it.

So I solved this problem by using my liberated projector that was I got last year from the collection of materials that was going to be auctioned by our school district. Last year, with about 2 hours notice, I was informed that downtown was going to get rid of a bunch of materials that were not requested by teachers or were old technology. This is absolutely absurd because so many classrooms are in need and could use materials, old or not.

This year, my room is one such example of a classroom in need. The room has nothing usable and I can’t even rearrange the desks to suit my needs. The students are all in desks that look like they’re from a lab circa 1953. I’m so frustrated with screaming my notes to my students and having to repeat myself every 20 seconds that I brought in my projector and set it up with the rickety old screen at the side of my students’ desks. Yes, at the side. All of the students have to swivel their heads 90 degrees to see the screen. Those behind the giant cement pole in the middle of my room don’t have a clear view and have to physically pull their stools out to attempt to see the notes. Let me tell you, this really increases student achievement right there. Some days I feel like I’m being tested by God in this room. if I can teach here and grab their attention, then I suppose I can teach anywhere. OK, there are probably classrooms that are worse, but I don’t care to to think about them.

At any rate, I had to stand in front of the projector with my laptop all day to bring the slides up for notes. The reason why we are doing so many notes in class is because two of my five classes do not have books. That is pleasant. For the rest of the classes, they have a middle school text for a high school Biology class. I’m not amused. So, I stand with my little laptop in front of an extremely bright projector all day. This made little miss teacher have a migraine in 7 hours.

It would not have been so bad if I had been able to leave right after school. Unfortunately, we had our monthly small school meeting. My school is so large that the different buildings are all small schools that have their own programing and slant on education. While it’s true that I love my boss and think the staff at my small school is very nice and attentive, I really could have done with out a meeting on that particular day. I managed to drive home without throwing up but it was a close call. My significant other was not pleased at my state when I literally fell through the door of our home.

Another average day in Bedlam.

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