Friday, December 19, 2003

Happy Christmas Winter Ehh, I'm Not In School So I'll Still Call It Christmas Break

A long and challenging semester ended today, and now it's time for a couple weeks of Necessary Down Time Where I Don't Make a Lot of Money but Enjoy Recharging My Batteries Anyway. If nothing else, I should be able to get caught up on my reading and get back on a consistent sleep schedule (I won't see 6 a.m., at least as a wake-up time, for nearly three weeks--yay!).

I do have a mini-rant that had to do with this last teaching day of the semester; it's aimed at school administrators who change their school's schedule at the last minute. This happened to me again today.

I had two, maybe three students to teach--one in first period, one or two in third, depending on if one guy got back from a doctor's appointment or not. This school was on trimesters, so they didn't have exams, but they got the same early dismissal that the other (exam-taking) schools got because not doing so would royally mess up the bus schedule. I had been given this schedule several weeks in advance (a rarity), and set my own schedule accordingly. I decided to teach the first period student during the second half of class so as to miss the before-school traffic (another rant for another day). Once I found the guy and pried him away from his card game quiet reading time that emphasized multiple standardized-test objectives, we sat down to play. About three bars into the first movement of his solo...a bell rang. Huh? This was a good twenty minutes too early.

That's when I found out that the shortened schedule was itself being shortened--that's right, a special-schedule-within-a-special-schedule--for an assembly that they were supposed to have in their advisory period, until they remembered that they weren't having advisory due to the already-short, lunchless day. The directors were told about this change weeks in advance so they could notify their private teaching staff this morning, as in with literally no time to warn us. These are the worst kind of missed lessons because I can't collect for them; they're not my fault or the student's fault (but how nice it would be to be able to march down to the office and collect my funds from them, since their disorganization got in the way of the learning process and pretty much stole money from me...yeah, and then I woke up). I basically found out that I wouldn't be able to teach anybody for the next two hours, which gave me plenty of time to get a haircut but really hacked me off.

I sometimes wish these administrators would peer out of their little ivory towers long enough to remember that there are people out there who work in more than one school. It's not just my colleagues and I who do this; there are undoubtedly folks like team-teaching band directors, speech therapists, etc., who go between different schools. Saving big scheduling decisions until the last minute will mess us up in ways they couldn't even imagine, but I wonder if it ever crosses their minds.

(UPDATE: I was talking about this with Demon Halfling tonight when the subject of dress codes came up. This idea has enough material in it that I'll save it for a later post. You're not gonna believe what was banned--and why--in my school district when I was growing up.)

At any rate, despite a glitchy morning, it's great to be on vacation. I'm sure I'll post more during this time as well.

SEE ME, HEAR ME: Someone has posted a QuickTime movie of me playing with the Rowlett jazz band last week--the subject of a previous post--on the Web now. Since I haven't managed to get any MP3 clips up on my website yet, this will be a great addition; I'll link it there and on the sidebar here as well. (And no, you're not hearing things; I did in fact quote "The Christmas Song" on the bridge...all in the holiday spirit, heh heh.) Thanks to Demon Matt for the link. (UPDATE: I found out this only works on broadband connections at the moment; if you're on dial-up, go to the main RHS band page and click on the link about me and the jazz band. You can email the guy and he'll send you a compressed version; I was kinda bummed when I found out my mom and dad couldn't watch it at their place.)

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