I seem to have had several things to complain about recently. Complaint is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you try to also offer suggestions to help remedy the problems about which you complain. Yesterday, I had to opportunity to speak to the principal of my daughter's middle school. He said some things about the 8th grade situation that give me hope for the way it is being handled.
I also emailed my younger daughter's teacher and linked him to information that explain my stance on the reward/punishment system. The link led him to my blog and my last post, which I think insulted him. That would never have been my intention, as there are MANY teachers in the district who are wonderful, caring, challenging teachers. He is among them. One thing he said, though, in his email was that the PRIDE program was the decision of the administrators. That bothers me. I have always felt that the great teachers in this school system are not afforded enough autonomy, and that was what I meant when I said in the last post that I chose not to look for a job here because my values didn't match the schools. Even when I attended high school here myself, I felt the teachers were not treated like competent, intelligent professionals. I need to work in a place that I feel a part of because my expertise is understood and appreciated. His statement explained a lot too. If the teachers are not given more than a token voice in what happens in a district, how can they be expected to understand how to help students have a voice? At this point I am just going to keep my mouth closed for a while. I have made my feelings known, but I think I need to learn when I've said enough.
In honor of staying on the positive side, here's a fun middle school story I have to share. The other day, I was coming out of the copy room in the office. Right outside the copy room door there is a phone on the wall of the main office. As I walked out, I saw one of our POHI students (not sure if that label is still the one in use.) Asa (not his real name) is short and squat, with Coke-bottle glasses and a smile that warms your heart. He was looking at the phone like it was a new invention, holding the receiver off to the side in his left hand. I asked him if he needed help and showed him how to choose an outside line to make his call. I watched him painstakingly dial the 11 digits, but still hold the receiver off to the side as he rechecked the number in the display. I assured him he had dialed fine and that he needed to put the phone to his ear, but he continued to stare at the display. I took the receiver from him and heard a voice saying, "Hello?"
"Hi, this is the school. Asa needs something, here he is," I said into the phone and then handed it back to Asa, telling him to go ahead and tell his mom what he needed.
Asa took the phone, said "Hello? Hello?" looked up at me and said, "I can't hear anything." So I took the phone again.
Speaking into it, I checked to make sure someone was still there and that the reception was ok. I had the brief thought that perhaps Asa had called a cell phone and had lost the connection, but mom was still saying hello, plain as day. I asked her to hang on just a second, then looked at Asa and said, "Asa, why did you call mom? What do you need?" His answer made me laugh out loud so that I was barely able to relay the message to his mom. He said...........................................
"I need a battery for my hearing aid."!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!