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Showing posts from December, 2007

Happy New Year's Eve!

I want to tell the story of taking kids to the Nutcracker but I am too tired tonight, so I'll do it soon. In the meantime, I have gotten several questions about why the name of the blog is "Being Light Skinded" and if I haven't misspelled "Skinned." You'll find the answer here.

More stories coming soon, I promise. I have some good ones!

Payment Received!

Yes, I finally got paid for subbing! And it was even on time for one of the time sheets I submitted. The other one, as we already know, was submitted months ago and had to be resubmitted.

Therefore, I have revised my estimation of L, this woman in the subbing department. She didn't completely fail to pay me. All she did was "lose" my mailed in timesheet after telling me that she didn't "like to get them mailed in." (coincidence?) Oh, and she refused to answer any of my emails or phone calls about the matter. And she called to yell at me when I canceled a job because I had a fever. But I did get one of my payments on time.

Maybe I was wrong. Perhaps she's not really really really really, REALLY unprofessional. Maybe she's only really, really really, really unprofessional.

Interesting Followup

I didn't get paid on payday (yesterday) but I did get in the mail today a direct deposit slip saying that I will get paid next week. Considering that next week the offices are closed, I'm not feeling too positive. Also, it would really help if ANYONE in the district answered my emails/calls about this. I did learn that I'm not alone. A few (at least) regular full-time teachers are not being paid either.

Think about the kind of dedication (some might say stupidity, but I prefer dedication) that it takes for a teacher to show up to work for four months without getting paid.

The Money That I'm Owed

The money that I am supposed to have earned from subbing (for which I've now submitted two timesheets) is supposed to be in my account tomorrow. Let's see if it is. Anyone want to make a little bet? I'd estimate that the odds are about 3 to 1 in favor of me not getting paid. Ridiculous, but true. Check back later for further report!

More School Closures

The district is ready to close more schools. the people in charge don't seem to know (or care?) that this is a cycle that doesn't end. They close the schools where students who have completely given up on the educational system say that they are finally paid attention to. Apparently the test scores are more important than making the kids feel wanted or encouraging them to attend school. A lot of the schools that the district closes have only been open for a few years.

One of these schools that is about to be closed is Sankofa Academy. Sankofa started in 2005. It is just beginning its third year. Does anyone here think that just over two years is enough time for a school to prove itself? A raise of hands, please, if you do. That's right, I didn't think so.

The principal at Sankofa has spent years trying to plan for the school's opening. Of course, the school wasn't perfect. It started with grades 1-3 and 6 and 7. This is obviously a very awkward group…

So Outta There!

Wow, this district is messed up. I tell you, I love these kids, and they need good teachers, and I felt called to this district when I came... and I don't think I can go any longer. They have successfully completely demoralized me.

The missing administrator - we're just going to leave him missing. I think it's been three months now, and the only thing ANYONE can get out of the district is that he's not coming back. That's all. And by the way, I emailed two local reporters who have previously covered events/problems at this school and they apparently had no interest. I guess administrators disappearing off the face of the earth doesn't matter when the kids in the school are poor. Because how well do you think that would go over in a middle/upper class school?

Speaking of how the poor kids are treated, apparently in October there was a break in a sewer line in a school not far from mine, causing raw sewage (yes, that's poop) to flow onto the playground. …

The Best Form of Birth Control

Here's an interesting article on population control. I'm not saying I totally agree with it, but I'm not saying I don't, either. It might be a good idea!

Of course, those of us who are teachers already know that the best form of birth control is, as they say, other people's children. I'm not just talking about emotionally disturbed children in the inner city, either!

At my church - which I love - there are a number of very active children. Sometimes they run around not looking where they're going and run right into me. This is kind of cute when they are two and three years old and not so cute when they are eight or ten years old. I have to stop myself from stopping them and saying something teacher-ish like, "You need to apologize if you run into someone," or "You wouldn't like it if I ran as fast as I could into you, would you?" The couple of times those things have accidentally come out of my mouth, their parents haven't s…

To Be Expected

I told another teacher how I haven't yet been paid for any of the subbing I've done (and wont' be doing any more of until I do get paid!) Her response:

I told someone about your dilemma - I'd like to say she was horrified, but the response was more a resigned rolling of the eyes. This district does nothing to make subs welcome, as we all know.It shouldn't be common enough that no one is surprised and yet...

Playing Businessman on BART

To continue the BART stories:

When we'd get on BART to go wherever we were going, the kids were actually usually on their best behavior. They would occasionally yell things like, "Let that lady sit down, she's old!" that you wish they wouldn't yell, but it really did show that they meant well.

One of their favorite games was to pick up discarded newspapers and pretend to read them. Sometimes they'd really read them, but usually they didn't want to put that much effort into it. If I asked them what they were doing, they'd let me know that they were playing businessman. To them, that's what businessmen (and no, it was never businesswomen) did. They read newspapers on BART. Once, one of them told me that she was looking for a new job for me, so that I could "have a better job."

We met some real businessmen on BART once, and it turned out that they were even BART businessmen. They were BART executives who rode BART periodically to see ho…

Tales from BART

Today, we're going to talk about BART - Bay Area Rapid [not really] Transit. I think BART is great; I just don't think the rapid part should be in there because it's a lie.

First, you must read this. I mean, you MUST. This describes the city I have worked in like nothing I've ever read before. Seriously. I just can't do it justice, so read it, please, and then come back.

Wow. I can only hope that if my students turn out to be thugs, that they turn out to be chivalrous thugs!

We often took BART on field trips. It was very convenient, because the school was not far from one of the stations. All right, it was about 3/4 of a mile, which was - for children completely unaccustomed to exercise - pretty far. And usually the chaperones were also unaccustomed to exercise. So the walk could actually get kind of long. Kids are funny: they whined and whined about their feet hurting, and the minute I said, "Run to the corner," they ran as fast as they could.

Bef…

Adventures in Subbing

I worked as a substitute last week at a middle school that had many of my previous students. It was a good day - not just because it was a minimum day and I didn't know it! The first class came in and started giving me looks and all sat down. The bell rang and I said, "Listen, I'm not a sub, I'm a teacher. I know what you're doing, so get back to your own seats." They all just stared at me. I told them I was going to count to five and they would be in their own seat. They stared at me until I got to three and then 75% of the class ran as fast as they could to their own seat. I didn't know enough of them to be sure that they had been trying to fool me, but I had a feeling... one of those teacher feelings that are always right.

Later I had to sacrifice one kid - he wouldn't do his work and was testing me to see if I'd really send him to the principal. The minute I did, all the other kids started working! As a treat, I let them see my blue h…