The Bad: for the past two weeks I've been working with 4th-grade classes on some "structure of cells" stuff. Today we had a quiz. I made the quiz "easy." I designed it so several of the ten answers could be "inferred" from the way the questions were presented on the quiz. I tested the test by administering it to five Special Ed 3rd-graders who have NOT been studying cells AT ALL. The average score among the 3rd graders was 50%. One kid even got 100%. One kid tanked. The others all got 50%. But when I gave the test to the 4th-grade, who have been studying cells, and following a quick review, and allowing them to use their textbooks... well, what can I say? I am the Anti-Teacher! I suck knowledge out of kids' heads! "Slow" 3rd-graders are smarter than the 4th-graders with whom I've been working on this stuff for two weeks!
The Worse: last week I started picking up a "vibe" at work. Nothing tangible. Just a feeling that "something" was in the air. I even casually asked our Student Services Coordinator if he'd heard anything negative about my job performance lately. He said, no, quite the contrary, he'd heard positive comments from the principal about my "professionalism." Uh huh. Not a good sign. Today the principal is up to her old tricks, playing her power trip games. I'm being told I need to be pursuing special ed certification or I will not be retained next school year. Since I'm still in "probationary status," she can do this, but the only way is to write me up as "deficient." She has said nothing to me about "deficiencies" lately, but I've heard from not just the guy last week but from another teacher as well that she's commented on my "professionalism" and "hard work." But, quite frankly, she's a lunatic, and something has set her off this week. At least it's not just me: there are 3 of us on probationary status, and she's actually coming down harder on the other two. At the moment. One of them is ready to quit. A 3rd grade teacher already quit after the first ten weeks of school. I dunno what's up or what's goin' down, but it has something to do with her budget, something to do with who she likes and who she doesn't, and something to do with who she has the power to push around and who she doesn't.
Last year the principal was on my case (that sounds so juvenile and petty of me, but that's how it was, and that's an accurate way to phrase it) about test scores, claiming that as a 3rd-grade regular ed teacher, if the school missed making Annual Yearly Progress it would be MY fault. Now, as a SpEd teacher with fewer than a dozen students, guess what? It's MY fault if the school doesn't make AYP, and all the hard work of the other classroom teachers will be wasted.
I'm thinkin'... dude (or chick, as the case may be)... I'm working with retarded kids! How the hell can the fate of the entire school depend on the performance of a handful of retarded</u> kids? Eight 3rd graders and four 4th-graders are NOT enough to tip the scales that much! Unless, of course, your f%cking "hard working" "experienced" "highly-qualified" teachers aren't getting the job done with your regular ed kids.
F^ck I hate my f*cking job!
For the record... my students are NOT "retarded kids," although admin at the school treats them like they are. They treat 'em like retards, yet they expect 'em to outscore the regular ed kids. My kids are ones with reading problems. They read slow, and because of that, their reading comprehension is impaired. What the hell, my "retarded" third-graders scored better on the science quiz than the "regular ed" 4th-graders. I'd like to think it's because I'm working with them on test-taking skills. In reality, it was probably just blind luck and a statistical anomaly.
This was gonna be a short post, but now I'm on a roll. I'm just venting at this point.
Anyway, now they're taking away my 3rd-graders and putting me with SpEd 4th-graders... but leaving me the seriously behaviourally challenged 3rd-graders. I have a lot of patience for the "slow" kids, but not a lot for the "behaviourally challenged." The kid is a spoiled little brat who can completely disrupt an entire classroom. He also knows precisely what he's doing, and has learned to manipulate adults and the system to get what he wants. Eight year olds can be cunning, and this kid certainly is a prime example of that. He has a number of our staff people completely bamboozled.
They're moving students around to "balance" the work load. Or something. Who knows. I'm thinking the principal got "caught" for using a SPeD program teacher to cover a regular ed position, while using a regular ed teacher to cover a SPeD position, and... whatever, it's so complicated nobody knows what's going on.
I was told I have to start taking SpEd certification classes or I wont' be "retained" next year. As I mentioned, the only way she can't "retain" me while I'm on probation is to write me up as deficient and unwilling to work on improvement. She's blackmailing me, basically. I'm considering contacting the union. First I need to check with the personnel office to see what my options are.
I just finished a damned Master's program. I do NOT want to go back to school. I do NOT want to spend more money. I've contacted some people at the district office to see what my options are for achieving SPED certification in the most "cost-effective" manner. I'm waiting to hear back.
Last week... all appeared copacetic, but something was in the wind. The ill wind has blown in.