Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Paperwork and the Little Fat One

Pressure. The year is in full swing, and I'm back to feeling like I can never catch up with what I got to do. For one thing there is the continuing paperwork struggle. There are attendance booklets to keep up with, schedules to update and the ever present struggle with the IEPs. Trying to chase down all the IEPs that match all the new students is challenge enough, getting copies distributed to everyone who needs one is the next level of excitement and then the new guru from the network comes in with instructions that can be best described as contradictory. So emails and phone calls later, I'm stuck in the do what she says or do what I'm pretty convinced is correct-hell. I was so frustrated by the middle of the afternoon that the senior math teacher -never the most perceptive person in our school- asked me what was wrong. He'd never seen a student get me upset.

The eighth graders are ruling the roost in the science room. Earlier this year I called Ursula's mom. I left a mesage on the machine that she had been continuously disrespectful. Her attitude changed- for about a day. By Friday, I was the victim of her mouth yet again. I walked out of the room and then decided I didn't have to be abused bu someone forty years younger than me. So I re-entered the room and somehow managed to get her to the dean's office. Somehow, I left the office with a negotiated truce (I promised not to get in her face and she promised to torture me less).

Today I sat with Ursula during science and tried to re-establish a civil relationship. I asked about the correct pronunciation of her name. And somehow this story came out.

Years ago I had a student named Jesus. Some called him by the English pronunciation of his of his name, some used the Spanish. I asked him what his mother called him.
-Gordito, he answered (the Spanish word for little fat one)

-His own mother violated him?- Ursula's tablemate asked.

Maybe, I think he just though it was an affectionate name. At least I made through science class without being disrespected.

And sometimes it feels like it is all worth it. Last week, we came to the conclusion the Avid teacher couldn't possibly get through the required binder check with 32 students in the class.So seventh period I showed up to help- so did the rest of the Avid team. Five teachers gave up their prep to get through the tedious paper work. No one asked anyone to do it. We just did.

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