Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The First Day Of School

In response to a reader's request:

Yesterday was the first day of classes in our junior high school.

As I
predicted, each of my classes was stuffed to the maximum of 35 students each, for a total enrollment of 175 history students and 24 students in homeroom.

Today, I'll probably get another in first period for an even 200.

I have some really nice kids who I believe will be fun to work with. I just wish that there weren't so many of them in each and every class.

When I started teaching back in 1991, most classes in our school only had 22-25 students each. Since that time, our school's teaching staff has been downsized by eight positions.

Our well-entrenched-superintendent-for-life, Dr. Evil, famously said that research doesn't support the notion of smaller class sizes contributing to higher test scores.

He also said that "professional educators" were principals and above.

Dr. Evil doesn't give a hoot about teacher morale. He knows veteran teachers can't leave, and there are many more new teachers looking for jobs than there are posts needing to be filled.

The word for yesterday was
Therblig. This term and concept was developed by efficiency experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth in the '20s and '30s (It's actually "Gilbreth" spelled backwards.) and effectively communicates our district's attitude toward it's teaching corps. All that is missing are the stopwatches.

The other images that come to mind when I think about what our district really thinks about its teachers are certain scenes from
this movie, and that movie, both of which are among my favorites.

Classroom teachers have just been informed that due to higher insurance premiums, we will be taking a pay-cut of approximately $200 per month.

As with last year, my paychecks will be smaller than they were 4 years ago.

It's hard to feel enthusiastic about one's job when one earns less money for more work while the price of nearly everything from fuel to food to college tuition continues to rise.

The insurance premiums for administrators, on the other hand, continue to be paid in full by the district. They will also receive a five-percent pay increase for the current school year. One high-level district administratrix said that the raise was justified because administrators, "Work so hard."

Perhaps those raises were paid for with the cutting of three teaching positions from our school site, including
both the Art and Shop programs.

Seniority rules in California make it financially punishing to change one's district in mid-career. As the TeenWonk will be attending college soon, I can't afford the permanent decrease in pay that would result from switching districts...

But enough of my feeling sorry for myself! Now is the time to focus on being the most effective teacher for my students that I can be. The kids' deserve nothing less. I'm confident that it's going to be a good year in the classroom.

Entries for The Carnival Of Education are due tonight. Get the details here.

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