June 2, 2008

Sucker Written on My Forehead

I took my gradebook and keys into my night school this afternoon. I asked them what the plan was for the students and if it would be best for me to come in and finish the class. The principal and secretary (you know, the kind that has been there longer than anyone else and actually runs the school) were grateful at the suggestion. It seems they didn't have a clear plan about the students. The whole issue was actually a 3-day battle wagered last week, and frankly, both of them looked a little worn down. End of the year, and district drama. Eegads! The tentative plan seemed to be whatever grades I submitted would be the grades the students would receive and someone--like one of them-- would cover the class the next two days. (Or maybe they'll get a sub. They asked if I was registered as a sub in the district. It's different funding, I'd imagine.) I agreed to one day. They're on their own for other.

So, I went tonight and tried to squeeze some work out of the students. Oh yes, I did collect some poor quality work, but most of my students simply needed the time I told them they'd have to complete the work tonight. Celia, the senior who was concerned about not graduating last week didn't come to class. As if! When the secretary came down to my classroom to have me do the check-out paperwork, I told her that Celia wasn't in class. So, the secretary called the counselor, and the counselor called Celia, and Celia came in about 15 minutes later. I didn't tell her that I was working free for her cause, but I reminded her that she apparently needed the credit to graduate.

Two of the girls whom I've had all year were surprised to see me because they'd heard there was no more money to pay me and I wouldn't be coming in. I told them that was partially true and explained to them why I came in. They immediately started working, and didn't lift they fingers from pencils or keyboards until the end of class. On the other hand, there were three other students who heard this conversation and then did nothing during the class to help their causes--and their causes needed desperate attention!

A classic case of leading the horse to water...

I feel a little better about the situation than I did a few days ago. The students were given the time originally allotted to finish their lessons. We skipped the final, but it honestly it doesn't affect their grades drastically. I completed my grade/attendance book. I was able to wish the students a happy summer.

The principal was appreciative, and promised if they can figure out a way to compensate me, it will be done. I know. I'm not holding my breath, though. Education in Nevada is taking a major financial hit, and I'll be lucky to have a position there next year. (He told me I will. I'm not sure what joy that might bring.) He also stopped by my classroom to check on me tonight, and he told my students they were very lucky to have me as a teacher. I feel like a hero or something.

Maybe just a good person. It' s nice to feel like one of those sometimes.

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