Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wasted School Year?




Ridge began the school year without a teacher. Though the district knew the numbers for his program in the spring, and knew that they needed another teacher, the job wasn't posted until the school year began. Then for legal reasons the posting has to be listed for about two weeks and then they can start the interview and hiring process. About 3 1/2 weeks into the school year Ridge had a teacher. Ridge was really excited about him, and he seemed really promising though fairly overwhelmed, mostly by the parents. I'm not at a point where I feel like volunteering in the classroom. I do PTA at Cannon's school and that's what works for me. But a lot of the parents were wondering right away how they could help, when they could be in the classroom. He didn't seem used to all the parent involvement, and he also had to figure out how to teach a 3/4 split and what in the world it world it meant to have a classroom full of "Highly Capable" children.

Because that is their label. They aren't just capable, they're highly capable. I'd like to claim that it is my doing that Ridge is this way, but it isn't. He had to take the tests and use his own brain. He is just a smart kid, all on his own. And I'm glad they have this program for him. At least last year it was a good thing.

Over the Christmas break I got a recorded call from Ridge's principal to the "parents of the highcap students in Mr. X's class." Mr. X had to resign due to family illnesses. A new teacher would be found as soon as possible.

It made me sad. Ridge liked his teacher. But during this process I've learned that his teacher was gone a lot, like one week for every three. One upset parent that I met by chance the other day said that she counted how many teachers the kids have had and it was over 20. I guess substitutes became so commonplace that Ridge stopped telling us, unless I asked the right question. Right now they have a permanent sub but yesterday they had a sub for the sub. And Ridge said that in the past they've had a sub for the sub for the sub. Which I'm not sure is really the case but it sounded like the kids were trying to figure out what was going on. They had group projects for social studies and Ridge was pretty excited about making his diorama, it kept getting better over a couple of weeks. But it sat in his room forever. It was supposed to be due last week and he didn't bring it so I brought it to school for him. Of course it wasn't due. Does the sub even have lesson plans from Mr. X? Ridge and his friends have decided that they haven't learned anything this year. He'll probably remember his 3rd grade year well though because of all this inconsistency. I remember my 3rd grade teacher's name, Mrs. Dunham, that she was great friends with the fellow 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Noyes, and that our class would go into Mrs. Noyes' class so we could all hear her read James and the Giant Peach. I also remember the name of the rowdy kid in class who often got in trouble when we were lined up to go to PE with Mrs. Macdonald (she was really pretty in my 3rd grade eyes).

Next week parent teacher conferences are scheduled. I might have a teacher to conference with but he/she won't know Ridge at all. I'm sure it would be hard to come up with a lesson plan in that short amount of time as well. And if it were me, I'd ask to start after the conference time to avoid meetings with all the parents because there are going to be a lot of questions and there are huge expectations for this poor soul who has to redeem the year for these kids and the highcap program for their parents. Me, I wish he had some consistency but I've also remembered lately my brother-in-law Marc saying something like, public school was okay for us and it will be okay for our kids. It will all work out.

8 comments:

Shannon said...

Oh, Paige, what a headache! I am sure Ridge will be absolutely fine because he has faithful, smart, stable parents to come home to each day. But you do kind of wonder about the kids who don't have that support...

Sally said...

Paige, that perfectly describes the class I student taught! I would love to come take over. Does WA pay their teachers more than UT does? I'm sorry for Ridge's and your frustrations about this. Anna's primary class from last year sounded similar, and she never wanted to go. She was crying each Sunday at the end of the year. Finally this year her situation improved, and both weeks she's had the same teacher. Isn't it proof of the power of a great teacher?

kelly said...

that is a huge bummer! i didn't know all of that was happening.
the year kenzie had a permanent sub for 5th grade was so frustrating.
i hope they figure it out quick.

Tricia said...

Argh. How annoying! Courtney loses her teacher this week. She's moving to Alabama. Courtney liked her, but she doesn't seem too broken up about it.

I had Mrs. Noyes for third grade but remember Mrs. Dunham well. I totally agree with you abut Mrs. Macdonald too. :)

Melanie said...

I'm so sorry. Truman is in a split class without highly capable students and I have to keep reminding myself about the fact that it will all be a fairly distant memory one day. I hope Ridge is doing okay. That inconsistency is terrible.

Paige said...

Thanks all. Ridge seems fine and doesn't whine about going to school which means that he still likes it well enough. With 57 applicants for the job (the principal let us know) I hope there's someone with a golden halo ready to step in and be a permanent fixture in the program.

Tricia -- funny coincidence, Ridge's teacher is moving to Alabama too.

Sara said...

I really like that picture of Ridge.

Faye said...

Mrs. MacDonald was pretty. I remember her glossy plum colored lipstick (and that was Mrs. Estes' daughter). Do you remember Mrs. Shaw, the long term sub for Mrs. Frates in the 4th grade when she was sick? I guess the fact that we remember their names this clearly is testimony to how good our teachers were in Claremont.