Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Eventful Week

Well, this is actually... the week before last, now. But the fallout continued into last week, resulting in more hectic...ness? Anyway.

So on Monday, things seem normal. (Shows how in-the-loop I am.) Monday evening, at home, I get a phone call from my department head, informing me of a meeting at 7:15 Tuesday morning. No official word on why, but her guess is something to do with security. Hm...

I get there at 7:14 Tuesday morning and there are folding tables blocking entry once you get past the doors. They are checking backpacks. I am told to go to the media center. Thirty seconds down the hall, I creep in and OMG everyone is THERE already?! Turns out a note had been found (Monday afternoon) in one of the bathrooms, saying that somebody would be bringing a bomb to the school the next day.


We are told that students are not allowed to use the restroom during class time without being walked there and back by an administrator. Needless to say, NO ONE is happy.

On the up side, when I get home, I find out that my donorschoose.org proposal was funded. ??! I was totally not expecting that. So now I will be able to do literature circles for the dystopia unit in the fall. Woot!

No bomb or suspicious materials (well, not counting dip - ew!) are found. On Wednesday, backpacks are NOT searched, but students are still not allowed to use the restroom during class time without supervision. (Five minutes between classes is more than enough time to allow for locker AND restroom use anyway, IMO. When I was in HS, we had three.) In my last period class, one of my Angels smarts off with "this sucks - I should just bring a pipe bomb tomorrow."


After picking my jaw up off the floor, I calmly inform him that I'm going to have to write him up for that. Gasps all around. "But Ms. Clix, he was just JOKING!" You can't joke about those kinds of things, I tell them. Uncomfortable silence. (Not, of course, that they're WORKING...) Still, I want to make sure Smart Mouth doesn't have his life ruined by a half second of stupidity that hurt NO one.

I agonize over the writeup, and turn it in first thing Thursday morning, trying to explain that the "threat" was reactive. I am told that I should have called the office and had Smart Mouth removed from class immediately. I am given a severe dressing-down, but to date I have seen nothing in writing, so as far as I know, I'm clear. Smart Mouth isn't so lucky; he was suspended for the rest of the year. Had he been a year older, he would have faced permanent expulsion.

I am also interrogated about the yearbook contract. Why didn't the principal get to sign it? (Never mind that he told me to send it to the board. He TOLD me this, so I didn't have anything in writing, and he naturally remembers nothing about this conversation. Yet when he's told me things and I've sent him a note to sign, I get nothing back. ??) Fortunately he DID sign a request for a revision to this year's contract, and the price on next year's book is EXACTLY the same as this year's revised contract. We will put another line on the contract for the year AFTER next, JUST for him. *eyeroll*

The student who is claiming religious objection to The Odyssey turns in a note that says "reading books about magic and [indecipherable word] in them is against the Baptist religion." It's signed Pastor Firstname Lastname. However, the handwriting looks suspiciously similar to Objector's. I ask Objector for the name of the church, which he provides, and an address or telephone number, which he doesn't know. Doesn't matter - when I google the name of the pastor and the church during planning, I get one local reference. Heh heh heh.

Pastor is in. Knows Objector, but does not recall any conversation of the sort - let alone any note. In discussing the book, he says that as long as it isn't being used to promote the Greek pantheon as religious figures, he doesn't find anything objectionable about it. He'll speak to Objector this weekend.

(Objector was not in class AT ALL last week. Heh heh heh.)

On Thursday afternoon, there is a note in my box - parent called yesterday and would like a call back. Great. I review the past few days in my mind. I don't know why this parent would need to call. This is a Good Student, doing well in class, grades are entered regularly... what have I missed?

In class I am informed that I "got Smart Mouth sent to jail!" Fortunately, as my eyebrows lift almost of their own accord, another Angel spouts off, "nah, he got HIMSELF sent to jail!"

Over lunch I learn that even though (at this time) there are barely four weeks of school left, administration is pushing to incorporate a freshman academy for next year. No one has been trained; few of the teachers have seen, let alone taught in, an academy setting. If we can get past scheduling and room-shuffling difficulties, it will be a go, and we will just "close our doors and teach as we always have."

What's different? The changes mentioned seem entirely cosmetic. While I like the idea of a ninth grade academy, what I'm hearing doesn't sound like one.

I finally get to call the parent back - it turns out that, due to a student using a teacher's phone to call ANOTHER teacher and smart off (not any of my Angels, thank goodness), the phone codes were all changed in the morning. The email informing the faculty went out at 2.

Parent informs me that Good Student, "while conscientious, has never enjoyed reading." (Please don't ask me to reduce assignments, I think.) "Until you started talking about The Odyssey." (Oh, no. I start to work up a defense of this classic adv... Wait. WHAT?) "Earlier this week, he said he wanted to go shopping for books this weekend. He's never said anything like that before. Yesterday he brought the book home and pointed at the back cover and said, 'Look at all the OTHER classic stories they have!' and it just floored me."

It takes me a few moments to respond, because after That Week, this sort of thing chokes me up. (Heck, it's getting me sniffly as I type.)

So while I feel like I was shoved through a meat grinder, I was not permanently scarred (so I guess that's a sucky metaphor) and things actually ended pretty well.


loonyhiker said...

OMG! I am speechless. The only response I can come up with is: May the Force be with you! lol Hope the next week is better.

Clix said...

Well, we had ANOTHER threat yesterday - that's why we had to evacuate. And the AP who's been assigned to oversee journalism thinks that copy is a waste of space.

OTOH, my new hip scarf is waiting for me at the post office... the Hunk is going to pick it up this afternoon, since I've got 8th Grade Open House tonight and will be staying through. I will be all jingly at dance class tomorrow! yey!

Melissa B. said...

To paraphrase the classic line from "Annie Hall": "Those who can't do, teach. And those who can't teach are Administrators." I got all warm & fuzzy, though, with the tale of the kiddo who likes classic tales. Good for you!

Mister Teacher said...

No pipe bombs, but a 3rd grader DID find some pornography in the bathroom this morning...

Melissa B. said...

Clix: send me your school address to scholastic_scribe@hotmail.com and I'll put you on our newspaper mailing list!

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