Saturday, May 12, 2012

What I've been up to...

Long time, no blogging...not that I haven't had anything to say.

School goes insanely long this year, into the week after Memorial Day, a first for me as a teacher. And just when I think things can't get any more intense at work, they somehow manage to do just that. I have more than a hundred seniors I have to shake down for books or fines, my least favorite part of my job. I am also in the middle of a very messy and probably inaccurate year-end inventory that I keep calling cursed because one thing after another seems to be going wrong. Worst of all, public education seems to be continue being demonized beyond belief by our state legislature.

Well, the charter schools bill looks dead, thank goodness. But the latest involves a super-late mandatory start date and a super-early mandatory stop date for public schools, practically eliminating our week-long fall break and maybe even a week-long spring break. Our governor actually vetoed the bill in favor of local boards setting their own calendars, but was overruled but the legislature, which also is not allowing systems like mine that already set a calendar to opt out. I've hear that students with existing travel plans during that week will be "forgiven," but what about teachers? I am torn between wanting to book tickets before our local board is forced to compress our school year and the realization that I don't want to be away from school for a week next fall, not when I have lots of small trips like the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (two personal days), the YALSA Lit Symposium (one professional leave day) and ALAN (two professional leave days, though it may be three if we lose the Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

I love to get away during fall and spring, when the crowds and international airfares tend to be less than over the summer.  The past few years, I've been so busy during with conferences and workshops  in June and July, it would be impossible to get away for an entire week. And quite frankly the idea of working pretty much non-stop through the academic year chills me to the bone. Some legislators are suggesting it's a move to increase tourism tax revenue over the summer, but the state Association of School Boards says that it has more to do with cheap labor provided by our students. Seasonal businesses don't want their employees skipping out to return to class before late August.

So I have one eye on the calendar, and one eye on my former students who seem to be marrying and graduating college in droves, with many of them becoming schoolteachers. Think about how long a first year in the classroom would be without any time to recoup and plan. It's going to be a long year for all of us.

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