Art and Now Yearbook

I was very irritated at the beginning of the school year when the principal told all the teachers that because they had been unable to hire an art teacher, we were expected to teach art once a week in our classrooms. I was very angry. I have enough responsibilities to do without the burden of doing art with my students as well. Plus, I am not an artist. It is not like I can go home and make the project and then have an example for my students that looks really well. So far, I have been surviving but nothing we make is very fancy. I am not going out to buy any art supplies. I am making it as easy as I can.

I know that art is important to the students but I do not feel like I should have to be the one that teaches it. I did not go to school for art. I took one class as a requirement in college and I really was the worst in the class (no lie-we had to display our art work).

The next requirement that was thrown at us yesterday is the yearbook. That irritated me even more. We have a high school teacher that is in charge of the yearbook. However, we were all required to download this app that allows us to create two pages for our class in the yearbook. Like I do not have enough to do already?! Now I am supposed to be a yearbook editor too?

I actually never take pictures of my students. With all of the safety laws and whatever, I feel that it is better not to take pictures of them. Besides, with teaching two classes, it is not like I interrupt class to get pictures of them.

I understand why they want us to create our own pages. Since it is usually just a high school requirement to take care of the yearbook, they do not usually get good pictures of the elementary at work. However, I did not sign up for this. My focus is teaching. Not art and yearbook. Why bother teaching the students at all when I have expectations that never came up in college (or in my contract).

How Parents are Hurting Their Kids

As a teacher, I see the best and worst of kids. When I was just visiting classrooms for college, I was quick to blame the teacher for the students’ behavior. But now, I am quicker to blame the parents.

As a teacher, my job is to teach. Sure, I use classroom management to in order to have control of the classroom and help the students learn the most that they can. But when students do not behave, that takes away from learning. It is shocking the behavior from some of the students. I know that I never acted like that. In fact, if my parents found out that I did something terrible at school, I would have been in a ton of trouble at home.

But there are many parents that do not care how their student acts at school. They let their kids act however they want at home. They feel it is the teacher’s responsibility to teach their children to behave.

I look at students in my class that have hit and spit and swore. I have students that constantly say nasty things to each other and always have to things go there way. I have enough to do trying to teach all the standards the government imposes without trying to keep students away from other students and making sure they are growing up to be polite citizens of the community.

There is one student that has ADHD and his mom does not give him his medicine early enough in the morning so he comes to school (late) and then goes crazy for about half the morning. It is no wonder reading and math are not his best strengths. Then, this mother takes this child on trips all the time to visit family and never has him complete homework despite the long car trips.

I look at my students and I sometimes wonder what they will end up being like as adults. Will they have the skills to hold down jobs when their parents never cared about their manners or grades? Will they be able to follow directions given by the boss as well as show the other employees respect? Or will they bounce from job to job because they keep getting fired?

I am not saying that all parents are hurting their kids. There are some parents that care about their student’s grades and actions. There are parents that are really involved at the school and want the best for their kids. But then there are the other parents that you feel sorry for and wonder if they will ever amount to anything.

Art Class

The art teacher quit last school year and another one was not hired to take her place. Instead, the elementary teachers are expected to teach art once a week. When I first heard that, I was a little upset. I am not really into art. I quit taking art classes once I reached seventh grade. I took a required art class when I was in college and I definitely was the worse student. I just hate art.

About once a month last year, I would have my students make a simple project to hang on the bulletin board but that was as far as it went. This year though, we are expected to have them do an art project once a week. It is very frustrating because I had a very difficult time coming up with a project once a month. Now, I have to come up with something once a week. To make matters worse, I teach two grades. I cannot reuse the projects I did last year because half of my class already did them.

School has just barely begun so I am really freaking out about coming up with art project ideas. To complicate matters, one of the other teachers won’t leave me alone about other art expectations. There is an art show next spring so we are expected to save a couple students projects for the show. The teacher keeps telling me how to label their projects. I do not even have any projects to save yet! Plus, I know how to label their projects.

Plus, the same art projects have to be saved for the county fair after they are used for the art fair. But, they have to have different labels. The same teacher is not leaving me alone about that too. Honestly, I do not know if I will be here for the fair next year. Sure, I will go to the effort of getting their projects ready just in case but I am just getting annoyed with the other teacher right now.

This art stuff is more trouble than it is worth. I know that art is important for students but since I already teach two grades, I feel like I already have enough responsibility.

It Was One of Those Weeks

I was not looking forward to this week. I had noon duty and usually, it is long and horrible. Plus, without that extra thirty minutes, the work really piles up on you. Just in case I did not have enough to deal with it, more things were added to my plate.

We had testing on both Monday and Tuesday. That really messed with the class schedule. Even though I am flexible, my students do like consistency.

Then, on Tuesday, the lightbulb in my SMART Board died, leaving me to use the regular white board. I had no idea how often I used it until that happened. The bulb was changed on Wednesday but the box saying the bulb was dead did not disappear so I am still unable to use it.

Then, on Wednesday, there was this huge art show. I took my students to it at the end of the day but another teacher thought we should go after school. She is also trying to hook me up with my neighbor so she invited him too. I begged off after school because I had too much work to do (that happens when your only breaks are first thing in the morning). I did go out to dinner with them like we had planned and then afterwards, I had to go to choir.

When I got home that night, I had a million things to do. I would be leaving the next day after school to go home so I had packing and other things that needed to get done.

Yesterday was the long awaited day. I could not wait to get home. But before I could leave, I had a student that got in major trouble out at recess. I decided to send him to the principal but he was out of the building and I was left to deal with the situation. I finally decided to take away the boy’s entire recess since I knew I had to do something drastic. Later, I saw the principal and told him what happened. He supported my decision and also talked to the boy.

Finally, I got to go home. A little ways down the road though, I realized that I needed gas. I stopped at the next gas station and could not get my debit card to go through at the pump. I decided to pay inside but then the card would not go through there either. The guy behind the counter tried several times but finally we had to give up. Thankfully, I happened to have another card with me. I ended up going to the bank today after it happened again at Target. The bank had changed names two days ago and that had an affect on my card.

It was just one of those weeks but thankfully, it is over.

An Angry Parent

When my students get in trouble, I have them complete a behavior form so that they can think about their actions and decide on a plan for next time. I send them home over the weekend and require parents to sign the form.

Today, a student came back with two forms and a note from his mom. His mom thought that what he did was small and so he should not have been punished. She also criticized his spelling and grammar on the forms and requested a meeting.

I showed the mom’s note to the principal. I was really upset. Because while the student’s infractions might have been small, he was still not following my rules. And as for the grammar, I am not looking at that when they complete the forms. I do grade their spelling and grammar on other assignments but not on the forms. Focusing on a person’s character is just as important.

The student’s mom is a teacher (English at that) and you would think she would understand classroom discipline and be one of those parents that support the teacher. But she is something else. I have heard stories about her and would rather not deal with her.

The principal told me to ignore it. I am just hoping she will not come see me during lunch or before school like she has done before.

Underpaid Teachers

Teachers are definitely underpaid. I arrive at school everyday between 7:15-7:20. School actually starts at eight and teachers are required to arrive fifteen minutes before. Teachers are required to stay until four o’clock but I stay later than that every day trying to get papers graded and getting things ready for the next day.

I do not get a thirty minute lunch break. On days when it is my turn to do lunch duty, I get to work through my lunch. Other than a short break at lunch, I do not get much more than thirty minutes of prep a day when my students are at specials. There are days when specials get cancelled and then I do not get any prep time at all.

Often, I take work home with me. Even with good time management, I cannot get my lesson plans done. Every night, my backpack is stuffed with textbooks and students’ assignments.

I go into the school often on weekends. I have to get assignments copied and the classroom organized.

A teacher is definitely not paid enough. And to make matters worse, I teach two different elementary classes. I have double the work. Because even though I only have a total of fifteen students in the two classes, I still have to have two sets of lesson plans and assignments and centers.