Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's starting to happen....again.

Even though we don't officially start here in New York until next week, I started going in to set up my classroom and get things organized. At first, I was actually happy to be back. It's always fun to go in early because lots of other teachers are there and everyone is relaxed. This year the school was especially clean. Even my rug got shampooed!!! There is a fresh coat of paint in all of the hallways and even my door was painted (yes, the one that used to shed paint chips all over the floor every time it closed). It was great catching up with everyone and I was actually happy to see my classroom.

I decided to set up my room differently this year and I have to say I am very pleased with the new layout. I was lucky to have inherited a large (some might say "cavernous") room that gets excellent sunlight through its large windows. I have nicer furniture than most and I'm the only one on my floor that still has the wooden doors on the cabinets that run along the entire wall. I actually went to a hardware store to finally get handles (which have been missing since I moved in) for these doors so I can actually open them this year. I still had 2 of the old ones, so I brought one with me. The guy at the hardware store said that they were probably 80 to 100 years old!!!!

Anyway, that's not really what this post is about. You see, I love setting up my room and getting ready for the children. I'm excited to get this year going, but I already feel this heavy cloud forming above me. I have always been a really hard worker and dedicated to improving my school. I have served on several committees, especially over the last 2 years and have worked really hard to design new programs, bring in outside resources, and more recently, hire staff to fill positions. I served on the hiring committee because I was worried about the future of my school and my students. After the school year had ended, our school hadn't hired anyone for our vacant positions (numbers were in the double digits) and the administration didn't seem in any way concerned about this. A group of teachers, including myself, got together and basically did the administration's job for them during the summer. We made them hand over resumes from open market. We sorted them. We made phone calls. We scheduled interviews. We interviewed them. We followed-up. All the administration had to do was officially hire them and enter them into the system. It worked. We got some really good people and were confident that we had done our best to help our school.

Now the black cloud. Our new hires have started trickling in this past week and I feel responsible for the well-being, even though that is not my job either. I am disturbed that they have no classroom assignments, no materials, and in some cases the curriculum is unclear. Here they are coming in early to try to get the year started off right and we have NOTHING for them. I almost feel guilty that I helped bring them here by serving on the hiring committee. Not that we misrepresented in any way what our school is about, it's just that our administration did not follow through with their part. I keep telling myself, "You are a first grade teacher, this is not your job." Why do I feel personally responsible that our 8th grade teachers have no Spanish as a foreign language curriculum (or that our new administration doesn't even know what Spanish as a foreign language is--- no joke!)? Or that the 7th grade science teacher doesn't know if her schedule will include blocks for labs or if she'll have access to the lab at all? Or that I don't know who the new 4th grade special ed. teacher's CTT partner will be? THIS IS NOT MY JOB!!!! Yet, I'm already feeling incredibly stressed about the whole thing.

I decided not to go in today, to take a day off and not even talk to anyone about school. I went to the laundromat to wash my table cloths and stuffed animals for my classroom and focus on what I can control, providing a quality education to my first graders. I'm going to continue my quest to find cabinet handles that will fit my hundred year old doors, and just relax. Tomorrow I'll continue the set-up and hopefully try to block out everything else. So sad.


Sarah said...

Good luck to you! I'm sure the new teachers appreciate you checking on them. Hopefully your admin gets their act together soon!

Literacy Teacher said...

It is wonderful to know teachers like you are there for first year teachers. Maybe just ask, "Are you ok?" or "If you have a questions, I can try and give you an answer?"

You sound like a wonder assest to your school. Happy First Day !

Señorita in the City said...

I agree with what everyone else has said, the new teachers are so lucky to have you. :)

We have a couple new teachers (supposed to anyways) this year in our department, I'll remember to show them the same kindness.