Transparency

I must be honest: the main reason I started this blog is so that I would have a way of keeping track of the time and energy I put toward teaching classes and advising my publications staffs. I love that I’m also learning some new (to me) technology that I will be passing on to my journalism students and that I have a justifiable creative outlet as well – although, I have to question why I have to justify a creative outlet for myself. Oh, yeah, because I have too much to do as a teacher and adviser to spend time selfishly being creative.

Now that my secret is out, I have to confess and apologize for what is now obvious: it’s been two weeks since my last post. I am sorry. But to address my initial need to document time put toward, I must bog us down with information. I’ll try to do this quickly and painlessly (which should be easy, since I’m old and forgetful).

The week of September 12 was memorable for several things. I spent Monday and Tuesday after school following the new protocol before referring students to the office by calling multiple parents about such infractions as disturbing other students, not focusing on work, not turning in work, truancy for Encore. So far this year I have had more of those conversations with parents than I have had in my previous four years of teaching combined.

Tuesday was remarkable for the promise that it held and the disappointment that was revealed at the end of the day. For months, citizens have worked to create an acceptable compromise to the bond issue that was voted down last April. This one, it seemed, was what the people wanted and would agree to. The result would have been vast improvements to our 50-year-old campus, making it much more suitable on a basic, day-to-day basis as well upgrading the technological possibilities to help our students be more competitive technologically both as students now and as productive citizens later. The bond, however, did not carry a large enough majority, so it’s back to the drawing board again.

Wednesday wasn’t any longer than usual, but I had less time when I donated my plan period to cover a math class for a teacher gone to a workshop. Took some work with me, but when I realized his kids wouldn’t work unless I was strolling among them, I put my work away.

Thursday afternoon and Friday morning were open for Parent/Teacher conferences. I think I had seven parents or sets of parents come by. Guess I could add in all the phone conversations I had earlier in the week.

I did Friday on very little sleep. Dog barked at 1:24 a.m. I never went back to sleep. Did those few Friday morning conferences, a lot of grading, and some yearbook work. Dashed home for a late lunch then caught a ride with my teacher friend the webmaster, and, cameras in the trunk, we headed to the evening’s football game destination an hour and a half away. Of course, we built in time for a brief shopping trip and dining before the game.

My sophomore-in-college son and is girlfriend met us there (a halfway point for all of us), so we had some visiting in between photographing the game, pom, cheer and the band. And I actually stayed awake all the way home – midnight. Long day.

Saturday morning came early as I rose, grabbed the camera again, met a yearbooker at the classroom for more photographic equipment, and we headed for the park to catch some cross country pics. Those turned out much better than the football pics. I have so much to learn about photography. Daylight is my friend, and I am lost without my friend.

Last week I pushed hard to get the grading caught up.  This was aided by the fact that I stayed home sick on Monday. It was one of those illnesses that largely requires that you simply have a bathroom very close by. Other than that, you can actually get some work done.

Good thing I felt better on Tuesday. It was my turn to play freshman sponsor and watch dance practice from 7 to 8:30 p.m. I always get a kick out of the class dance pep rally. The students who are involved work hard to get their choreography just right and throw in enough originality to be competitive – although everyone knows that the seniors always win, even if they suck. It’s interesting, though, to watch some of the freshmen, who don’t really know what they’re up against, fool around and not take it seriously enough. Kudos to the choreographers, the leaders, who put up with a lot to try and pull off a good performance from a cross section of their entire class. My kid’s a senior, but I secretly root for the freshmen to impress the masses.

Finally heard from my yearbook rep on Wednesday, nearly a week after he said he’d figured out the index bug in the program and managed to get my index finished. Since attempts to email the file to me had failed, he was going to up load it to Dropbox and send me instructions, but I hadn’t heard from him in a week. Got the file, but the PDF plug-in wouldn’t work. Waiting game again while he works with tech support to try to figure out this new problem. Kids will be lucky to have the 2011 book for Christmas. They may be lucky to have the 2011 book before the 2012 book. I stayed late editing the file that wouldn’t go, because eventually it will.

The rest of the week went smoothly enough, though when I think of all I need to do to get this 2012 book off the ground, while still worrying about the old one, and production week is coming up for the first real issue of the paper, and, oh, there’s that English class to teach . . . it worries me, and I’m blogging.

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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