INSERT ANIMATED TUMBLEWEED GIF
This will be my venting post, for posterity's sake at the very least. Something more thoughtful and coherent might follow on another day....
- The school year literally started with an accidental fire alarm at 8:10 on the first day, before kids knew their lockers or even their homeroom teacher's name and face. We actually began the year in chaos.
- My school is starting a new Advisory system two mornings a week, which changed most class times and for which I feel unprepared and unqualified. Almost every Monday and Wednesday begins awkwardly. It's one more bloody thing to do twice a week.
- The guidance counselor who looped with this grade of students retired last June, so the kids don't know their current counselor as well. The old one let them get away with almost anything! I love their new counselor because she actually writes passes, enforces appointments, and doesn't let kids skip class. That's been a culture shock for the students, and we are all suffering their disgust.
- I had major problems working with a teaching assistant who spent more time playing Bejeweled Blitz on her phone than circulating the classroom. And when she did talk to students, it wasn't helpful. Fine, go back to your game and zap that hypercube!
- The presidential election season was another unique once-in-a-lifetime twist. One of the biggest challenges in my career was trying to navigate the topic appropriately for 8th graders. (The Access Hollywood tape didn't help!) I have struggled for months about how much to disclose of my own personal political attitudes, and that also drained some energy.
- Personal things included some pretty bad insomnia in October and November. A few times I woke up after just 3 hours of sleep and my body was like "Okay, let's go!" My brain disagreed. I have already been sick three times: a week-long cold in early October; a brief stomach thing in mid-November; and a nasty flu just before Christmas that made me leave parent conferences early, then miss 2 days of school, then morphed into a sinus infection for the whole vacation week, and my lungs still don't feel quite right.