Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ahh, school districts

Well, they're up to their old tricks again. First I got hired for the new are position, then it became a 1/2 time position, then maybe not. So now I'm being re-issued a contract for the detention home. After moving through the stages of grief in a period of 24 hours, I have finally come to accept that I WILL be doing another year at the detention home.

Of course it's going to turn out to be one of those things where, they are going to make a final decision in August, and well, it'll be too late for me, because we're in school already at the D-home.

So I'm shifting my mindset again. It'll be ok. I really hope that the detention center becomes a dictatorship... but I'm afraid with all the former military members on staff now, that's exactly what it will become. -le sigh-

In other news, I have a fantastic opportunity to go to NYC this Sunday. It's for the Lincoln Center Art Institute. I get to go with a few other teachers from our district. It'll be fun. 6 days! That's going to be a long time away from home... But I'm so excited. I think this will be good for me, and I get to see and hear from other teachers from all over. I think it's a full day 9-5, but I'm totally excited to be in a huge city and seeing all the sights, and experiencing so much.

Then I come back and 4 days later we leave for Italy! Phew!

So the world is good. Everything is fine. I just need to figure out how I'm going to teach next year. With the restrictions on so many supplies at my school, I'm going to be so limited. I'm thinking about teaching comics. Lots of drawing.....though.

Ahh- Happy summer everyone. Hope you're enjoying.

Oh- and P.S. I'm getting busy on my etsy sight! I'll let you know what will be on it, and when I have it up and running-- hopefully by the end of tomorrow.... So excited to just be out there. Now for the website..... hummmmm....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

coming soon..

A new art position. I'm headed back to elementary school this time. It should be a good change. I'm looking forward to the change. I've taught a few years of elementary, and I pretty much know what to expect. I really just hope that it's the right direction for me.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Organize art closet...check
Recycle... check
Organize paint supplies....check
Finish assessments for half my classes...check
Organize leftover photo copies...check (wow, I never do that)
Last Monday with students... check

Now I just hold tight for a day (hopefully) and wait for the answer back from the interview. Then I'll know where I'm at and maybe-sorta relax about it all.

Glass of wine in hand...check.

Home Stretch

2 more days with classes, then grade day, and then.......?????? I have no idea. Our official last day is June 30th, but we have no classes. I guess that means clean up? Who knows. My room will be spotless if I come back and use it, or if someone else is here.

Today is also the day of the transfer interview. Wish me luck! I have everything ready. I know it's just a transfer interview, but I just wanted to be totally prepared. So I updated my resume, made sure my portfolio is in some sort of order..... Now I just have to be able to answer questions in a coherent way.


Well, happy summer everyone!!! I have just over a week until I can start enjoying the feeling to the max!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The beginning of the end.

Well, we're coming to a close over here at the D home. And just as the year started.... it has ended. I saw one class today for 20 mins. I just can't wait to be done this year. It could be the last one here. I applied for a transfer, and I have an interview with that principal on Monday. Elementary school will definitely be a change, and I'm not sure it's totally what I want, but I figure it can't hurt to wait out in a more cohesive place.

The D-home is definitely going through some changes. They have a new assistant superintendent, and he's definitely more authoritarian. I hear (rumors) that he has a military background and is going to treat this place more like boot camp. I'm in favor of some consistency and some regimented behaviors, but it would be hard for me to feel comfortable in a place where there are going to be "drill sergeants" yelling and giving orders (I picture some drill sergeant type character saying drop and give me 20 as I'm teaching about perspective or something).

Who knows what will happen? I wish that the position at the high school hadn't been dissolved. There's a slight chance that this will be just some sort of a stepping stone.

Part of me thinks that I would just make a better mentor to a kid who was from the D-home. I could really connect to them by volunteering at the center. I feel like I'd be filling a void.

Summer vacation is on it's way, and that is a thing of joy. I can't wait to be eating gelato while meandering around the Venetian streets. I'm so looking forward to a change of scenery, culture, and food. I can't wait! It's going to be great.

So- with only a few school days left, keep your fingers (and toes) crossed for me on that interview, and that we all make it through the final days of the school year unscathed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The big push.

Things are getting a little tougher around school these days. I don't have a count down calendar going yet, but I think I might need to make one tomorrow. I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but maybe after this coming weekend I will.

I haven't heard about the transfer position, but I'm sure within the next week I'll know about an interview. I'm still on the fence about it, but I guess either way I'll make it work. I wouldn't mind being able to walk out the door of the detention center for good after this school year. It would be bittersweet, but also welcoming to know that I wouldn't have a huge weight about my shoulders day in and day out.

I'm not sure there's a perfect job out there for me, but I know this is not it. As an art teacher it's thrilling to have a small setting, but it's so transient you can't really get anywhere. I feel mostly like I'm on a bed of quicksand. Every time I make a move I slowly get pulled under. Not a good feeling.

Oh the joys of being a teacher, so up and down. It's the end of the year, I'm bound to be feeling a little tired. Unfortunately, I think it's a bit more than that this year.

Any who-- things to look forward to:


So excited, I really am trying to spend more time thinking and planning for that. Now that most of the planning is done, I'm really ready to go now. But, we have a little over a month before our plane across the Atlantic. I still don't know much Italian, but maybe if I make some flashcards I'll start memorizing some phrases. We have cd's, but haven't both found the time to sit and listen to them... opps, maybe I can upload them to my ipod and just have it going for the entire plane ride... Ha!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Can I just say?





Yes, I am yelling at you... you must must see them..........

Monday, June 08, 2009

Concert Time!

Yay, I'm so glad this day has come. Finally I get to see the Decemberists and Andrew Bird. I can hardly stand it, I hope this day goes really fast. I have to leave work on time today, get home to take care of the dog, and then head out to pick up J at work. Driving into DC won't be that bad, since I'm going the opposite direction. But I have a feeling driving through DC may be a bit of a challenge. The concert is all the way out in Columbia, Maryland. Which isn't that bad in theory, but factor in the beltway of traffic, and things get a little hectic. I hope we make it there on time. I don't want to miss anything. Plus, we have actual seats. We're not on the lawn. I'm hoping our seats are decent, but I really have no idea!!!

YAY! I hope this day goes fast!!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lucky 13?

I guess when there are 13 days left of school things might get a little bit crazy. Like, for a few days your classes maybe wonderful, focused, managing themselves, and then just when you think the end of the year is going to end peacefully, positive, and happy.........

dun... dun............duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun.

Yep, that's what happened today. My last period of the day, 10 minutes to go before the end of class and a kid throws a chair across the room, throws hard punches at the staff, has to be restrained, but then the staff has to literally tackle him to the floor, and 2 staff basically lay on him on the floor underneath another table.

In the meantime, all my other students, step out of the way, while their mouths are gaping open. I couldn't believe that the table broke, and supplies went everywhere. For some reason, the other students handled it all really well. I immediately went for the 2 pairs of scissors that were out, and got them safely in my desk.

Why would this kid do such a thing? Well, he was mad at the staff for taking a "symbol", which basically takes away a privilege. So he kept talking about it, and the staff gave him another warning, which means you go to your room NOW. He didn't want to go to his room. Well, now that's exactly what he'll get. 72 hours alone in his room.

There hadn't been something that had happened like this in a while in my class. But you really never know when it could happen. You can't get too comfortable here, and I guess that's one of the reasons why it's so difficult to work in a place like this. You want it to be consistent, and challenging, and inviting, but then something like this happens and you realize a kid could do anything at any moment. Although, most kids don't. He's really an exception to the rule. Even kids that have done something violent won't ever do something violent in here. Just today I have a kid who I knew was brought up on 3 charges with a knife, and I gave him a glue gun to work with. I've also given him scissors.

It's a delicate thing. These kids can be ticking time bombs and our job is supposed to be about giving them some skills for their life. However, those needs are not being met here. Most kids don't even have a counselor, just a parole officer. Don't even get me started on the detention staff, they're so passive aggressive and inconsistent.

All I can do is what I do.

Monday, June 01, 2009


So, there is a chance to leave my current position, but I'm not too sure what I should do. I've been working at the detention home for the last 3 years, and while there have been some good moments, there have been a lot of things that I've had to overcome to make my classroom work for me. (and sometimes it still doesn't)

On the plus side -- which is the most important -- the students. I love them, they love my class. On the minus side, it's so transient. Another minus, there is a constant struggle between the staff of the D-home and school staff to manage the classroom. I appreciate that they are there for my safety, but I definitely would run my classroom differently without them. It sometimes causes a lot of problems because the d-home staff can be extremely passive aggressive, and that doesn't work for anyone. On the plus side, I love the teaching staff. We get along, it makes it more supportive, however I feel a bit isolated because we don't really work together where curriculum is concerned (good and bad).

Minus - it's been a roller coaster of a ride, and I feel burned out. Coming in and out of a jail everyday is a little bit like being an inmate. I do get to leave, but I hate feeling on edge. Because it's been said to us that safety comes first, We are always reminded about the dangers of this and that-- especially with art (although I still use sharp objects in the classroom).

So- the age group is great. I love teaching HS, but I can't create a program. It's hard to get their work shown, and it's hard to do lengthy projects.

It's draining. I know nothing will change with the Juvenile Justice System, and kids will always be rotating through this place.

So--- what do I do? Well, there's another art position open in my district. It's for elementary school. I don't know how I feel about that, except that I've taught elementary before. It's usually not my favorite age group (kindergarten is hard for me), but they are fun. The second thing is it's a small school. I think I really like the idea of teaching at a smaller school. Only, I would still only see my students once a week....which stinks.

The school is extremely close to home... I could take my students outside, on field trips, I could have more at my disposal... It sounds good so far-- except I worry that it may look like a step back for me professionally. Sometimes when people see a resume like mine, they think twice. I haven't stayed in one age group in my 10 years of teaching, but I don't really think that's a bad thing. In fact I've progressively spent more time at each school I've been at. I'm not sure if I'll ever find the perfect fit, but I honestly can't imagine doing more than 1 more year at the D-home.

So I guess right now I'm trying to weight my options... I'm leaning towards Elementary again. Ahhh, I don't know.. I really don't.