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It's been a really nice week overall. I've seen D seven days out of the last eight, at least briefly and several times for several hours or overnight. I'm starting to believe it.

My report cards are almost done. I have one more segment to do that I can finish Monday afternoon, and then I'm good. There was a brief kerfuffle yesterday when the principal brought to me a very official-looking letter, on letterhead and everything, and a copy of the report card information I'd given to the kindergarten teachers to put into their report cards. (Unlike the rest of the school where I do my subjects myself on students' report cards, I don't have virtual access to the kindergarten reports, so I have to write up my comments, give them to the kindergarten teachers, and they input them. This is a huge problem for the prep coverage teachers, because it means we don't know exactly what the program can do. Does it have a way to apply a single comment to a group of students? Does it change gendered pronouns like the other program does, automatically? Without knowing those things, I don't know if what I'm giving them is five minutes of cut-and-paste and clicking through, or an hour of individually cutting and pasting and changing pronouns for each student. I believed it to be the first when I gave it to them, which is why I gave it in that format.) The principal wanted me to do all the cutting and pasting for every student - easily three hours' work to do for everyone - so that the kindergarten teachers would be saved that effort. This was a total surprise to me, because the kindergarten teachers had been uniformly thrilled at what I'd given them.

I think what happened was that the newest, most overwhelmed kindergarten teacher took my work to show her as an example of what she wanted the gym teacher to do, and the principal misread her and thought that what I'd done wasn't up to par, either. So I spent forty-five minutes in tears starting to do everything that she'd asked me to do and trying to figure out how exactly to come up with an individual example of each student's work, until the teacher I'd developed the comments with came to me and asked why I was late to cover her prep. She told me that the problem wasn't with my stuff, it was with the gym teacher's stuff, and the principal just needed to make it across-the-board so it didn't look like he was being targeted. I'm not buying it; I think Laura misunderstood and believed that my comments didn't meet what they needed from me. She would have been totally within her rights to take the gym teacher to task for what amounted to incomplete report cards, without any reference to me. (And everything we said about the gym teacher was theoretically grievable under the union rules that caught me a few months ago, so I had to cut a few of those conversations short when they started to cross the line. That was So Much Fun.)

I have a letter half-drafted to her about supporting prep coverage teachers in the full-day kindergarten program, so that we can actually do what the program expects of us. For example, if she wants me to provide personal examples about each kid's explorations in music, she's going to have to provide three things: 1) in-servicing on creating an exploration-based music program that fits the kindergarten curriculum, 2) consistent access to an ECE who can do the recording during the times when I'm teaching and actually, you know, WORKING WITH THE KIDS, and 3) an iPad for the library to do that recording. When I'm without the recording technology, I use checklists to assess, and you don't get specific examples from checklists. Furthermore, if she wants me to actually know these kids and see when they're making progress, she's going to have to make sure I see them more than once a week for an hour. It's so easy to miss one class for a few weeks in a row in that situation, with the result that there is no continuity of routine or program in the library. (I missed one class for two out of three lessons in December and the entire month of January, for example.) I can teach and it will be valuable to the students, but I can't assess under that curriculum on that timetable.

Other than that, report cards have gone smoothly and I've basically stayed out of everyone's way for the last little while. I'm feeling very disconnected at school, but there's only 14 days left when I have to enter that building (the final PD day will see me at my new school, and I don't know where that is yet) and there's no point in trying to repair those connections with so little time left.

Meanwhile, things at the Menagerie are settling into place. C has been busy unpacking, so the place is starting to look lived-in. My room is looking pretty good, though I want some pretty cloth baskets to put on the shelves in the closet for my clothes; I don't need a dresser because the closet is more than big enough for the 1/5th of my wardrobe that I'm storing there, but I'd like everything hidden away a bit more. And I need a bathrobe. I also need to get Claire a new dresser, so I can take the white wardrobe thingy she's using now to the Menagerie. Actually, I should go over to Habitat and see if I can find something that would work for that. Dressers are a dime a dozen, right?

Teal deer version: I'm happy. Life is good. Frustrations at work are mostly because I'm doing a good job but the principal didn't see it. Summer is coming and it will be awesome.
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I had coursework to do this morning, but my brain wasn't up to the kind of in-depth reasoning that it called for. So instead, I focused on creating a new notebook (in Office OneNote 2007 - I LOVE that program) to replace my day planner for the fall.

My new notebook has all the functionality of a paper one, but none of the paper (unless I want to print it out for a supply teacher or something.) There's a lot I haven't done yet because I want to get my schedule sorted out more precisely, but it can be done easily. So far, it has:

1) Tabs for each month, plus extra tabs for general tracking and evaluation for each term
2) A Month-at-a-Glance Calendar, Monday to Friday only
3) Week-at-a-Glance templates for Literacy and Math - I love these because they don't fit well onto one, or even two regular-sized pieces of paper, but I can extend the page in OneNote to be as long as I want it to be
4) Daily pages for the month of September - after that I'll make up some weekday templates based on my solidified schedule for the week, again, with no page-flipping to worry about
5) A tracking sheet for all those forms that go out and come back in the first week of school - agenda money, internet consent, consent to photograph, emergency contact info, my own contact info sheet

It still needs:

1) Templates for weekdays, taking into account prep time, bell times, and duties
2) A class list template and individual pages for various subjects and strands
3) The specific elements of the school year calendar for our board, with PD days and holidays included
4) To be backed up to a key drive daily all year - it'll be the last thing I do every night. (Meanwhile, I have to show this program to my principal and see about getting a copy for the new school computers when they come. We're licensed for most parts of Office, so I suspect we're licensed for this, but nobody uses it because nobody knows how fabulous it is.)
5) Anecdotal notes and seating plan templates. I suspect this will fast become the only way I ever do a seating plan. I can just type the kids' first names and drag them around the screen into the new seating plan! For someone who doesn't easily organize visually, it will be so much easier!
6) Files for pictures and videos I'm using to assess my kids' work. I'm going to get them using those cell phones for good instead of evil - they'll use them to record short videos explaining their work.

I'll also need to figure out how to hook this laptop up to the school's printer, so that I don't have to redo everything by hand when there's a supply coming in.

I'm quite pleased with myself. But I suppose I should have been studying and saved this for later in the summer. Purposeful Procrastination FTW!

June 2017



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