Monday, August 07, 2006

Rambling on school starting...

School starts next week.

I am not supposed to dread this, since I graduated a long time ago. But I usually regard the start of school with a mixture of dread and excitement - much as I did when I was a student.

It is not the return to the classroom that bothers me. It is the "in-service" days just before school starts.

If you are not a teacher, you might have always wondered exactly what teachers do on those days - or, if you are somewhat brighter than that, it never occurred to you. The fact is, we don't know either. We hope for the days when we get to work at actually getting ready to teach, but those are few, and usually unpaid.

No, usually we get to sit through interminable meetings at which we are told the new policies, which have just about as much chance of working as the old policies, and to hear about this year's fashionable program (and now it is not fashionable to call them programs, so the hyper-intelligent administrators go out of their way to explain that "this is not a program," though they never explain the difference). We just grin and bear it - it will all go away as soon as it doesn't work, which is usually pretty quickly.

But those are not the worst.

The worst are the motivational speakers.

Is anyone really motivated by finding out what color and geometrical shape they are? I do not know that it made me a better or more motivated teacher to learn that I am a blue squiggle. I was once, also, brown; because, apparently, I like to fade into the background. Incredible - if you know me, well, you get the idea (I was wearing a camo t-shirt that day). Once, we heard a recycled speech all about how gen-x'ers had no organizational skills and it was up to us to save them from themselves. I pointed out afterward that many of us in the audience actually were gen-x'ers; albeit, founding members of the order. A note to any principals who might be reading this (yeah, right) - spend the money on copy paper, it is much more useful.

But, this year is different. See next post.

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