Saturday, September 19, 2009

A dog... but no ponies this time

Thanks for all your feedback regarding Meet the Teacher nights and Parent-Teacher interviews. It seems that most, if not all, of you consider those events pretty important, at least at the elementary level.

When the OnlyChild was younger, I went to all of those meetings, too. It was easy for me, though. From Kindergarten to grade 2, Mr. P and I both worked in the same school that she attended (it was K-12) and from grades 3 to 5, we lived in a small town and knew all her teachers socially as well as professionally. The junior high years were a little different, but I still made the attempt to attend as often as I could. Rarely did I hear from her teachers, though, with good news or bad news. They were not good at keeping parents informed. Since she attends the school where I teach now, I hear everything... whether I want to or not (and quite often, I do not want to know what's going on...).

Our school is different, as some of you know. I work in a self-directed program. We don't have regular classes (seminars once or twice a week) and there are no homerooms. Instead, the students all have Teacher Advisors. When I get a new student in my group, I set up a meeting with the parents and the student; these usually take place in June or August, before the new school year begins. I become the school contact for those parents. If they have a question about their child, regardless of the course it pertains to, they call me - not the course teacher - and I find out what they need to know. The parents love this system because it simplifies the contacts. I have to stay in touch with the parents throughout the year, by phone or email, to let them know how their child is doing. Some parents want to hear from me every week; some prefer once a year. I let them decide the frequency.

So... no wonder we have such a poor turnout at Meet the Teacher night. The parents have already met the one person at their child's school that they need to know. And we're in regular contact.

Plus, it's a high school, and it's a well-known fact that parental interest in education decreases as the child gets older.

Okay, onto other things...

I marked assignments for three hours today. I had a meeting at 9:00, then I came home and made coffee and was at my desk by 11:00 am. I told myself I 'd work for two hours and then take a break, but I really wanted to get through the whole pile so I kept on going.

When I was done, I finished my September Bunny Hill block:

It's about time. Cute little Scottie dog, eh? I started it two weeks ago and all I had left to do was the embroidery. I actually feel a little guilty because I've spent the last two hours eating lunch, sewing, and now blogging. I really have an unbelievable amount of work still to do this weekend.
Mr. P had to sit me down last night for a talk about this. He thinks I am getting far too stressed out. He's right. Between work and the course I'm taking and all the other things I want to do, there's just not time for everything. He thinks I should drop the course, but I'm determined to see it through now that I've started it. Really, though, it's work that's got me in a tizzy. The marking is unmanageable and I still have course materials to write. Plus, my department head was on me yesterday because our diploma (government exam) results from last year were not great. Apparently that's my fault because I 'teach' the course. Remember, self-directed learning. I spend only 80 minutes a week with these students in seminar, and that's if they bother to show up. There are no consequences if they don't. I told him he should find someone else to teach the course because I was tired of worrying about it.
Yeah... so my day went downhill from there and I had a self-pity bout last night. Mr. P and the OnlyChild are both out of the house tonight so I've got some time to work on writing. Tomorrow I'm going with my friend Sandi to a scrapbook day. I thought about bowing out, but Mr. P convinced me that I need to do those kinds of things - activities I enjoy - or I'll go completely bonkers. Well, he didn't quite put it that way.
Thanks for letting me vent again. I know (I hope) things will calm down soon and I'm looking forward to a time when I don't perpetually have a four-inch pile of marking, when the learning guides are all written, and all the tests and exams have been made up. Then I will be able to breathe easier.
I hope your weekend is going well and you're making time for fun!


Pat said...

You can vent anytime you like, as far as I"m concerned. You do need to do some things for YOU, too....and not feel guilty about them.

tango's trash & treasures said...

vent away that's what friends are for!

Lynn Wheeler said...

Take a deep breath. Don't let go of the things that matter most to you. Thank Mr. P for being so supportive. Hugs to ya girl!

goldenbird said...

I'm glad Mr. P encouraged you to go to scrapbook day today-- he's right, you need to spend more time doing the activities you love. Gosh, your life sounds so overwhelming right now. Good for you for telling the department head to find someone else to teach that class. I hope things settle down soon and you get some quiet time.

Barb said...

you have a wonderful husband....

Sorry you are so stressed, I really admire your deterination to go for the gold....

Dogwood said...

Rachel, Rachel~My dear lovely sorry things are so busy and stressful for you right now. It IS OK to vent. We are all in hard spaces/places now and then. Hopefully it is just the "start of school" and things will slow down soon. I do hope you are having "a blast and a ball" doing your scrapbooking with you friend today. Hugs, Cory

Patty said...

Rachel Mr. P is right you need to take time for yourself because things will not get any easier! I hear you about hearing things about your own child whether you want to or not. When my son was at the middle school, (the same school I teach at) it was like that too! This was the first year that I didn't go to open house, he's a Senior ... at least that's my excuse. You're right about most teachers not following up.
Your block is cute. I'm glad you took the time to work on it today.Enjoy your scrapbooking day!

Thimbleanna said...

Your little block is adorable Rachel. I don't know how you keep up! I frequently get frustrated by the lack of time for fun stuff while working full time. I'm getting ready to get rid of a few obligations by the end of the year and I can't wait! Vent away -- any time you need to!

PunkiePie said...

Hugs Rachel! You can vent here anytime. We'll listen. Your September block is too cute. I need to print the rest of them out. Maybe I'll make the blocks my winter project since I haven't made any attempt in completing the BOM since January!

LillySue said...

Love your little scottie dog! Sounds like you had a crazy week.....So glad Hubby incourages you to do fun things. I just hope you can forget all the things you gotta do and enjoy something you wanna do!! Have fun and eat some chocolate!!