Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why I Didn't Stitch Yesterday

Yesterday was frantically busy with no time for stitching, or even a lunch break, for that matter.  When I got home from work at 9:00 pm, I feel asleep on the couch while my husband watched three or four episodes of Warehouse 13 on DVD.

Part of the problem was stress.  The 8th graders in my Confirmation prep program complied with all the NY State Board of Regents protocols to secure excused absences for religious observance while attending the mandatory retreat day on Monday 3/18.  No tests should have been given and no new material taught according to the protocols.    The kids returned to school to find out that no less than nine teachers gave tests and quizzes or taught new material.  I had been in written and phone contact with the principal and the attendance office about this last week.  The  principal had assured me that no child would be "penalized" for attending the retreat but the children had to give up lunch hours and study halls to make up tests that should never have been given that day in the first place.  Others missed notes for a test given the day of their return, clearly putting them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the others in the class.

It didn't take long to draft my protest letter to the principal on which I will be copying the school board.  But it irks me that my kids' religious rights were violated.  The crowning insult was that I knew at least two of the teachers to be Catholics.

And, of course, there was the usual work to clear my desk before the 10 day Easter break.  When I return to the office on 4/8, I need to jump right into preparation for the First Communion mini-retreat, the registration mailing for the 2013-14 program and all the usual Spring routines [inventory, textbook & supply orders, drafting the 2013-14 calendar, building inspection and setting up a summer schedule for maintenance and repair].  This year there will be an additional chore, updating our AV inventory.  All the VHS tapes I so carefully amassed 10-15 years ago are wearing out and I need to draft a list of DVD materials to replace the outworn and outdated materials.

The hard part will be convincing the pastor that I really need to replace these items.  I have been on an austerity budget for the last 5 years with no new electronic equipment or resource materials purchases permitted.  We have been making do with donated used TVs, DVD players, etc.  My office computer is at least 12 years old and showing its age.  We have none of the standard teaching technology of the day: no computers in the classrooms, no teacher's lap-tops hooked up to projectors and large screen TVs showing computer generated Power Point presentations, no wireless in the building.  We are still using over-head projectors and transparencies.  I suppose I should be grateful I don't have to make do with mimeograph machines and reel-to-reel projectors ... or stone tablets and chisels, for that matter!  I have a hard time understanding how we can afford flowers for the church every week or expensive new matching sets of vestments for the deacons and priests but can't afford learning materials for the children who are the present and future of our church community.  Rant over!  For today, at least!  I can't promise not to revisit the topic periodically.  When even our 1st graders are fully "wired", for us  to be teaching with methodologies from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s is just so quaint.


Vickie said...

Oh Regina, you have very valid needs. Maybe assert yourself?

Linda said...

No wonder you were so tired when you got home - your work sounds very stressful and frustrating. I hope you are able to replace the videos with DVD's to make life a little more modern for yourself and the children. Take care of yourself.

Julie said...

{{big hug}} X

funding is a big issue for a lot of things here in the UK, to my mind it goes on the wrong things sometimes and could be better spent.