19 January 2005

Of Parents and Conventions

Ah, the life of a Science Goddess. And, oh, the frustrations of Blogger when your post is eaten and you have to try to recapture your thoughts.

It's been an incredibly busy two days this week.

Last night, we held an information session for parents about how they could help their kids "Spank the Standards" on our state assessment. We have about 400 sophomore students at our school, all of whom will be taking the tests. We sent invitations via postcard to all of their families. We also invited parents of 9th graders who will be coming to our school. Passing the tests is more critical for them, because if they don't, they can't graduate. We also extended an invitation to Juniors and their families, as those students can elect to retake the tests for better scores. The scores appear on their transcripts, even if they aren't required for graduation. And, we even advertised the event in the local paper. So, let's say that 1000 families were invited to attend.

We had representatives from 4 of them.

I really could go off on a rant here...and perhaps will at some point in this merry blog...but I refuse to believe that parents aren't interested in the education of their children. I have to think that whatever we're doing to encourage parent participation just isn't cutting it. Why is it so hard to get parents of teens to engage more with the school? I know that kids don't always think it's "cool" to have mom and/or dad show up at school...but at a parent night, the kids need not even show up. Nobody has to know whose parents are whose.

Anyway, I got home about 9, had a few hours of sleep, and then took the bus to the ferry...across the sound to the big city for a 2-day conference. I went to three sessions today, one of which was wonderful. I slept through about half of the third one, but by that point, I already knew I wasn't going to miss anything.

Meanwhile, I've left my charges in the hands of a substitute (a/k/a "guest") teacher. That is always a real crapshoot. In this state, they have to be certificated teachers...people who are actually licensed to be in a classroom. But let me tell ya', in most cases, it's pretty easy to see why they don't get a permanent position. Most are unorganized...they don't follow the plan that is left...I've had several that don't like kids and are rude to my students. The one I usually get these days is a retired teacher from our building. He's deaf as a post and proceeds to fill the kids' heads with a lot of misinformation...because he doesn't bother to stay current. Ugh.

Due to my Science Goddess position, I'm out of the classroom a lot more than I would like to be. However, I try to never be gone during the first month of school while I entrain the kids. Being out a day here or there for the rest of the year is usually not too much of a problem. Two days? Not the best option (as I am doing this week), but with some preparation, it can be okay. And as for three? Don't even think about it. If you miss three days in a row, you'll never have the classes back as you would like them.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow will be very worthwhile in terms of conference sessions. For now, I'm going to lie down on the cushy bed here in the hotel and try to relax.

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