Well, I've stopped crying, at least. (My eyes still hurt.)

So here's the deal. We've got two issues going on at my school right now.

First, a good chunk of our students apparently are.....misscheduled? Not getting the services they need, anyway, for a variety of reasons, but the problems are mainly around our ESL and SPED departments. And there are a variety of reasons for that, too, which I won't get into.

We're also having issues with teacher burnout. We changed our schedule pretty drastically this year to allow for extra math, and it's been hard. Really hard. Diamond hard. (I know, really I mean challenging...but I like hard.)

So our principal decided to try to deal with it. And while not all decisions have been made yet about how to change the situation, right now it seems that all students will get new schedules and will be redistributed.

We have four eighth grade Language Arts teachers. Best case, I end up with half of my current kids, as no matter what we're blocking (from a more traditional schedule). If we shuffle all students, odds are I'll end up with a quarter of my current kids.

Best case isn't good.

Odds are is even worse.

Kids need relationships. So much research exists about relationships and school success, particularly among at risk is it okay that all these kids will suddenly lose the relationships that they've been building since mid August?

Imagine being one of the kids in a new class. Half your class know the teacher. Know expectations. Know procedures. And then there's you. You won't feel like part of the class for weeks - maybe months. You'll be an interloper. You'll walk by your old teacher's room and wonder why you didn't get to stay. Why you got moved. Why you got screwed.

Imagine being one of the current students to stay. Suddenly tons of your classmates are gone. Your teacher is trying to incorporate all these new students into the class. She's trying to build community - why? Your old community was just fine. These new kids don't know how it's done. Your teacher is frustrated. You wonder why this all happened. Why they got moved. Why you got screwed.

I just don't think this is okay. Though I have nothing but respect for my principal for trying to fix this, I can't agree with this way of doing it.

Now I'm building resources so that I can make my case to admin. I don't think I'll win, but I have to try.

(Photo credit to


Joan said...

I am so sorry! I cannot imagine what it will be like. You did describe the situation well, but the reality will be tough. A few years ago we added a new teacher in October and every teacher lost two kids to the new teacher. He lasted one year, his class never gained community and the kids I lost kept coming back to me, begging to return. Broke my heart.

I hope you win, but sometimes we know our battles are lost even going in. Hang in there!

teachin' said...

I'm really hoping I win, too, and I think I have a chance. Slim, but there. Thanks for the words of support!

Ricochet said...

They mucked around with the schedule for 2 weeks at the beginning of the year. There were kids I had for a day or less - and some I had for the whole 2 weeks. These are seniors - they still come by.

When they pass more door, we both say "I miss you" - I feel bad for the ones I had so shortly that I do not remember them.

teachin' said...

Ricochet - that's exactly what I'm worried about. I've had a few people tell me that it'll be fine because I can just maintain the relationships I have, and then also build new ones.

Well, yeah, sure I CAN build new ones, and I can TRY to maintain the current ones (though when?) but that's not really the point. We shouldn't do this to kids. It's not right.

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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