Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Wouldn’t it be nice, if there was equity among public schools? It is appalling how the schools in the higher tax brackets have more and always will have more. There are some schools in poorer neighborhoods where the teachers are spending all their hard earned money to compensate for the lack of very basic supplies. The federal government created Title I funds to fill this gap the size of the Grand Canyon but those funds are lacking and have a tremendous amount of restrictions and rules on the use of those funds.

Not only is there a huge disparity among schools across the state, but I am also amazed at the disparity of funding for schools within a district. This year I am now teaching at a school that is in a much lower socioeconomic area but still within the Cartwright district. I am amazed at the lack of anything and everything at my new assignment.

I am passionate about creating life-long readers. In order for students to love reading they must be exposed to excellent literature with complex plot line (which doesn’t include my nemesis Captain Underpants) and over the years I have accumulated many books without any help from any tax money. (Yes, I’ve paid for them all myself.) I have more books than God has angels. When I entered my new room I was amazed at what was there or what wasn’t there. There was one bookshelf four feet wide and five feet tall, one sink with no cabinets under or above the sink, one garbage can two feet tall and thirty chair-desk combination things. My poor aide, Cheryl, spent the summer begging the janitor to find bookshelves and most of the bookshelves that are in my room I bought. The bad part about all of this is that there are schools in my district that have empty classrooms full of desks, chairs, bookshelves, storage cabinets, easels, tables, filing cabinets, and many more goodies wall to wall and floor to ceiling. But everyone is hanging on to the stuff “just in case”. Just in case? Just in case there comes the hundred-year flood and everyone needs something to climb on so their feet don’t get wet? Wouldn’t it be nice, if everyone would share like they learned to do in kindergarten?

Wouldn’t it be nice, if technology actually worked all the time?  Due to the high-tech society schools have been pressured to educate children in the use of technology. Principals have spent what little funds they have (probably the funds that are used to pay for bookshelves) to buy active boards, Macs, and document cameras and then the district has mandated that teachers use these items and make sure the children are using them too. I would love to have my students use the two computers in my classroom but only one of them works and they are too old to download any programs that my ELL students need to work on. By the way someone has paid for a site license for the programs but there aren’t any classroom computers that are new enough to download the program. Even my computer that kind of works and that I let my students use is making that “shushing” sound which is a precursor for the “wheel of death”.  Just think of how often one gets a new phone to keep up with the technology. I would say the student computers in my classroom are at least ten years old. They are the big, boxy Macs but they are the white boxy Macs that are a lot newer than the blue boxy Macs, so I am considered lucky.

I’m not done yet, the printer that three other teachers and myself share has something wrong so whenever I print something there are three black marks in the middle of the text so the students can’t read what it says. So I have to print everything at home and then bring it to school and make copies on the copier that only works, if one pushes the buttons just right, leans on one particular spot on the copier, crosses both fingers, closes one’s eyes really tight, cocks one’s head slightly to the right and prays with all one’s might that the paper doesn’t get stuck or the toner doesn’t run out.

I haven’t even discussed the Activboard (yep, that’s the way it is spelled which drives me crazy). I happen to be one of the lucky ones that has an Activboard. I even have one of the newer models. Oh, by the way it doesn’t always work. It has to be unplugged and plugged back in every once in a while, the cords have to be jiggled just right and if the kids accidently step on the cords, one must start all over to “reset” the thing. AND it costs an arm and a leg to replace the bulbs when they burn out. That is not a clichĂ© that is the truth it literally costs and arm and a leg. An Activboard bulb costs between $300 and $600 depending on the model. Multiply that by 30 classrooms in a school and there is a cost of $9,000 to $18,000 a year just for Activboard bulbs. Someone should be able to invent a bulb that doesn’t cost so much. Wouldn’t it be great, if technology worked all the time and one didn’t have to sell flowers on a corner in a tube top to get enough money to pay for the upkeep on technology?

Wouldn’t it be nice, if when something was added to one’s plate something else would be taken off? I remember when our district was continually asking teachers to do more and teachers were promised that if something new was put on one’s plate something old would be taken off. Teachers are being asked to do more and more and more on top of what they already have been doing. Teachers arrive early and leave very late and they take home a pile of work every evening and work a tremendous amount of hours on the weekends. That doesn’t include the sleepless nights that teachers spend thinking about how they can do something better for their kids.

I once figured it out that I make about $1.27 an hour. My plate is fuller than a fat man’s plate at a Las Vegas All-You-Can-Eat buffet and requests to do more keep on coming.

If only . . . if only . . . if only . . . . Sometimes I fall into the “if only” whines. My Daddy had a great saying, “Darling, if wishes were horses, ever beggar would ride and if tear drops were diamonds, well, Darling, you’d be a rich sombitch!”

And then I remember that I have to trust in God. God has given me the strength, talent and ability to do what I need to do today and every day from now on with or without “stuff” that I think I need to be successful. I have what I need and with God’s blessing I will succeed. I have exactly what I need to fulfill my destiny, even if that destiny is to be a poor teacher that lives paycheck to paycheck. I have to be confident in what I have.
I need to put everything in God’s hands. If God thinks I need tech that works, I’ll get it. If God thinks I need help, I’ll get it. If God thinks I need more money to buy books, I’ll get it. I just hope God doesn’t think I need a bigger plate.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if we just let God handle it?

Paco’s Perspective

Wouldn’t it be nice, if God had dog treats fell from the sky like rain? I am having a feeling that is not in my destiny.

The Flip Side
So you’re saying that God could send me more lizards to chase, if he wants me to chase lizards? Why wouldn’t he want me to chase more lizards? Oh, no! What if it’s not my destiny to be the Great Lizard Slayer?

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