Monday, November 26, 2007
posted by Q6 at 8:43 PM
I don't know if it's because I was once involved in high school theater, or because I regularly attend our school productions (or because I've been watching too much "Slings and Arrows" lately), but I would LOVE to be involved in a play production. I secretly hope that one day the improv troupe at our school will invite me to participate in this year's show--I've even offered to write a sketch or two. My fiancee (for those who read this blog, remember that she works at my school) and I have toyed with the idea of a "one night only" production involving nothing but the faculty members. It would be a lot of work, and a bit of a distraction from our jobs, but it would be so incredibly cool (and, most likely, so popular that we'd have to stage it in the gym--a 250 seat theater wouldn't hold the number of people who would want to attend). I envision a comedy.

Like I don't already have enough to do. I wouldn't even know where to start.

Sunday, November 25, 2007
posted by Q6 at 9:17 PM
This is my fifteenth year in the education business, my ninth year as an administrator, and my seventh year as an Assistant Principal at my school. Though I've often spoken about how I'd like to go back into the classroom--or into something else entirely--I sometimes forget those numbers. This job is a big part of my life, and maybe TOO big a part. Here's why:

1) I was only a few seconds away from dress-coding a college student at a local market.

2) Occasionally, I answer the phone at home using my school name and title.

3) I've posted personal stuff on my work blog, and vice-versa. (Which blog is this again?)

4) I've threatened my own kid--who doesn't even attend my school--with Saturday detention.

5) All my Internet purchases are delivered to my work address.

6) When parking at the supermarket, I complain that "those" cars don't have staff decals.

7) At Thanksgiving, people asked, "How are you?" and I immediately listed the open projects on my desk.

8) I check personal e-mail three times a day. I check work e-mail every 20 minutes.

No wonder I can't get my novel written. Or started. Or--nevermind.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
posted by Q6 at 9:05 PM
As the guy in charge of PR around this campus, the stuff coming from our student leaders embarasses me. As a former English teacher, it sickens me. As a guy who blogs about the dumb stuff at work, however, I'm delighted.

Each campus has it's own version of keeping the campus clean. Some play "Adopt-A-Hallway" with the campus clubs. Others hold contests. Us? We've decided to torture animals.

That's right, it's "Starve the Seagulls" week at my school. What better way to spread a sense of community pride and cleanliness by motivating the students to create a climate filled with emaciated waterfowl. What's worse, there are signs posted all over campus reminding the students to be cruel to the birds. I didn't get pictures, but I've dramatized some examples.

The Associated Student Body wants me to believe that the seagulls that plague the quad at lunchtime were sent by MegaTron?!? Oh, I'm sorry. He's a Decepticon. Deceptigons are . . . what? Deceptive polygons? YES! That must be it. They are shapes that are so tricky that you can't even tell how many sides they actually have (much like a seagull after four cheeseburgers and half a chocolate chip cookie).

Isn't it bad enough that our student leaders can't spell? Do they have to convert measures of volume into verbs as well? While you're at it, don't meter anyone, don't gram anything, and for God's sake avoid doing anything in centigrade. (Notice I've avoided commentary on the violent directive here. Fortunately, I haven't caught anyone actually beating the seagulls to death--more of them just fly in for the funerals, anyway.)

Ok, what the hell is this? Yes, the spelling error bothers me, but the message of this poster bothers me more. What are we, at war? The damn birds wouldn't show up in the first place if the kids would quit throwing five-course meals onto the pavement.* The whole "Starve the Seagulls" thing was kind of catchy and kind of clever . . . until we felt the need to invent a motive OTHER than keeping the campus clean.

Learn to spell, children. And keep the campus clean because you want it that way, not because the wildlife army sent by an evil Transformer is trying to kill you.

*Although the "murderer" tag may not be too far off--you ever seen what seagulls do if you cut off their regular food supply? They fight for it. I saw one gull make two attempts to remove food directly from students. Be afraid, my friends.

Sunday, November 04, 2007
posted by Q6 at 8:59 PM
Yesterday I played host to 621 of the stupidest human beings on the planet. I am the Test Center Supervisor for the SAT Test. I'll tell you this: some people worry that the next generation won't be able to sustain employment and fund our Social Security; me, I'm worried that these kids will one day procreate. Then, my friends, we're in serious trouble.

It's bad enough that some of these kids take this test EVERY SINGLE TIME I give it (which is ten times a year). I don't know why they think they'll do well on the test; I don't know how they even found the school that morning. I don't know how they even found their pants when they got up. As my fiancee so aptly put it: our generation will be the last to wear pants.

  • One kid stood for half an hour in the wrong line to add the test (note: he hadn't even bothered to sign up for it) after TWO shouted directions to the correct line; then half an hour into the four-hour test, he decides to quit because he tanked the essay. Surprise, surprise.
  • Four kids put their test answers on the wrong page. They put the ID information on page one, then put the answers on page four. Like pages two and three had cooties or something.
  • After I spent five minutes telling everyone where the rooms were, over thirty kids wanted to know where the rooms were. I didn't check to see if they were wearing pants.
  • Nine kids showed up not having registered for the test. Seven showed up to the wrong test center. Twenty-two signed up, in advance, for the wrong test (in five of these cases, "My Mom signed me up for the wrong test"). Many of these students drive cars. Be careful out there, everyone.
  • More than twenty kids showed up to the 8:00 test at 8:02 or later. One kid showed up at 9:00, and I had to turn him away because all the rooms had started. He insisted that the paperwork in his hand said the test started at 9:00. "Show me," I said. His reply, as he looks at the documents: "It says right here . . . . oh. (pause) So what do I do?" I sigh. "You go home."
  • "I can't find room 12." Here we go again, I thought. "That's because we don't have a room 12. You're the twelfth kid on the list (see how the kid before you has an '11' and the kid after you has a '13') . . . what room does it say you're supposed to go to?" Wait for it . . . . "Oh." Moron.
  • One student bothered me for three days prior to the test, insisting that he was signed up at my location. "You're not on my list, and it was updated an hour ago," I explained. He showed up that morning, test ticket in hand, and proved he was signed up at my location . . . . for last month's test.
  • Seven kids cancelled their scores. One of them cancelled his midway through and then continued to take the test to the end. I still haven't figured that one out.
  • After one test ended I hear a loud, panicked banging on the window by the front door. I rush to it, assuming the building was on fire, to find the parent of a kid who put her answers on page four instead of page two (remember those kids?). She wanted to know if her daughter's test would still be scored. (This happens at every test, by the way. It's a completely boneheaded problem, but it's a simple fix.) I tell her I'll take care of it, and she grabs my arm and jumps up and down, shrieking, like I'm one of the Beatles or something.
  • Ordinarily I get three or four calls from the proctors with questions or problems. Last Saturday I got thirty or forty. Most of the questions I answered during the proctor briefing, so either stupidity is contagious in close quarters or we've all been inhaling too much soot these last two weeks. (In fact, the only proctor I was seriously worried about--a rookie--had no problems in the testing room at all. Her only error was on her payment form--she put down her house number. Not her street name, city, state, or zip code--just the house number.)
  • When I was in high school our parents didn't even get out of bed to take us to the test (much less fork out thousands of dollars in prep classes--which are apparently doing sweet-fuck-all for these kids), but today parents stalk the test center in true helicopter-parent fashion. I honestly don't know how these kids even get to high school with the umbilical cord still attached.
The SAT Test is no longer an accurate gauge for college. Originally designed as an "eduational thermometer" to determine how capable students are academically, the SAT Test has been watered down and nullified by prep classes, inappropriately accommodated students, prep classes, advanced cheating methodology, and prep classes. (Note to prep class instructors: how about spending some time teaching these kids how to navigate the answer sheet? Or how to interpret the test admission ticket? Or even, maybe, how to register for the test properly? How about teaching them how to put on their pants?)

I have seen our future, in the midst of academic combat, fighting for their future positions in society. I have seen them use all of their mental skills to demonstrate what they are truly capable of.

We're doomed, my friends. Absolutely doomed.
posted by Q6 at 8:24 PM
If I've noticed anything lately, it's how the concept of TIME is abused, mishandled, or simply ignored by everyone around me at work. Students have schedules, students and teachers have deadlines, parents have meetings . . . and only a few seem to care. The students have six minutes to get from one class to another (me, I could walk from one side of the campus to the other and back backwards in under six minutes) and they still don't make it on time. Moreover, they're most often tardy to their first, third, and fifth period classes (break is right before third, and lunch is right before fifth--naturally). So you can only imagine the idoitic looks on their faces when I ask them, "So you can't get to third period in twenty minutes? Fifth period in forty minutes? So you have SEVENTEEN HOURS to get to period one on time and you can't pull it off?" It further slays me when they protest that they're late by only a fraction of a minute--"I agree," I reply, "it's such a short period of time that there's no reason you shouldn't be able to get to class twenty seconds sooner."

The teachers (some of them, anyway) aren't much better. I've got two teachers on my evaluation list who missed their initial conferences with me (one of them missed it three times). Others have been given paperwork deadlines and missed them repeatedly, one had to be reminded what time he's supposed to come in every morning, and others seem to think that the closing time of the front office is more of a suggestion than an actual policy.

What happened to the concept of punctuality? Of an honest-to-God deadline? I was once asked in a job interview, "If you're supposed to start at 7am, what time should you get to work?" I replied that I should be at my desk and ready to go at 6:55am. My mother taught me well--being on time became automatic. What I'd really love to see is one of these kids get turned away from a job interview because they showed up two minutes late. I just picture a guy at the half-closed conference room door: "Yes, well, the interview was to start at 2:00; you weren't here, and I think that tells us everything we need to know." Click.

My son and my daughter are often amazed that when we go somewhere, I'll have it timed perfectly . . . I mean, we'll pull in to the parking lot right when I said I wanted to be there (my son even checks his watch and asks, "How do you do that?" every single time). I'll leave the office for district meetings before others at my site, and I'll be the only one from my site who doesn't walk in late.

*SIGH* Maybe it's just me. I'm punctual, but I'm outnumbered.