Tuesday, August 21, 2012

second first day

Since we're on block scheduling, today was like the first day all over again.  We had our second block homeroom class again (the one with the seniors), but the other classes were new classes since we didn't see them yesterday.

I was not sure how this senior homeroom situation was going to go, but today was ten million times better.  We pulled all of our desks in a circle, which was easy since there were only like ten people including myself and Mr. Robinson, and had this great talk about college. They told us where they wanted to go (all of them wanted to go!) and they all pretty much knew what they wanted to be.  It ranged from lawyers, to vets, to engineers, which was cool.  We also talked about what they needed to do to get there, which was a little daunting. It was kind of sad and somewhat discouraging as well to hear them say that their families would be the main road block in getting there. Most of their families can't afford to send their children to college, regardless of scholarships.  There are so many factors, like a lost income and travel expenses, that make going to college, especially away from home, almost impossible for these students.  I think the biggest thing I learned today was that these students all have the desire to go to college, it's just how to get there that's the struggle. When I applied to college, I had two parents who guided me each step of the way (thanks Mom and Dad!).  They navigated through the application process for me. I applied for scholarships, but it wasn't a do or die situation. For these kids, it is. Most of them will get financial aid, but they don't know how to apply for it and they don't have the at home support that they need to help them travel through this crazy journey. Hopefully, that can be my role this year. They are too old for a lot of the City Year stuff and their class isn't really focused on academics from what I can tell, but I know how to apply to college. It could be fun!

Anyways, after that, I had two 9th/10th grade history classes, which were just going over the syllabus and stuff again, so it was pretty laid back. One class had five people in it, the other had 27.  They were pretty well behaved though, regardless of the size. I found a girl with a lot of attitude and spunk who could be the next Jada. I was secretly excited and intimidated at the same time.

After third block, we all met in the CY room for to do some other stuff besides observations.  We ended up having to make phone calls home for students who haven't shown up yet. If they don't come tomorrow, they are unenrolled, which is bad for the student as well as the school.  The school will lose money and probably a few teachers if their numbers drop significantly, so they were calling every student who wasn't there. I was in charge of three ninth graders.  Let me preface this by saying I really don't like phone calls home. I usually got attitude when calling about attendance, which was not fun. I had a feeling this was going to be the case again. Little did I know what was in store.

I called the first two numbers which were both disconnected, but got something completely unexpected when I called the third.  When the phone started ringing, it sounded like it was calling an office.   All of a sudden, I hear this message saying that my call will be translated by a sign language interpreter!  Completely NOT what I was expecting, but there's a first time for everything, I guess.  So then, this interpreter introduces herself and explains that she'll be interpreting for someone, so I start my speech about how the student needs to come to school, blah blah blah.   There is a pause while I guess the interpreter is signing and then all of a sudden, this interpreter starts giving me attitude! I was shocked.  I mean, I know that the interpreter has to say exactly what the other person was saying, but even the interpreter had a taste of attitude in her voice. I was shocked.  Plus, they were trying to tell me that the student couldn't get to school because the bus never came and the mom doesn't have a car.  Valid point, but why haven't you contacted the school about this issue? At the end of this whole ordeal, I just gave them the main office's number and let them go. I was shocked. I hope that the kid gets to school, though, and figures out the bus.  Despite the attitude, I hope it was a productive phone call and that they actually do call the office to figure things out.  I was still annoyed, though.

After the phone calls, we had a debrief of the day and headed home. Today went a lot smoother with bells and transitions and such, thank goodness. My teacher had worked out all of the kinks in his lesson plans and the students were a lot more engaged.  The bells were only five minutes late instead of thirty, so we didn't really run out of things to do, which was nice. The students were well behaved and even though I didn't interact with them a ton, they seemed pretty respectful, minus a few.  Overall, it was a good day.