Quitting is definitely an option. Some days I think that going back substitute teaching would be better than this. Brandon says I'm making a difference, and that I should stay. I dunno. It IS a desperately poor school with desperately poor students who have, on average, a junior high level education.
I wish I were exaggerating.
I teach geography on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The students come in and I see them paying attention and engaging in the class and trying. But -- here's the thing, we do map quizzes for every section and I never count spelling because it's always so atrocious. I never exactly understood why until this most recent quiz on South West Asia. Their map labels -- and this was for over 80% of the class -- included places like Lemmon On and Sadia Rabia. They listen to what I say and write it down, but they don't (or more likely CAN'T) read it themselves. They're learning this stuff phonetically.
Also, my attendance rates are way down. The school itself has a 50% attrition rate per semester. That's an unbelievable number. When I started asking questions about it, I learned that it wasn't that students were failing or that they hated the teachers, it was that they got their last financial aid check and dropped out.
Students themselves tell me this. They enroll, come to class until mid-semester, collect their last dispersment check, and then drop out.
I ask them what they're going to do about paying the loans back and they tell me that eventually they'll declare bankruptcy. BUT WAIT. You can't get rid of student loans that way! Only I seem to know that, though.
Oh well. My political science class is fun, at least. They're debating all of next week. My World Civ class has almost all high school students (the Pueblo school systems are so bad that the school districts themselves PAY to send their students, starting when they're sophomores -- I have FIFTEEN YEAR OLDS -- to the community college.) Most community colleges have systems like this, but not in the numbers that we do, and the classes are usually meant to replace an AP class. NOT OURS. This is "school choice" -- not a reward for high achievers.
How am I supposed to "meet the educational needs" of 50 different students in what is supposed to be a college classroom, when I have kids that can't drive yet sitting next to mill workers who have been laid off?
To my horror, I have given my first scantron test this semester. I can't grade essay tests, or even short answers, for classes as big as I have.
With the economy the way it is, the state of Colorado has instituted a spending freeze. That means the the community college budget is reduced (if that's possible) to less than usual, and that our classroom space is even more limited since we had to halt the renovations to one of our buildings that was condemned for asbestos.
It's kind of this weird, horrible nightmare.
I do have health insurance, though. And I used it today to go to the rheumatologist who prescribed flexeril and ordered an MRI. She also suggested that I might not want to commute two hours a day and then spend ten hours setting at a desk.
At least this schedule is only temporary. In the spring, I should have a four day week and not have to work the utterly insane hours -- if I decide to stay.
Brandon has, of course, been amazing. He cooks me dinner when I get home at ten thirty at night and he gets up with me at six in the morning and reads cheezy romance novels to me while I get ready. :)
In other good news, my brother and sister in law have decided to try to have a baby. They already have names picked out!
I feel so. damn. old.