Monday, January 30, 2006


Journey Of The Lost Children

School begins in late August for many kids. Class, however, does not always begin at the end of August.

School districts make hiring decisions based on enrollment projections. If you're in a district like mine, these projections are rarely accurate, and the error is almost always on the side of less children projected than actually show up. The result is not enough teachers, and overcrowded classrooms when school begins. The district then scrambles to find teachers, who have naturally all taken jobs elsewhere, before school started. When classes are overcrowded, teachers can get paid more. While the district may have its own reasons for creating this situation every year, allow me to speculate.

I believe the district looks at saving money and lowballs the enrollment figures, hoping things can be stretched with as few new hires as possible. After a week or two, they finally accept that the extra students aren't ghosts in the computer and look for new teachers.

When we get the word that a new teacher is coming, we try to make adjustments as quickly as possible. To do this, a sub is hired until a new teacher can be found. The thinking is that moving kids, let's say at week two, into a class run by a sub is better than keeping them in their old classes until perhaps week five or six, when the new teacher can be hired.

Schedules are run through the computer again. Two or three kids are taken from each crowded English 1-2 class, and put into a new class that goes to the sub. This process is done with any number of English classes, trying to get the other classes under the extra pay limit. The sub attempts to get things started with these new classes so they'll be ready to go when the new teacher arrives. Annoying? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. A waste of time? Yes. Did we get that new teacher hired? No.

And the Journey of the Lost Children begins. More to come . . .
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