September New school year; do everything possible to get to know each of your co-teachers; you ask about the curriculum; you co-plan, you co-teach, you keep it professional but pretend you are either Nancy Drew or one of the Hardy Boys. Your mission: who are these other teachers ? Even more difficult- find just one working computer and one working printer!!!!!!!! Don’t complain about your schedule; just do it. Get a large bag and stuff all your materials in it; yes, you will be traveling all day.
October Hey you know your way around the teachers and the building. Take a minute; where are the clean bathrooms ? Where can you get decent food or do you have to bring it in ? Next step ; bring some food in for each of your co-teachers. As he/she reaches for the brownies, talk sweetly about the mandated goals for the students. Example: “Billy needs to write a critical essay in 60 minutes.” Suddenly, you find each of the teachers asking you to take over the lesson for part of each week…..in the Monopoly Game, you are now even with money and property. Good.
November Time to maybe cheat; start bringing up IEP’s with official state language….. Gen Ed teacher will begin to do what you say about these students because you just mention quietly…federal law. Watch some old episodes of Law and Order and see how they do it as they win the cases in the last 10 minutes.
December As the holidazeapproach, everyone is short tempered and many of the students are sick. You are okay because you have been using hand sanitizer non stop and because you have to be. Time to start doing more than your share in and out of the classroom- home run, get each teacher and each student a little gift. Wrap up some pencils- not so hard and very easy on the $$$$$. As the teacher unwraps his/her gift, he/she notices that the wrapping paper is actually a one page summary of each students’ goals.
January New Year First serious problems. Teachers want to fail students that you know have been working as well as they can. Be assertive and bring up all the learning disabilities and reading levels you can. In the end, just change the grades. No matter what the other teacher/teachers say, they will respect you. If they say the word stupid about any student you get livid. Go ballistic. What would Mother Teresa do ???? Channel her as you fill in the forms for grade changes and /or you stand in the many offices and explain why this must be done.
February Freezing out; all the classrooms are either too hot or too cold; how many days till winter break ???? Problem- you have 10 iep’sdue and the new Sesis system isn’t letting you do any of them because they have been put into the system incorrectly from CAP. As you explain to your Principal why “it’s not my fault…..” you try to call the help-line. Now you need your get out of jail free card but you traded it for Boardwalk. There is a 45 minute wait. Solution: call after 5 OR find a copy of Sesis for Dummies. Another solution: help your co-teacher out by “suggesting” goals he/she can use.
March Nothin’ new, lots of teaching, lots of IEP writing…..more “issues.” Where are the parents ????? Get on the phone, keep a log, and show it to each of the co-teachers. Ask them what they want the parents to know…. Tell the parents how their children are doing and what the Dad and Mom could be doing to reinforce studying.
April Easter, bunnies, jelly beans…. Make a list; students you still need to do ieps for Students who are still not getting their accommodations Fix it. Do you really want to watch Law and Order again ? No. Go to CSI. This time don’t think in terms of the good guys…how does the other side get stuff done. And remember, don’t get caught, get praised.
May ?????????? Who needs extra help to pass the Regents ??????? Before you start in with after school, get it approved and collect per-session for it. Write a syllabus, review of Global, review of Algebra, review of reading and writing skills. Pat yourself on the back. Tell the students; mention there will be free pizza at the sessions…… Plan your summer vacation and pay for it.
June Relax, it’s almost over. Don’t relax for long- this is a very important time. Politic like mad to get the teachers you want to work with for next year….tell the Principal exactly why you want to be in those classrooms. Because the students work better when the teachers work better together, remember ? Don’t relax, put the pressure on the students. While you are encouraging them to study, mention the summer school Valdomort. When they ask why they would have to go, …..well, say you just have to pass the class and Regents’ and that will not be a problem.