Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kudos Ain't Just a Cereal Bar

Today was a very enlightening day.

First of all, I have to give a big shout out and mega props to my girl N.J. (not the state, the person) for getting Flash on all the computers in my lab between Tuesday (when we discovered our Flash-less situation) and today (when we got over 150 kids to take the online Microsoft Word quiz on Quia). She did this on top of putting out a humongous "fire" caused by what may have been a complete failure of the school's web and mail server(s). (I never did quite catch exactly what happened.) She is my hero of the week.

Now, about that quiz . . . . .

Okay, so SOME of the kids could not remember their usernames for Quia. (You know, the ones they set up themselves amidst warnings that I would not know their usernames?) EVEN THOUGH I told them on Tuesday to come to class today knowing them. And I could tell some of the kids did not STUDY, as I had politely requested they do.

But overall, they were amazing, considering that bandwidth issues meant that only a dozen or so kids could be taking the quiz at once, and the quiz kept acting freaky under even those circumstances. (They had 25 minutes, and the period is just under 50 minutes in duration, so a bit of juggling and rescheduling during study hall was required.) And, being the sweet creature that I am, I am giving them another chance to re-take from home if they make a request in writing and fill in a simple form so I know their parents know what's up. I like to make sure I cover myself, ya know?

Speaking of parents, during this somewhat stressful, action-packed day, my superintendent IMed me (we go full-on geek at our school) with two compliments (from parents) that were gleaned from a recent parent satisfaction survey. I don't remember the exact wording, but they both mentioned me by name, and one said they liked how I was challenging the students while the other one said they liked what I was teaching the kids in our classes.

I don't know if these parents have children in middle school or elementary (or perhaps both), but this was a clear affirmation in a time of considerable self-doubt.

Kids being kids, they do goofy stuff and DON'T do what I ask . . . regularly. It's easy to become discouraged, especially in this period of major change from how we've always done things. (Well, not ALWAYS, but recent memory for current students, at least.) The O.G. admits that she feels down from time to time.

But this news, gleefully interjected into a day when my co-teacher and I glared at one another with that "I could just . . . . . . argh! that kid!!!" look FAR too many times, came as a welcome surprise and a little reward. So often, in teaching, we don't find out the true rewards until much later, if ever. And, of course, they don't show up in that envelope on the 15th and the 30th. So I take what I can get.

Hey, today was payday too. Cha-ching. Double bonus.

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