G20, Day Off #2.

Thanks to Obama's choice of Pittsburgh being the host of the G20 Summit, and thanks to the fact that I work in the city (which has been significantly impacted by closures and security measures), I had yesterday off and I'm off today as well.

I slept in until 10 am, a feat in and of itself, and lounged around all morning. I caught up on some DVR'd shows and poked around on the Internet. I straightened out some of our financial business and then took some mail to the post office.

It is a beautiful day here in Pittsburgh. The breeze is blowing, it's mildly sunny and still warm enough that you don't quite need that jacket yet. When I opened my front door I was hit with a welcome swish of fresh air and the quiet tinklings of wind chimes from a neighbor's porch.

As I sit here in the office typing away, the window is open and the rustle of the trees from the hillside behind our house is the only soundtrack to this early Friday afternoon. I must acknowledge the sense of peace and happiness I felt as I opened my front door this morning to leave for the post office, as it is something I haven't felt in a while.

My life has been filled with frustrations, stress, and long hours. A typical day of work for me begins at 7 am, and doesn't end until I come home around 6:30 pm. It is a long day, but still a good day. Even with all hiccups, with arrogant and apathetic students, how do I explain to a non-teacher that I still love my job?

Sometimes I even fail to explain it to myself.

Our principal put it best: We are building the plane as we fly it. There is so much I have taken for granted working at an established school where all the cogs are running - not always smoothly - but they're running. That's not currently the case. Beyond the simple matter of teaching, there is an unbelievable amount of endless frustration that arises from all the other little things I must contend with, things that will eventually be figured out but are up in the air at the moment. Things that would normally have a clear answer and direction had this school been established years ago.

But it's a new school. And not everything has been ironed out. In fact, we're one hot wrinkly mess at the moment.

My current issue: GRADING. Not so much my task of grading, but rather the program we are being forced to use. I'll spare you the details. Just know that the grades I have worked long and hard to complete and enter fail to give me proper evaluations each student. On Wednesday I posted the most up-to-date grades I have for my 9th graders. Most were fine with what they received (or didn't care...), but there were a few that wanted to know why they had what they had.

And I couldn't tell them.
And that made me furious.

There is one girl in particular who currently has a D. She was very upset and wanted to know why she had the D because she felt that she'd been giving her absolute best on every assignment. And my shitty answer to her: I don't know. I could tell she was angry with me, and I could not blame her. I in turn felt horrible and then was filled with a sense of incalculable rage. I literally have a knot in my stomach as I write this, that's how awful I feel about the whole thing.

Then to make matters worse, I had each student Email their folks their grade. I told them that to receive credit, I had to get a response back from their parent letting me know that they got the information. Well, one of my higher achieving students isn't achieving so highly according to his father and now father wants me to call him. First of all the phone call will have to wait because I have no access to my grades at home - which is ATROCIOUS - and secondly, EVEN IF I had access to my grades, I would have a hard time explaining to DAD why his son isn't doing well.

This all makes me want to punch someone. Really, really hard.

I want so much to build a good relationship with both the parents and my students and I fear that this stupid grade issue is going to be an enormous hurdle. I have to figure something out.

Part of me wants to scrap all grades and just start fresh.

Press 1 for START FRESH.

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