taylweaver: (Default)
So lots of people keep saying how horrible it was what my coworker did to me, and I just want to say, no it wasn't. She did what she was entitled to do. She had a choice of four caseloads, and did not want the one she has had for the past few years. So she chose one of the other three, and it happened to be mine. It happens.

And my other coworker, the one whose caseload is intertwined with my current one, noted that I had every right to take my friend's caseload in Chelsea. I pointed out that it was a friend, not just a coworker and she said, "oh, that's different." Or something like that. It's understood that people with more seniority can take caseloads that would otherwise go to people with less seniority.

And I also totally get why she did it. A commute of over an hour? It's not fun. Been there, done that. Half an hour? Not a problem. I will have to get used to having a commute in the first place, but not a problem.

And I really am excited about starting out fresh next year.

So please don't be angry at my coworker on my behalf. She did nothing wrong.
taylweaver: (Default)
No, I can't go find it again. One might even say it was stolen - except for the part where my coworker had every right to take it...

To begin at something vaguely resembling the beginning:

So on Monday, we had our last big meeting of the year, at which we do The Pick. Yes, that's what they call it, The Pick. Why? Because that's where we pick our caseloads for next year, in order of seniority. There are about 25-30 of us, and that number of caseloads. And so we go down the seniority list, and each person makes their pick. The caseloads are put together based on number of sessions and geographic proximity of schools, and can have anywhere from 3-10 schools on them.

Our caseloads don't belong to us. Every year, there is the possibility that someone else could take it (or that it could be split up and not look like the same caseload as students enter or graduate and numbers shift). Three years ago, I was at the bottom of the list. There was only one caseload, and I got it. It happened to be walking distance from where I live. I was incredibly lucky - and incredibly spoiled. ("Did I mention I can walk to work?" Remember me saying that? And blogging it?)

Two years ago, I totally expected someone else to take it, but no one did, so I chose it back.

Last year, I prepared myself to lose it, even though my coworker who works in the same neighborhood (yes, there are that many schools in the neighborhood - about three or four caseloads that all overlap in the same 30-block area) kept calling it mine as we discussed them. But I didn't lose it, and that was great.

This year, I figured that if no one wanted it last year, why would anyone want it this year?

Then, all of a sudden, three people before me, someone else called out the number of my caseload. Insert internal "whoa" here. The coworker mentioned above went, "oh." Mostly, people just pick back the same caseloads. So even the people near the bottom end up back where they were. But here she was, just three people ahead of me, and she called out mine.

The next two people on the list have bilingual caseloads so they pick from a different set. So, effectively, she was one person before me. Yes, it was that close a thing.

Last year, my coworker and friend who is just below me on the list lost her caseload to someone else, but that other person took her aside and gave her some warning. I didn't get any warning. All of a sudden, it was my turn - about a minute later - and I had to make an on-the-spot choice.

I was shaking. I was feeling lost and overwhelmed. I almost cried. But I didn't cry. I did what I often do when I am thrown off-balance - I gathered information. Three caseloads left. I got the locations and a bit of info on the schools. I began with, "I need a minute!" Of course, everyone understood. Then, I called out, "Where's caseload x?" (i.e. where are the schools located)

My supervisor called me up to discourage me from taking one of the three because of a difficult school on it - she wants the current hearing teacher there to keep it. But since I very much did not want that school, I assured her it wasn't an issue.

This left two caseloads, one south of me, one north of me. (Excuse the lack of more specific info. I wanted this to be a public post.) The one south of me belongs to that coworker/friend who lost her caseload last year. I really didn't want to do that to her again if I could help it. Besides, she told me she has a student who bites. And I don't like the neighborhood she works in.

Good thing the person who took my caseload had a caseload that I can get to on a single train, within half an hour. In a neighborhood that has things like kosher restaurants. And she tells me it's a wonderful caseload, but it took her over an hour to get there.

As I tell some of the staff in the other schools this story, they get angry at my coworker, but I have no hard feelings toward her. I don't think she specifically wanted my caseload. She was just ready to get rid of hers. She told me she stuck with the commute for five years because she likes the schools and the kids so much, but a bunch of them graduated this year, so it was time for a change. And I think she didn't give me warning because she didn't know which caseloads would be left by the time it got to her. I had three to choose from; she had four. And so she waited to see what was left.

So I have a commute next year. And all new schools. And it left me shaken. I was totally blindsided by it.

But it's okay now. I am saying good-bye to all of my current schools, and realizing that there were only a few students who would overlap from this year to next year anyway. About five of them. A bunch graduated, and the caseload shifted a bit, so one school I had isn't on there anymore. And one of my schools - my favorite one in terms of resources (a place to work, computer with printer and internet, phone to the outside, copier that works and doesn't need a code) is phasing out anyway, so half the staff is leaving, and those resources will disappear after next year, I am almost positive. So it was a good year for her to move, and a good year for me too.

This was my first caseload, and so it's good to step away from it and go to a new set of schools now that I have three years of experience under my belt.

So I'll have a commute. That's the bad news. But, overall, I feel kind of excited about the change.
taylweaver: (Default)
Dear copy machine people:

You need to make your machine more user friendly. I know you like to think your machine is perfect, but copy machines sometimes jam. This is inevitable. At first, your machine seems like it is putting in a good-faith effort to direct the user to the area of the jam and to correct it, but once you open up the front of the machine, any clarity is utterly lost. There are knobs and levers and pieces that have to be removed entirely. Things are labelled, but if you are going to call one part 4a and one part 4b, don't tell me there is a jam in "area 4" - especially when the aforementioned 4a and 4b are not remotely near each other.

Oh, and did I mention: once the jam is cleared, 20 minutes later, your machine needs to acknowledge that this has, in fact, occurred, and start to work again.

I know you have technicians who need to get paid, and so they need to have machines to service, but I am also getting paid to do a job, and it is very hard to give a test to my students when the second copy of it is stuck inside a machine and I am 20 minutes late to class after having gotten it unstuck, and had to go find a different copy machine to finish making my copies - even though there were no move visible jams!

I admit defeat. I fought your machine and I lost.
Your machine made me cry.
And then I got a migraine.

Thanks a lot.

- me
taylweaver: (Default)
So this morning, I was headed to a new teacher orientation (my last one), and so I got on the local train. The doors closed, then opened, then stayed that way. The train conductor announced that there was a problem with the doors and that we would be moving shortly. Then I heard an announcement from the station: "Due to an incident at 96th street, South Ferry bound 1 trains will be running express from 96th st. to 72nd st." Moving shortly? I got on the next local to show up - on the express track.

As we pulled away, I saw that the front half of our train had closed doors. I am glad I was in the back half.

Of course, my subway ride at the end of the day was not quite as smooth.

Because of the orientation, eneded up at a different professional development (it's that day of the week...) and while my subway ride home was no longer than usual - shorter, by a bit - getting to the subway somehow took an hour and a half. (between getting out of the school building, hunting for the car of the person who offered us a ride, getting caught in traffic...)

Yeah. long day.

It's snowing, though.
taylweaver: (Default)
Well, really more like reasons to be frustrated on the rare day when the subway is majorly messed up.

Okay, only two lines. But the ones I needed to get to school.

I left my apartment at 7 AM. I got to work at 9:25. That was an hour and fifteen minutes late. My commute literally took twice as long as usual. Or rather, the last ten minutes of my commute took over an hour.

I guess that's the subway equivalent of getting stuck behind a major accident on the highway.

Actually, it was a track fire. That was what the conductor told us on the train. That there was a track fire at Newkirk Ave. At the time, we were at Prospect Park. And then we sat for a while. And the guy in the subway station kept announcing in a rather loud and frustrated tone that no trains were running to Manhattan (where most people were trying to get - I have a reverse commute) - and that people needed to go to the other end of the station to get a free bus transfer. And there was also a softer, more recorded-sounding announcement that no trains were running in either direction due to "debris on the track."

Note how they did not say "flaming debris on the track" - a far more accurate description. Thankfully, our conductor told us this, so it was not too much of a surprise when, after 10-15 minutes of sitting on the train and hoping it was a minor fire, the conductor announced that the train we were on was being taken out of service and that we should all get off.

That was when my bus map came in handy.

That was also when I got cell phone reception.

Prospect Park is the station where the B/Q comes comes above ground, and most of the station is aboveground - with reception, but, of course, the car I was in was at the very back of the train, so I needed to get out before I could call my school, just as the school day was starting, to let them know that I had no idea when I'd be arriving. Thankfully, the school where I work has many, many students who ride the subway, and also other teachers who do, so I was far from the only one who was arriving late. They were well aware of the problem.

Anyway, out came the bus map, and while it did come in handy, it also offered some disappointing news - because there is a subway line from Prospect Park to where I needed to go, there is absolutely no way to get there without switching busses.

And then, even with the bus map, I didn't know the area and probably walked at least ten minutes out of my way before I found the bus stop and boarded a very crowded, very slow bus. While on the bus, I got a seat, then gave it up to a little girl who was asking for one. Unfortunately, that put her next to the strange guy sitting in the adjacent seat, and she kept looking at him, so I ended up drawing her attention away from him by asking her about her Pringles.

But I digress.

I then proceeded to switch busses, but because I did not know the area, walked out of my way again - only a minute or two this time - but that was enough to just miss the bus. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day, and that bus comes often.

Still, the last ten minutes of my commute took over an hour.

And, of course, by the time I got to school, the trains were running again. I would have arrived earlier if I'd waited for the train to start running again. But I couldn't do that, because what if I had waited an hour only to discover the trains still were not running?

Of course, even when I left school this afternoon, the trains were not back to normal - the B train had joined the Q on the local track for a stretch. Because I end my day at Newkirk Ave., where the problem was, I got to see why. When reached the subway around 3, there were a bunch of men on the express tracks, still working on repairing all the damage, including the damage to the third rail - or at least to stuff around it. I think the fire even damaged the station a bit - there was a support column that looks like it used to have more paint, and an overhang that was a bit more crumpled than it should be.

I wonder if it made things better or worse that Newkirk Ave. is an outdoor station.

Anyway, so that is my subway story for the day.

And yes, had I left my apartment ten minutes earlier, I might have made it to school on time - but that is just coincidence. I am fairly certain the Q train before mine got through before everything shut down.

(for that matter, had I been running late and missed my train, I would have been stopped somewhere higher up on the Q route, possibly with better bus prospects. Oh well.)

And yes, it is true that I should try to leave earlier to allow time for delays - but this is not the sort of delay I can leave time for.

Anyway, so it was a weird start to the day.
taylweaver: (Default)
So today was Election Day.

Do you know what first comes to mind when I think about Election Day?
Is it exercising my right to vote?
Is it my opinions of the mayor and other candidates?
Is it having a say in our democratic system?

No, no and no.

I hear Election Day and what do I think?

Professional Development.

Schools are polling places. Students get off from school. Teachers get a professional development day.

This meant I also got - you guessed it - actually, when asked, [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer really DID guess it - a free tote bag. It's purple. lavendar, really.
And I got a squashy brain somewhere in there too. (no, not MY brain. You know, one of those stress ball thingies?)

Anyway, last night, thinking Election Day meant thinking about where I needed to go today - and realizing I didn't really know where I was going or when I needed to be there - well, I had a general sense - and it was too late to call anyone, so I panicked because I was sure I had received an e-mail, only it was nowhere to be found and I had no memory of having deleted it. I spent nearly an hour looking for it and then freaking out when I couldn't find it or any other information pertaining to it online.

Many thanks to RL for keeping me semi-sane, and for finding a map for me online - the very same map I finally found on the back of the page that had, indeed, been sent to me - via the old fashioned method of sticking a stamp on it and putting it into a mailbox. It was sitting on a pile on my floor. (Yes, yes, I know. Need to finish moving in... it's only been two months...)

And thus I lost an hour of sleep time.

RL also told me which trains to take and how much time she thought I would need to get there. Turns out, I had extra time, so thank you to her for that too, because I managed to confuse the trains a bit and didn't get off the C train quite when I needed to, but nevermind. Suffice it to say that unlimited metrocards come in handy when one has to move from the downtown track to the uptown track and it involves going aboveground.

Anyway, professional development was interesting. The speaker was both informative and entertaining - and she wrote one of my grad school textbooks. It was not as practical as I would have liked, but I still learned a lot, and would you believe that I took 15 pages of notes? And by that I mean I covered both sides of fifteen pages - so that is really 30. Yes, I am that crazy about my note taking.

Then I came home and remembered - thankfully - that I needed to vote, so I finally pulled out the voter guide and started reading about the candidates so that I could at least pretend to be informed. I also read about the four propositions.

I went to vote around 5:30 and - don't ask me how this happened - there was no line. But really, I only half-voted, because just after I pulled the lever back I realized that though I had made absolutely sure I voted for the candidates I wanted, my eyes never quite left the left side of the ballot - I forgot to vote on the propositions.

Oops.

Oh well.
taylweaver: (Default)
(by way of explanation, for those who are not Jewish, a mezuzah is a scroll with a specific passage from the Bible that is rolled up in a case and hung on doorposts of Jewish homes)

So yesterday afternoon, I went to a different school than I usually go to in order to observe a more expereienced teacher. I had looked up the location on Mapquest, and was delighted to note that it was less than a mile away. Plus, the weather was gorgeous. So I decided to walk.

As I started my walk, I was a bit vigilant. This was not a street I had walked down before, and though I knew I wouldn't get lost - it was straight down the same road until I turned down one side street at the end - I had no clue what neighborhoods I was passing through.

Well, it was encouraging to pass by an assortment of single-family homes, surrounded by trees and even a few patches of grass. It seemed almost suburban. As I walked, I also began to count the mezuzot. On one block, I was thinking in my head: Mezuzah... Mezuzah... Mezuzah... screen door (couldn't see the post)... Mezuzah... Building with a Jewish name... And, a few blocks later: Site of future Yeshiva (Jewish school)...

Is it weird that knowing I was in a Jewish neighborhood made me feel that much safer?

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