Friday, December 05, 2014

Blog: Knew It Was Going to Happen, And Yet . . .

Taking me cue from the discussion the other day about randomness and probability, we come to my last day at my current school. I stepped in to a temporary position while another colleague was on maternity leave, and now she is returning. As luck would have it, today was also the last day of the marking period. Normally, I'd be bringing a massive amount of work home to grade, but since I won't be going back to return anything, I had to leave a pile for me to check. I left answers keys and hints that she might just want to "check" the work and score it all. At this point, most of the kids are "good" about leaving two-thirds of the papers blank if they don't know what they're doing. Anyone finishes the page in what looks to be a neat and unrushed manner probably has a handle on things.

Today's events: I brought in doughnuts and put them out in the Teacher Center a dozen at a time during my preps. Some of the folks who hang out there (many stay in their rooms or elsewhere where there are conference tables) knew that today was my last day and that I'm having a birthday next week, when I'll obviously no longer be there. It was a little busy today. Friday's are little crazy because the periods are very short and there's 90 minutes of PD (professional development) at the end of the day for the teaching staff. (This was something that was voted on my the teachers last year.) I was doing double duty making sure that I packed what I wanted and tied up loose ends while creating work for the kids who I'd kept in the dark about the switchover. There can be some troublesome elements in the class, and they didn't need encouragement to misbehave, which they'd do despite the fact that I'm handling the second marking period grades this weekend.

Now, before I forget, when I arrived at work this morning, there was a bag with a bottle in it on my desk. I believe it's essentially an Italian version of Bailey's, which was confusing because it was a gift from a lovely Russian woman. So by the time that PD came around at the end of the day, after a lot of well-wishing (and an incident I'll mention at the end), I hadn't thought more about it. I had to go to the library for yearbook photos and I was going to take the remainder of the doughnuts, and I was supposed to go out for a drink with one or two coworkers.

That's when I ran into Pamela. (I'll call her "Dr. Pamela" this once, just to give her her due on the title, but I'm leaving off the last names right now. I don't know why.) She apologizes that it's Friday and the end of the day, but it's my last day, and could I help her set up that document camera she found in her desk drawer. (True story: I put it in that desk drawer a year and a half ago because it was the only piece of the computer not tied down. No one noticed since. I wasn't in the school all last year.) Well, sure thing. We'd talked about it once, and I hadn't done it, so it was the least I cou---


Seriously? The document camera? You lured me into a surprise party with a document camera??? Points for originality. So I celebrated my last day and my landmark birthday with my Math Department colleagues. Unfortunately, my boss couldn't make it, being pulled in "six directions at once". (I'm guessing: each way on the x, y, and z axes.) And others from the Teacher Center were likely corralled with their own departments at the moment, so they missed out.

And the thing is, I knew it was coming. I thought I knew. And yet ... Still a random moment and I expected none of what was there. And just to show you that I'm not the only person who think mathematically all the time, take a look at the equations and expressions on this word wall:

I'm leaving that school in capable hands. And, who knows, I might find myself returning.

As for the unfortunate incident, the less said the better. In literally the last minute of teaching at this school, a fight broke out. I'd hope it was just a flare-up, some hurt feeling that a slap on the arm would resolve and diffuse and not go anywhere else. Sadly, it did go somewhere -- out into the hall. A crowd did form, but I have to give a shout-out to students who tried to separate, restrain(*) and calm the participants. (*: when it comes to "restraining" a student, many are looking to be held back just to save face. However, that was true only for the instigator.) The kids came to each others' aids before it got worse. But like the inevitable car wreck you witness, you know what's about to happen. I wish I could say more, but I've probably said too much already. I was bummed out for the prep period before my PD, which in itself was a bit silly to go to, so I was even happier about the little diversion. Maybe it someone wants to join me for that new job/landmark birthday drink, we can talk!

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