Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In which I rage against pointless bureaucracy

The good news: the massive Latin quotes reorganization project (phase one) is complete, and the quotes have been filed in their appropriate weeks in my lesson plans for ALL THREE LEVELS that I teach.  And that's for the whole year.  And the dates of this school year have been synched into the monster lesson plan template, too.  Which means that, just possibly, I could just tweak the assignments and be able to turn in the entire year's lesson plans at the beginning of the year.  I usually do them a quarter at a time, but let's go for the whole year.  It will be my 12th year at Cedar Tree.  My students will get a quarter at a time syllabus, and the quotes will be on it so they can use it as a study aid.

The bad news... I am completely out of patience with the passive-aggressive bureaucrats who decided that they were going to play mind games with me today, and I'm going to rant for a bit about them, right here.  So, Tertia, the one with Down syndrome, is the only one of my 4 kids in the public school system.  She's going into 6th grade next week: we've had the IEP meetings and the planning meetings with the school, and everything.  I'm about as confident that she will have good help there as it's possible to be with the government schools.  We've been getting automatic calls all summer about how we need to provide proof of vaccination for TDAP and varicella, and I explained to the one actual person who called about how she has her appointment this Friday where she will get the one shot she needs, and the actual person said fine, as long as we get the vaccination record into the office before school starts.  I went to the school office today to pick up her schedule (after another automated call) and took her with me.  To be honest, I was hoping I would be able to see some of her classrooms and get a little orientation tour, just for my own benefit... Tertia has been with her 5th grade class already.  Well, it was a little scary walking in there with all the other kids, who are a lot taller, knowing that Tertia was going to have a lot of big changes thrown at her all at once, and hoping her natural positive attitude would hold.  But when we gave her name to the office lady, she said, "looks like all I have for her is this paper," which was a repeat of the incessant demand for vaccination records we've been getting all summer.  They have not prepared a schedule for her (and her schedule is going to be complicated) because they didn't have the little sheet of paper.  When I asked why, the singularly unhelpful office lady said, "Well, she won't be a student here if she doesn't show proof of vaccinations."  I had explained about the timing for her Dr. appointment.  It was a total "no soup for you!" moment.  The Schedule Nazi.  So, after her appointment I will have to drive back over to the school (not sure I can trust it to a fax) and hand deliver her vaccination record, and hope that by then they will have her schedule and any special information ready for us.  I'm worried they won't even set up her bus schedule until these people get their little slip of paper.

Administrare -- in Latin, it means to manage or attend to things, but it also carries a bit of the idea of a servant's heart.  Tertia and I could both have used a little of that today.  I'm really spoiled at Cedar Tree.  Never take for granted the prayer before important meetings, and the idea that the school exists to serve parents and children.  It's always a bit of a rude awakening NOT to find that in the public schools.

Oh yes, and Quarta has Veggie Tales sing-alongs playing while she's doing dishes.  I can do without Larry the Cucumber singing Kum ba yah in my one good ear today.  Grr.

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