Saturday, August 13, 2011
Sunday Coffee: Back to School Edition
Our district (a large and diverse district on the coast of South Carolina) has a back-to-school rally for teachers. My school hosted the rally this year, and our gymnasium was filled with pumped-up teachers, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school nurses, and support staff (about 2,500 people in all). Our keynote speaker was the president of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and he gave a very good talk with Power Point. One slide did cause the entire gym to erupt in laughter. The speaker related a success story--a young man who had attended a special program at one of South Carolina's technical colleges and become a certified welder. One the slide the smiling young man was shown with two figures: his salary before technical college, and his salary after technical college. The audience of teachers, all of whom have bachelor's degrees, many of whom have master's degrees, and some of whom have doctoral degrees laughed heartily when they saw the two figures: the technical college graduate went from making $500.00 a week to making $100,000.00 a year. Why was this funny? Because many teachers make $500.00 a week or even less. There is always some irony in college educated teachers telling their students that education leads to increased salaries: that certainly is not the case for us.
On Tuesday evening we had an orientation for our tenth grade students (my high school houses grades 10-12). We had a huge turnout--about 700 people came. Our sophomore class is pretty large (470 students). The evening was a big success, and I met many of my students and their parents. I was incredibly impressed. The students were all so polite and nice: every single one of them shook my hand and told me his or her name. The parents were so nice--I'm really looking forward to teaching this wonderful group of students.
Saturday I went in to put the finishing touches on my classroom. I have my copies made, my plans for the next two weeks, and now I'm in a state of nervous anticipation. Is anyone else about to begin a new school year (as a teacher, a student, or a parent)? Are you ready?