Wednesday – prep day – was harder than Thursday. My team agreed to help the kids work on their projects all day Wednesday – it’s sort of a school tradition. I had what seemed like a workable plan for dividing the kids up into 2 rooms for computer use and printing, and 2 rooms for board assembly, but as the day approached I could not figure out a plan for getting two printers working and in the right locations, nor did I have all their projects saved onto flash drives so that they would be able to use any computer rather than a particular computer. So it ended up being one computer room, a long wait for laptops, me at the printer (with my personal laptop hooked up to it) barking at kids to back up and not crowd in on me, I would help them one by one (it was 95 degrees in my room, not a formula for calm).
Aside: The last 6 weeks have reminded me of the huge gulf between the poster-pretty image of technology integration and the reality in so many underfunded, no-IT-person, scarcely-even-an-outlet-to-be-found schools. To me, the full-time IT position is the biggest need; what kind of organization has several hundred computers and has to call someone from outside to fix problems? Now we want to put in an old-school computer lab upstairs but the wiring in the building is all wrong and this is the DOE’s answer: pay to have it rewired from the school’s operating budget. Suffice to say that I’m sad that the UFT scheduled their rally against budget cuts for Wednesday, ’cause I’d have gone and tried to rally others if it weren’t such a crazy time for my department.
Anyway, most kids finished their projects, and we teachers left totally wiped out (of both energy and most of our arts & crafts supplies and anything else not tied down…). There was one fight, but it could have happened any day. And I hear that things were pretty calm on our corridor compared to elsewhere in the school, which makes me happy because I like to run a tight ship and for all we complain about this year’s kids being difficult, I think we’ve come really, really far with them.
The science team stayed at school doing last-minute prep of folders for teachers and judges, containing schedules, nametags, lists of projects and their numbers, and much more… then I went home, put my feet up, and started what promises to be an intense addiction to The Wire.