Friday, April 05, 2019

The Halls Smell Fabuloso

That's what a Spanish teacher said to me yesterday.  The custodians had done an unanticipated hall cleaning and none of us knew what to make of it.

When was the last time that happened?

"The halls have never smelled fabuloso before," she said.

We had parent-teacher conferences last night. We moved them from March, via SBO, so we'd at least have one marking period behind us before meetings. I didn't think it mattered that much, since most of us have the same students, but it didn't seem like a bad thing either, until I realized what a long day it was gonna be. Of course I had a short day a month ago, but no one thinks about that stuff.

Now you might think she was saying the halls smell wonderful. Maybe they did, but it's all in the nose of the beholder. Actually, Fabuloso is kind of a Colombian Pine-Sol. (One of my colleagues says they sell it here at Costco, but I've never noticed it before.) It was really this odd chemical smell, but it gave you the feeling the halls were clean. I've been working in this building for 26 years and this may be the first time I've noticed this.

There must be some Very Important Parents coming, I figured.

In an office I saw people working furiously on the school computers.

"Don't you know that school is over, you aren't being paid, and absolutely no one in the universe appreciates the extra work you're doing?" I asked.

"How do you know we're not buying shoes?" one teacher replied. I couldn't argue with that.

Then the talk turned to PD. "I'm taking this online course for 3 CTLE credits," one teacher said.

"Wow, I didn't know you had one of those licenses that needed CTLE.

"Oh yeah," she said. "Everyone needs CTLE credit except really old teachers."

The teacher next to her took exception.

"Hey, I don't need to take CTLE credit."


"Yeah I graduated in 2003. We were the last class that didn't need to do that stuff."

I was glad that teacher took on this conversation rather than me. I felt kind of Methuselah for a moment before she spoke up.

Last night I had a crisis in my electronic grade book. I was talking to a parent about a student I thought was failing, and it turned out he was doing pretty well. Then I noticed that several tests the student had taken were not counted. It turned out when I changed the category from "exams" to "exams and projects" two of my three exams just disappeared from student averages.

I had to run all over the building to find someone who knew how to fix that. I sure didn't. I was lucky enough to get help, but alas, my student wasn't lucky enough to escape those two tests.

After that, for a while the internet seemed to stand still. Another of my students had to rely on my memory for why he got the grade he did. A few minutes later, the internet came back and I was able to establish that my memory, in fact, was not all that bad for a really old teacher.

I'll tell you, though--that particular moment was a pretty fair argument for paper record books.
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