Today brings the new school year in our fine state and with it another installment of "Superintendant's Conference Day," that twice-yearly episode of banal, repetitive nonsense. Yesterday, the wife expressed excitement for her first conference day in her new job educating the youth. I admit that this innocence caused me no shortage of laughter. By the end of today, she came to understand what all of us education veterans know: there are much better uses of taxpayer dollars than having a bunch of administrators make speeches to a captive audience of teachers (who are, after all, the worst audience in the world). For me, the highlight of the speech parade was a bizzare, rambling missive by the President of the Board of Education. The gentleman in question decided to use his moment to:
- inform the newbies that he's a volunteer who gets love from the staff during non-contract years, and little but quiet loathing during negotiations ("no one kisses me on the cheek" was one of the more odd laments)
- proffer that his lack of a college education has served him well
- remind us all that his job is to get out of the way of our central administration as they guide us through the miasma that is the modern educational landscape.
- provide the following syntactical gem in referring to the district computers: "It's not slow no more."
That finished, it was on to discussions of the various changes to our contract that have been agreed to. A point-by-point explanation of 20 or so items in keeping with the Constitution of our Union (not written with an eye toward moving us through conference day with any particular speed).
This was followed by a 5-minute pep talk with the staff of the high school by myself, in my new hat as union kingpin for the building. And then another 1.5 hours with the new administration of the building (who seem genuine at first blush).
After a quick department meeting to disseminate keys and gradebooks and such, we were finally allowed to go to our rooms and begin the process of taking out the various and sundry educating materials that we had mothballed during the last two weeks of June past.
I am sure that the non-educator reader finds the above account as compelling as it was for me to experience. And the jealous among you will only be made more so with the realization that I get to do this on the first day of every school year for the length of my career. Truly days like these are the reason that I teach.
Tomorrow the students show up. Maybe I'll finally get to teach something.