Saturday, September 11, 2004

The Coming Distribution Super-storm
Our new principal, Ron Popeil, started off with a flash and a sizzle. He’s certainly more enthusiastic than was the witch. He read, “modeled,” for us a bed-time story, Stone Soup, and even provided a sumptuous breakfast spread of pancakes and eggs and bacon and coffee (sumptuous compared to the stale bagels and war-rations of cream cheese that were such a rare delight last year). He even winked at me, creepy touchy-feely, Christian guy style. Perhaps he’s trying to put one over on us.

By Friday he’d gone from a suit and tie to t-shirt and jeans, and we’d already exhausted all three of his promised limit of dreadful faculty meetings with nary a trace of any more bacon or eggs.

There has been, however, a major snafu. We received our Distribution assignments on Thursday. Mine is G1W. This means that whenever there’ is something to be given to the students - programs, grades, free-lunch applications, Metrocards – we have a special schedule with an extra period, and all the students in a Distribution group report to their assigned Distribution class to get their stuff.

This is a poorly designed system to begin with. It screws up the day by shortening all the other classes, and more importantly, it puts a group of 30-odd kids with a teacher they don’t know at all. Thus chaos ensues with kids dicking around and sitting on desks and walking around the room and leaving as soon they have their stuff (or rioting like Russians in a bread-line to get their precious Metrocards; they aren’t nearly as concerned with their Report Cards). Because what do they care if their Distribution Teacher gets mad at them?

Other schools have certain periods designated as Distribution periods, and on those appointed days, their regular teacher gives out the necessary materials, thus the day proceeds according to regular schedule and you don’t have roomfuls of kids with teachers they don’t know. Other schools also have the radical idea to give students their schedules before the first day of school, so that the first day of school can be used to, you know, begin teaching.

Not Shitty. We received our assignments and a schedule informing us that Monday was to be a special hour-long Distribution. We were also given, in a move rather insulting to our nominal status as professionals and adults, 12-point step-by-step instructions of how to seat the children, take attendance, and distribute the materials.

This is an inconvenient and poorly designed system, but it is a system none-the-less, and the students generally end up receiving the papers they need and having some vague notion of what their schedules are.

This year there was a problem, though. The students were never informed of which Distribution class they are in, so when they show up on Monday no-one will know where they are to go, at which point they will begin to fuck like monkeys and/or rip the flesh from each others bones.

The solution to this problem was to create an entirely new, temporary, set of distribution assignments based upon an alphabetical list of the students’ last names. For some reason this required a three hour meeting to explain.

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