The Assistant Principal came in, flashed me her warm smile, and asked if I had a minute. She asked if we could sit down.
I knew it was coming. Yesterday, she said she needed to talk to me, whenever I had a moment. I respect her, which is something that I've rarely been able to say about administration in my six years as a teacher. She's a former teacher herself, and, in fact, in a strange way, I replaced her back when I was hired more than half a decade ago as she was climbing the educational ladder that I doubt I ever want to climb.
After some small talk about the training she sent me on this weekend, she started.
"You already know this, probably, and have probably heard it tenfold from them." she said. "But a few kids have come to me and complained about not getting work quick enough. And what I want to know is, are you assigning too much?"
"It's not that I'm assigning too much," I said, "but that I'm grading it too much."
She looked at me, waiting for explanation.
"I'm frittering away at the details too much. I think I realized it this weekend, as I was going through another stack. It would be much better to have less comments and have it back quicker to them. Better for both of us."
She gave me some strategies about how to handle the workload and not be at school until 8 o'clock every night. "I notice your car here every night. I thought I stayed late..." she trailed off. Then she said, "When i was in the classroom, I never carried the load you are, and always had the kids asking every day to get their work back, too. I know how it is. I just don't want you to burn out."
It's easy to complain about administration and how things are going. But when you have an eight-minute conversation like that from someone you respect, it's hard not to feel totally supported and appreciated. Yeah, I take a long time to get work back. They have pretty much all of their work back now, but, still, I know the mountain could re-appear tomorrow when I collect another essay. It's dealing with it once it happens.
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