Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hannibal is not yet at the gates...

but there are reports of elephants in the Alps.

Disturbing news arrived from the county administration office today. In anticipation of a very tight budget for the 2009-2010 school year, the topic of class size has been discussed. The report suggests that, unless a class has a minimum of 20 students, the class will not make. The report specifically mentioned that even a combination of level IV and AP classes in world languages may not reach the magic number of 20. The alternative seems to be Adventa and VirtualVirginia. In other words, students will be offered the opportunity to take advanced level classes online or sign up for something else.

This unofficial announcement leaves me a bit stunned and numb. I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach. Am I to teach at three different schools next year? Will I have a combo III/IV/AP in the same room?

It is (hopefully) too early to speculate and give in to a suggested threat. I'll wait a little more before I panic but, just in case, I will read up on how to survive elephants on the battlefield.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stacking the Tabellae, Sorting the Papyri

I have begun a project of which Psyche would have been proud. I am storing all of my notes, handouts, quizzes, tests, and other school-pertinent information electronically... AND (here's the amazing part) I am eliminating all the hard-copies. I have discovered that I use my electronic files much more often than opening the drawers of my filing cabinets. That's right, cabinets with an "s" -- one at home and one at school, both filled to overflowing and, often, difficult to search. Now I can already read your minds and can hear your warnings:

I) Make sure you have a back-up!

Yup. Got that. I keep my files on my trusty Dell and have a back-up of my files on an external harddrive. That's the storage part. The functional part is that I have my files on a flashdrive and keep a back-up disk at school in case the flashdrive fails... and, believe me, Murphy should have written a law about flashdrives!

II) Don't get rid of all that paper! Think of the trees who gave their lives so that your students could learn Latin!

Yup, yup. Considered that too. I am going through the folders and distributing extra copies I put into storage last year thinking I might use them this year. As the folder empties, I toss it into the garbage.

III) But what about the stuff created before desktop computers roamed the earth?

Yup, yup, yup. Got a plan for that as well. The true oldy-but-goody stuff from the pre-electronic age gets scanned into the computer OR I look for or make a new version. For stuff that isn't easily scanned to recreated... well, some files will have to remain.

I'm not fooling myself and believing that I will accomplish this Herculean labor this year or even next year; it will be most definitely an ongoing process.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Grabbing at Toss-Ups

We returned today from a very poor showing at the Classical Cottage Certamen. For the first time since I transfered to Riverbend, no teams placed in and brought home a trophy from a Latin tournament. I'm not yet ready to declare our teams dead but the interest, particulary at this time year, is beginning to wane. This should come as little surprise. Once the weather begins to warm and the trees begin to bud, students' thoughts begin to turn to other matters... as it should be.

The Classical Cottage Certamen was good but quite small. The flagging interest does not seem to be a factor just at RHS. It was a shame, though, because Susan Schearer does an outstanding job at organizing and running a tournament. It is always a pleasure to attend any competition sponsored by this woman. Thank you, Susan!

We have one tournament left in the year... the "state championship" sponsored by the Virginia Senior Classical League and/or the Virginia Junior Classical League. I have always been confused as to who was actually in charge but the events always seem to work and champions crowned. Participation by RHS may be off for this tournament as well, seeing that it falls on the last Saturday of our Spring break. We shall see...