Corrupting the Children

I work in a district where budgeting has been severely slashed in the last year.  Please do not take this as a complaint- I feel I am adequately compensated for my work, I work in a beautiful new building, and the majority of the staff is happy, idealistic, and collaborative.  It has meant, however, a reduction in after school activities and field trips.  We have a dedicated staff who have gone above and beyond to find ways to give kids opportunities after school.  I’m constantly stunned by staff who volunteer their time to coach intramurals, to run clubs, and to direct drama when they get very little, if anything, in return.

Lately I’ve been thinking of ways that I, to, can find ways around the budget issues.  I am a HUGE fan of cross curricular learning and I think that English lends itself particularly well to this.  While I would love to take my students on field trips that relate to novels we’re reading, it’s just not possible.  We are about to read The Rats of NIMH. I’m not wild about this book.  I tend to think it’s too easy for a lot of our kids.  Still, my husband swears he adored this book (in 4th grade, mind you.  I teach 6th).  I am determined to make it interesting and exciting.

For those not familiar with the book, it centers around a group of rats who escaped from a lab where they were given drugs to enhance their intelligence.  Immediately I thought of my friend K, who is getting her doctorate at a local university.  A large portion of her work revolves around research she does in a lab with mice.  So, I’ve invited her to come talk to the kids about her work and answer questions they might have about her work environment and what she does.

I mention this to the principal as I get the CORI form from him and his response, as he leans in cautiously for fear he might be overheard, is “she won’t be talking about stem cells, will she?”  After assuring him that we will steer clear of any touchy subjects, he asks for an outline of what she’ll be talking about.  I walk away, mind fuming, because you know, it would have been cool for him to say “hey, what a great idea!” And yes, I’m an attention whore.  I like my principal a lot for many various reasons.  I do not like how cautious and uptight he is sometimes.  I realize he probably needs to be, but holy baby Jebus!  Also, now we have to scrap our plans on teaching the kids about how ABORTION IS FUN AND WE SHOULD ALL HAVE ONE AND GIVE OUR BABIES TO SCIENCE!!  YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!  And now I’m going to hell.

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