Current/Recent Reading List

26 May 2008

Publications Hell

Let's begin with a quick round-up of the publication for which I bear responsibility, that darned yearbook I've been whining about all year. Of all the times of the year I thought I wouldn't struggle with, the spring would have been my choice. But our books came in about 10 days ago, and suffice to say I was not at all prepared for what distributing 900 yearbooks would be like. Literally, I could have (and if it was a regular business, would have) spent the entirety of each day last week on nothing but yearbook matters. I could easily have sold thirty more, as well, if there had been any left.

What killed me was, in the midst of trying to prepare and teach academic classes, being bombarded by phone calls, kids at the door, parent e-mails, teachers and teacher's aides regarding YEARBOOKS! YA GOT ANY YEARBOOKS LEFT? ONE OF MY KIDS ALREADY HAS A BOOK, BUT CAN I BUY ONE EACH FOR MY OTHER 5 KIDS? I KNOW I PAID FOR A BOOK, BUT I'M NOT ON THE LIST (yeah, right)! MY FORMER NEIGHBOR ORDERED A YEARBOOK BUT SHE MOVED TO DENMARK - CAN I SEND IT TO HER?


I also had to call a "come to Jesus meeting" with the staff because of bad feelings brewing between class members over who was yelling at whom, and who was bossing whom during book distribution, and who will be bossing whom next year, and the editors for next already have a big head and are going to treat us like slaves, and blah, blah, blah. My message to everyone was real simple: they don't pay me nearly enough to deal with constantly unhappy people who are at each other's throats all year; get it out in the open now and work it out, and tell me when you're done (and happy again). So, they did, and I emerged from the room to declare "peace in our time." And yes, that analogy is apt because I'm sure the length of my success will be about the same as old Mr. Chamberlain's (we are talking about teenage girls, after all).


I will nonetheless take my publication issues, warts and all, over what happened to the newspaper advisor last week. Now, she has been doing this for a long time, and is VERY SERIOUS about journalism, and very prickly about complaints regarding her paper. Having said that, she has been really nice to me, and in my opinion the paper has generally seemed o.k. - not too controversial or too insipid, decent enough if not extrememly well-written. However...

Somehow one of her kids decided, in a teacher profile piece printed in the last edition, to include both pro and CON opinions of a civics teacher, as related by some of her students. These were quoted, verbatim, from a survey form. And, some of the quotes were of this variety: "She's too boring, gives us pointless homework, and is more interested in being a coach than a teacher." OH... MY...!

Well, the teacher hit the roof and was so upset she had to go home for the day, an immediate apology is now being printed in what is supposed to the final senior-dedicated edition of the year, parents of the quoted kids are outraged, and the rest of us are scratching our heads and wondering how in the heck-fire those quotes ever saw the light of day, how they got past the editors, and especially how they got by the advisor and/or the principal if he saw it. What - teacher defamation in the name of balanced reporting? I think the advisor gets to keep the job, and since that paper is her baby, I hope so. But like I said, oh my.

Yeah, I'll take MY publication issues anyday.

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