Counseling Council

October 19, 2008 at 9:26 pm 1 comment

When LMS interviewed me, they asked what my thoughts would be on running Student Council. It sounded like fun, and – beings as I was on a job interview and all – I was in no mood to sound un-enthused. So I enthused, and lo and behold, I became the new Student Council advisor. After about twelve different teachers told me I was a “brave woman” I began to get scared, but it was too late. Of course, some of the things these teachers seem leery of – overly inquisitive gifted students, assertive parents, public speaking – are the very things that fuel my fire, so perhaps their warnings didn’t apply to me….?

Last Monday, the election process commenced. I’d been warned to expect about sixty kids, mostly sixth graders, at the information meeting; I planned for a hundred, and got over 120. (Bears noting, for any readers who doesn’t know me personally, that I teach in a relatively well-to-do community with a hyper-involved parent base and very ambitious little children. Even so, 120+ kids trying to run for student council is a bit unexpected.) I ran out of information packets, ran out of chairs, ran out of time. Chaos. They had one week to complete packets and submit them in order to be qualified as a candidate; the packets included teacher recommendation forms, forms that verified they had good grades and discipline records, peer petitions, and their speech. If they didn’t turn it in by the firm deadline, they were out of the race. End of story.

The number of kids who did not turn in a completed packet wasn’t surprising. I ended up with about fifty kids who turned in something. Of those fifty, thirteen had missing paperwork, and at least two of those thirteen inexplicably blamed me for their inability to follow through. Correction: one kid, and one kid’s mom, blamed me. Overall it wasn’t too bad; only one angry parent, a handful of phone calls from confused moms, and two sets of tears. I definitely took a crash course in delivering bad news to little children that day.

The surprising part, to me, was that none of the eighth graders managed to turn in their completed packets. I consulted with the PTB (that’s Powers That Be, for those of you who didn’t pick up the 2008 Manual of Mrs. Bee’s Personal Acronyms, or the Brazilian Labor Party, for those of you who prefer to read this blog with a touch of absurdism) and canceled the eighth grade election.

Over the course of the last two weeks I’ve chased down paperwork, tried to sooth ruffled feathers of teachers who didn’t find out about the election assembly until after they’d planned lessons for that day, held two speech workshops, exchanged emails and phone calls with parents and students who took the process far more seriously than it warranted, laughed myself silly over the posters that didn’t get approved and the speeches that maybe shouldn’t’ve. Student Council advisors, it turns out, see the school at much later hours than most; by eleven or so at night, it’s pretty damn dark and spooky in there. It took hours after school to deal with Council stuff, so I was getting to school an hour early to deal with teaching stuff. Whee!

There are a few of you out there who would probably enjoy a recap of the actual election day, but I’m boring myself here, so I’m going to skip ahead to the part where I close by saying that tomorrow afternoon I have to tell 28 emotional tweens that they did not win the election – and it isn’t going to be pretty. I already know a few of them that are going to cry. I’ve tried to arrange it where they will have privacy and a quick escape home, but it’s still going to be somewhat traumatic for some of them. In an effort to soften the blow I’ve made little gifts for all of them: certificates and appropriately optimistic pencils. And eight of them will find out that that they’ve managed to win an elaborate popularity contest staged for the right to stay after school once a week and do extra work while feeling disproportionately important. Of course, they won’t know it’s disproportionate until they’re about a decade older, which is just fine with me. My inflated sense of pre-adolescent self-importance is still a cherished part of my personal history, and it did me relatively little harm. 🙂


Entry filed under: TALES FROM SCHOOL.

Keeping Myself Busy Where Else to Prop my Halo?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Clix  |  October 20, 2008 at 5:19 am

    Hahahaha… too cute. So what will your little student counselors be doing?


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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

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