I convinced Emma, one of my fourth-grade teaching partners, to lobby Mrs. Nix to let me be ‘self-contained’ for the year. Note: If I had brought the idea to Mrs. Nix, she would have found some not-so-valid [i.e. lame] reason to keep me in ‘the system’. [Sounds like the prison industry, doesn’t it? Again, falling prey to exaggeration, but still…]
So, I went with my ‘Emma plan’. I knew she was a devoted member of the unofficial ‘morning group’ that coffees with Mrs. Nix. [yes, ‘coffee’ can now be used as a verb. Hey, my rules.] And so she had the principal’s ear. [That’s always been an interesting culinary image…having someone’s ear.]
Emma, ever willing to separate herself from what Mrs. Nix had in the past termed ‘my uninspired delivery’ and build her own reputation as a solid rule-follower, as she hopscotched her way past actual classroom experience toward that first coveted administrative position.
And she was willing to consider my arguments:
1. “We’re barely in the same zip code out here. Think of the time lost just shuttling kids back and forth for reading and math.”
2. “This will free you up to innovate…[within the confines of the publishers’ expectations, of course. I didn’t vocalize that last part.]
3. “Planning between two people will be much easier. You don’t need me as a third wheel.”
Heaven only knows what else Emma threw at Mrs. Nix, but it worked.
Her exact words: “Ms. Page, I’ve decided to experiment with a return to the self-contained classroom. And I’d like you to be the pilot teacher.” [I stopped being ‘Joanna’ to her right around year three.]
Room 36 will be self-contained for the year. Yes!!