Convocation begins the new school year

I have no idea what that title means except that is what happened today. The superintendent of the very large school district had all 20,000+ employees show up at the largest entertainment venue (and where the district holds high school graduations) this morning to kick off the new year.

Fortunately, each employee did not have to drive their car and cause a massive traffic jam that would make the entire city hate them. The hundreds of buses used to transport thousands of students, who have not yet started back to school, were used today to transport thousands of faculty and staff.

Many of my Facebook friends who are current district employees posted photos of the scene.

I cannot even begin to tell you, dear Reader, how grateful I felt to NOT BE THERE. In the past year I have realized, with great clarity, that I cannot deal with large crowds like this, crammed into a stadium-like setting, who was supposed to be paying attention and doing something purposeful.

That was the case this morning, I assume, but no one yet has been able to tell me what they learned or what they will be doing with the knowledge they supposedly received. Anyone who has taught knows there has to be a take-away for the lesson to have been successful. But, do you think, in these conditions, that much could have been accomplished?

The teachers had to return to their schools afterwards, but I do not know what they were assigned to do. Perhaps to write up the morning’s experience? Most probably wanted to work in their classroom, getting it ready for the students who will arrive August 19.

12 responses to “Convocation begins the new school year

  1. I think I have mixed feeling about this event. It seems not only to be too large of a group in too large of a setting, but it also seems like overkill on so many levels. I know I would not have liked it because the personal touch of making relationships with your colleagues from your own building or other schools just could not be there. Also, it had to have cost the district a lot of money that could have been spent a bit closer to the classroom.

    As I recall all those first of year meetings, I am even more happy that I no longer have to suffer through those endless meetings when I would have so much to do to get ready for school. I do have some happy memories of districtwide meetings, but our district was not this large. Meetings at the beginning of the year are necessary for many reasons, but they can become senseless at some point. I always went into my classroom at least a week early for four or five days to get the classroom and everything else ready to begin the year. It also took me a week to close it down each spring.

    • I’m sure it cost a lot. That’s the reason the district has not done one of these big events for over 5 years. There was just no money for it.

      One of the teachers commented that he came from a town of 2,000, and now he works for a district with 20,000 employees. It can be overwhelming to grasp. 75,000 students will show up on Monday.

  2. stressful start to the new year!

    • It would have been for me, Christine. I’m so glad to be retired. My friends and I have planned a little adventure for the first day of school. I’ll report on it next week.

  3. For a short while after I retired, I missed my work, but that feeling rapidly left me. Today, I am so busy, I don’t know how I managed work outside the home for all those years. Dianne

    • I have no desire to return to the big inner city high school in the big urban district. It can be a very stressful environment. Thank goodness for good union representation.

  4. My comment disappeared, so i am writing a second to see where it goes. Dianne

  5. I tought HS in the1970s and teachers went in one day beore the students to set up their rooms and have a few department meetings. We did not seem to need a mass meeting to get pumped up. But the 1970s was the dark ages.

    • I’m assuming your curriculum didn’t change from year to year? Nor the room had to be decorated? Or computers gotten ready with new software? Yes, times have changed. I always went in at least the week before and worked in my rooms, plural. I taught in 3 or 4 different rooms for most of the 21 years in that inner city high school. In my last two years I only had 2 rooms. Whooo hoo!

  6. Good gracious! I don’t think we had anything like that at our school district in Illinois. It was pretty much just the teachers. This looks like overkill.

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