Monday, August 15, 2011

Pardon The Interruption

As I think about Back To School (cue the ominous music here, please), I always try to mentally prepare myself for each aspect of my day, perhaps invent a new and improved system that may make that part of the day flow better than ever. As a teacher, the one part of the day I could never quite conquer was the morning announcements.

Is it just me, or do most teachers, upon hearing these three little words, often turn to the intercom with a look on their face that screams, "Oh yeah? Well, pardon this!" and you can almost see them imagining themselves flipping off said interruption with a big old middle finger?

Or maybe that was just my reaction. My bad.

I have been to visit some schools where the morning announcements are not an assault on one's senses. (Yes, they exist!) I've seen pairs of children literally skip down to the office and grin ear to ear when the principal hands them the microphone. They dutifully make their way through the pledge and remind everyone about a bake sale, or book sale or some other after school wonder and then sign off with a jaunty yet original goodbye that you just know took them hours to come up with. When I'm in schools during these moments, I half expect Mr. Rogers to appear from around the corner and burst into song as all the other children file into the hallway to hold hands and sway in rhythm to the music. (And yes, I'm aware that Mr. Rogers is no longer with us, but if anything could channel him back from the beyond, it is moments like these.)

HOWEVER, I have also been to schools where the announcements are not just part of the morning routine. They are a constant presence. Kind of like that fly that keeps buzzing around your picnic, except imagine a really relentless and angry fly with just a hint of bitterness. These sorts of announcements usually pertain to a) hallway sweeps where presumably serial wanderers are "swept up" only to be disposed of? returned to where they belong? subjected to listen to a reel of announcements to learn their lesson? b) tickets to a dance c) the behavior yesterday when it snowed and everyone went batshit crazy d) hallway behavior e) cafeteria behavior f) auditorium behavior and, my personal favorite, e) angry reminders to turn in a stack of forms that could have nicely been handled in an email.

Does that disconnected voice located in a land far far away (aka The Office) not realize what a terrible tone these types of interruptions are to our day? Do they not have email accounts or a bulletin board or some other less public and more quiet vehicle for their rants?

7 comments:

ChiTown Girl said...

This seriously one of my BIGGEST pet peeves! Pick a time for announcements and stick to it, for Pete's sake!! I've worked at schools where the announcements were done in the morning, along with the pledge, etc., and I've worked at school where it was done during the last 10 minutes of the day. (Not as effective, since everyone was always getting ready to go home.) Unfortunately, the school I spent the most time at does announcements ALL FLIPPIN' DAY!! ARGH! It's SO annoying!

Ms. Amy said...

Hahaahaha. I just busted out laughing at your "it snowed yesterday and everyone went batshit crazy." SOOOO true.

At my last school we had a phone that would beep THREE TIMES very loud that meant your room was being paged. You had to stop what you were doing and answer it. Because you could have a semi-private conversation (the kids still hear your end), teachers and admin REALLY abused it. But, on the other hand, you could be really unpleasant in your tone of voice back too (not that I ever did that, no).

Today was the first day of school. We had morning announcements, and then my class was interrupted twice more (on the first day!) by messages from the office to students in my class about bus routes etc. Fortunately, I was pleasant. I guess some peeps weren't because we got a gentle lecture about how "parents are standing in the office and hear how annoyed/angry/psychotic we sound when interrupted."

Nancy said...

Oh my gosh! This post made me laugh. I have a principal that is great at not interrupting our teaching time. Her announcements are always short, to the point, and happen once a day. If there is more to say, she will simply announce that we should check out email. However, we had an assistant principal that saw afternoon announcements as open mike night at the local comedy club. He would drag out even the shortest message and try to make them funny. When my students are rolling their eyes, you know it is bad! The worst part was his announcements would come just as we would be wrapping up the math lesson or assigning homework. This year, we have no assistant principal and a new principal. We'll have to see how he rolls with announcements!

The Girl said...

I love it :P Our theatre teacher is the guy who does our announcements, and tho I love him dearly (he's my work husband, after all) I think he waits till I've just gotten my groove on and it is RIGHT THAT SECOND that he chooses to do the announcements. They're rarely at exactly the same time...sometimes earlier, sometimes later. But his timing NEVER fails.

Our building also got to open up the other half of it this year (we expanded a bit), and we found out that the PA system doesn't even WORK in the new half of the building...so this oughtta be fun. :P

The Girl said...

OH! And our office doesn't call down for kids to get their things to go home or to give them reminders...they let the PARENTS come to the room, which is a WHOLE NOTHER sort of annoying interruption in the middle of a lesson.

Rachel said...

I had to reply to the last comment. At one of my schools, I guess too many parents were just dropping in to class, so a very polite letter was sent home basically saying that parents making unscheduled visits would have to deal with him. It was awesome :) I very much disliked a lot about that district, but he was an awesome principal :)

Mrs. Blanton said...

I am in love with this post. I was at a training yesterday at another school in our district. I kid you not the announcements went on for 15 minutes. I couldn't believe it. Finally the trainer stopped and said now is probably a good time for a bathroom break. They did have a really cute sign off "Have a good day or not it's your choice."
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