For years, in referring to my irreplaceable and vital student assistants, I have used the politically incorrect terms slaves and servants. I know it kinda sounds a bit off, but what else do you call someone who has to do what you say and doesn’t get paid for the privilege? It’s always been a tongue-in-cheek thing, and the slaves aides themselves have been proud of the designation; there’s always a list of applicants a mile long.

My previous principal made it clear she didn’t like the term. (She didn’t like the stick either.) I shared her dislike with the kids, and they were good about keeping me honest when I slipped:

(to a kid who was absent for the test and took it at home from the website)
“Just put that over there on the slave’s desk, and she’ll take care of it for you.”

“You’re not supposed to call her your slave!”

“D’oh! Sorry… on my assistant’s desk, thank you very much.”

That principal has been gone for a couple of years now, and I have gone back to my old ways. The stick is back too.

But starting next year, there will be no more student slavery. By any name.

Our California legislature, in its infinite educational wisdom, passed a bill (AB-1012) that amends the Ed Code to read:

…a school district maintaining any of grades 9 to 12, inclusive, shall not assign a pupil enrolled in any of grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in a school in the school district to any course period without educational content for more than one week in any semester…
…For purposes of this section, “course period without educational content” is defined as one course period during which any of the following occurs:
 …The pupil is assigned to a service, instructional work experience, or to an otherwise named course in which the pupil is assigned to assist a certificated employee, but not expected to complete curricular assignments…
Woe is me. Even though the law specifies 9-12, our district, in its infinite collective management wisdom, has decided to make it apply to ALL secondary schools.
I have already come up with at least four work-arounds–I definitely have a “curriculum” for my aides–but district management isn’t interested in hearing about them.
My current Gal Monday-through-Friday–I should really have been calling them that all along since 21/25 (84% for the math-impaired) of them have been female–asked about it the other day.
“I heard that there can be no more student slaves next year… I mean assistants.”
“Yep. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do.”
“I’m the last slave! Wow.”

“I guess you are.”

Guess who has an even bigger problem with this new law.

OMG, the office staff is FLIPPING: No more office aides! No more Blue Slip delivery people. Nobody to go get Mr. Coward because he doesn’t answer his phone. Nobody to deliver messages or pe clothes. Nobody to file or answer the other phone line. They are already asking me what to do about it.
Baby, I have my own worries!