Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter of Discontent

Phew, a few days into the holidays, and I think I've finally caught up on sleep. It's lovely to nap when you want and to sleep past 5am. My mind keeps returning to how down and sour and stressed out I've been for this past semester. Most of it comes from policies "from up above" that are not sitting well with me.

For example, we have a huge tardy issue at school. They've tried various things with no great success, and "they" have to get the numbers lower. What do they do now? Let's ring the 6 minute warning bell as usual, but then let's start school and ring the "late" bell 1 to 1.5 minutes AFTER it should ring. Voila! Number of tardies has magically decreased (for now). And in response to teachers' indignation and concern about this bad precedent? "Teachers should trust the administration".

Another example, not-too-newish teacher is at her wits end with disruptive students and goes to administration for some extra suggestions on what to do. Response? Let's put the teacher on a "growth plan", which I think is akin to warning the teacher about possible teacher consequences, ultimately.

Another (biggest) example, let's make all the math teachers implement a disruptive TAKS remediation/pre-emptive teach-to-the-test strategy where students practice the 1st part of class and the last part of class and get taught the regular class material in between. Let's not test this process out for bugs or to see if the timing is appropriate. Let's not be open to any suggestions.

Arghhhh. In the past I've strongly believed in the public school system since it seemed most democratic (sorry I know that sounds judgmental about private and charter schools). But lately I can see the draw to teach at non public schools. I'm wondering if policies are implemented more sanely there and administration and teachers are not as badgered by the NCLB mandates.

Anyway, bla bla bla. Grumperina must go out now and spread her cheer on the human race during this last-minute-shopping time of year.


  1. Anonymous4:50 PM

    Ugh - I sooo resent that "papa knows best" admin vibe. Grrr. We're professionals, dammit - listen to us!

  2. I have to agree with anoymous. Incompetence is very difficult to work with, much less take direction from!

    I completely understand why you are stressed. It would be nice to just close the door and teach.

    Hmmm. . . . is that a possibility?

  3. Anonymous7:53 AM

    I guess I could close the door and do what I know is good teaching. But the principle of the thing (about what's going on) bugs the $&*@ out of me. I stress about the poor new math teachers this year who walk around in a daze because they think they have to do everything that's told to them (good or bad). I also stress because they're given SUCH BAD "support" on becoming good teachers. I also stress because we're asked to do TOO much and not given enough time to effectively plan out the thinking that would make our classes great. ... Still mulling over what to do. Thanks for both of your kind comments.

    Ms. Cookie

  4. Your tardy issues make me smile and think about my "Welcome Back Kotter" 2nd period class this semester. Small Group Algebra 1 part 2. You wouldn't think it was humanly possible for a 5-student class to rack up over 100 combined DOCUMENTED AND WRITTEN UP tardies in a semester, would you? "There is NOTHING you can do that will make me come to class on time, Mrs. S." Really, I finally gave up at the end of October and started class whenever they got there. I thought of it as a celebration of their decision to come at all. :)

  5. I just want to share my puzzle website with you, http://www.webkendoku.com. It is a place where you can play online KenKen games.

    Also, other math teachers have found it useful with their students.

    Thank you for your time and I hope this was not too much of an intrusion.

  6. Anonymous10:41 AM

    Great! Thanks for sharing the KenKen site. I'll link it on my teacher website.

    Ms. Cookie