Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Other Teacher's Stories

My sister T is a middle school teacher out West. I am certain that in the future I will be telling many a story that she shares with me regarding teaching. First off, I thank Whomever that I work at a school with an excellent administration - they are extremely supportive of teachers, and quite competent. (Note that I work in a private school - the administration does NOT have to deal with a Board of Ed, Governmentally mandated anything, etc......which presumably makes their job easier.) But still....

Anywho...at T's school, the administration is decidedly incompetent. On the first day of school this year (T's first year there), there were no faculty procedures in place for things such as lunch duty, recess, getting on and off the busses, a detention or discipline policy....when asked about these things, the principal stated that everyone should just "pitch in". WHAT??!!! T at one point was the only teacher supervising about 120 students outside during recess. During said recess, a group of boys were playing tackle football on a grassy area surrounded on three sides by concrete walls. T told them to stop, whereupon the students informed her that the principal said it was okay "until someone got hurt." WHAT??!! (Happily, the school nurse vetoed that call as "unsafe". You think?)

T has a friend who is also currently a teacher. T's friend is working at a school that is attempting to move away from the use of textbooks, to the point where the friend's students do not have a textbook. I am certainly not against limited use of textbooks (I am attempting to move inthat direction myself.) It does however make it more difficult and time consuming to prepare lessons, especially for a first year teacher, which T's friend is. What bothered me, and what I would take issue with, is the fact that T's friend received a reprimand for using an example from a textbook. A learning example is not inherently bad simply because it appears in a textbook. One of the main reasons schools and or teachers move away from the use of textbooks is the lack of flexibility in content, in style, in examples. By reprimanding a teacher simply for using a good example from a textbook, the administration is exhibiting the same lack of flexibilty they presumably want their teachers to move away from.


Blogging in general this week

On a different note .....I am on vacation this week. We get over two weeks off this year, and I could not wait!!! I was worse than the kids so far as lack of focus. Next year, when doing my lesson planning, I am definitely going to take into account the lack of energy on my part and the lack of focus on the kids' parts during the 2-3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Next year I would like to do more long-term problems (similar to the Problems of the Week we are doing in the Baker's Choice unit) and I think during the last week I will designate that time for problem presentations by the kids.

T (who is home for Christmas) needs to get on the computer so I gotta go....I'll try and get more blogging done ionbreak, but we'll see.


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