Thursday, September 15, 2011

Challenge Accepted

I haven't posted for a while. For those of you who felt this was a refreshing change for the better, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I am back. I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the beginning of a new school year, and I'm sure many of you feel the same. Each year--even the good ones--brings its fair share of challenges. This year there are more than usual for many of us.

I love my school and my students, so I hope this post doesn't come off as petulant rant. Nevertheless, there are many items that all teachers will have to deal with this year, along with the personal ones we are each presented with in our classrooms. For example, Teacher's Choice is gone. I hated that program, because I have always felt insulted that teachers had to buy their own supplies. The lowest office worker at Bloomberg, Inc. is surely given the necessary paper clips and sticky notes, so I had a hard time accepting that teacher's should be forced to go buy their own with the pittance allotted by the city. Now even that pittance is gone.

We also must now deal with Common Core, and untested framework that seems to me to be, to put it in educational terms, stupid. It has uprooted my school's curriculum, which has worked very well thank you, and turned it on its head. No one really knows what to teach or how to teach it, and that one day of PD was mostly spent telling teachers that we'd be accountable for the CC without really telling us what it is. For example, in English, we no longer teach units, because that makes far too much sense. We must now teach to themes, or overarching ideas, or culminating questions, or something like that. No one really knows. All we know is that we have to do it or else.

Speaking of untested frameworks, we also have the infamous Danielson Framework for teacher evaluation, which sounds like a torture device from the Spanish Inquisition. Of course, it's nothing of the sort. Devices from the Inquisition tended to kill you rather quickly, whereas Danielson makes you linger for two years before you can be fired.

On top of all this, we have the ATR fiasco, no contract and no raise for over two years with no end in sight, the constant threat of layoffs, TDR scores that don't reflect reality, bedbugs, PCBs, and dirty oil heating our classrooms.

Personally, I have much larger classes (at least 6 more per class than usual), a bunch of kids who don't speak English, and one boy who may be allergic to me because the last three times he has been in my class he's projectile vomited all over my floor.

The city is basically asking us to teach kids with no supplies, no money, no respect, larger classes, new curriculum, new evaluations, lack of training, and overcrowding.

Well, we're New York City teachers, dammit.

Challenge Accepted.


Pissedoffteacher said...

I missed you. Glad you are back to posting. Have a good year and bring in a supply of barf bags. Those extra Waldbaum's ones should work well.

Anonymous said...

Funny because the things you bought were always available in my school, so I suppose I was lucky. So that money went into supplies for decorating the room, educational games and books, books and baskets for my library and ink for my home computer since I did a lot of work on it at home including making bulletin board signs using color and images.

But you are absolutely right. Supplies should be a given!! Hope you have a great year.

Miss RIm said...

I hear you.
I'll be writing a blog post soon about the effects some of these things have in a D75 school.
missed you!

Anonymous said...

My school has never provided me with even a single paperclip. I REFUSE to buy anything this year.

I too have a giant class, kids who don't speak English, and one of my kids barfed up foam. Her mother left the school with no emergency number & the nurse refused to keep her in the medical office. She was sent back to me to care for.


Glad you're back.