Saturday, November 26, 2011

From a Teacher

A reader had asked Charlie about his plan to close the achievement gap.  He had replied that he has made suggestions in the past but that is the Superintendent's and Board's jobs to find a plan.  So far what we are doing is not working in any visible way.  I believe that the newly-constituted Board may have some new ideas.

But this teacher also had some other thoughts and I applaud him/her for it because (1) in Finland, they have much more planning and collaboration time among teachers to great results, (2) I have been saying for a long time that no one experiences the kind of constant change at work that teachers do - it must be terribly frustrating and (3) more testing means teachers have less flexibility even as they may know students who may be rushed through curriculum.

Maybe more planning time for teachers instead of the PLC, collaboration, team, staff and God knows what other meetings that we are required to attend.

How about sustaining a curriculum beyond four or five years so that teachers can actually get to the point of teaching them well?

Reduce central admin and get more money out there to the schools. Increases to 116 central admin employees at a time you're cutting teachers' salaries? What's that all about.

Reduce the curriculum at elementary so we can do less better. I rush my kids to get it in.

I'm sorry. I probably don't say it well. We go round and round and really the evidence is there. We know what's wrong. We may not always know how to fix it. But we sure are trying in each and every classroom. There is not a teacher out there - superior or mediocre - who looks at eighteen to thirty kids every day and doesn't want them to succeed.

8 comments:

dan dempsey said...

He had replied that he has made suggestions in the past but that is the Superintendent's and Board's jobs to find a plan.

Hasn't Susan Enfield already found a plan?

The Superintendent claimed that a careful review of all options for closing achievement gaps had taken place prior to her request for conditional certificates for TFA corps members from OSPI.

So someone needs to ask her what she found out.

She must think this actually happened .... because she is tossing money to Olympia Lawyers to defend the district ... based on a claim that this review actually took place.

Patrick said...

What's PLC? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Patrick--PLC is not TLC. It is eduspeak for when school staffs study research in teams and it stands for "Professional Learning Community." I am sorry I have to know this jargon and pass it on to you. The first time I heard the term, I was tempted to quit my teaching job immediately and go work at Wendy's.

Dan--Don't expect a task force on dealing with the Achievement Gap as long as Enfield and the TFA lawsuit are active. Your outing of Enfield's fraudulant attempt to bypass state law not mixing with her attempt to now claim that the district needs to find options for dealing with the achievement gap likely led to an immediate squealching of anything Achievement Gap by the Olympia Lawyers (if they are at all earning the taxpayers' $$$). In other words, the district will continue to do nothing to help its most vulnerable students. Thanks, Susan.

--Dan Dempsey Rocks

Anonymous said...

PLC is an opportunity to spend more time documenting all your 'best' practices to play CYA than you spend time working with your co-workers.

If there aren't detailed PLC minutes, then you weren't working together!

BestPractices

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing! At our school, the forms became so interchangeable we had to color code them to appropriately file them for accountability purposes.

Team mmetings on yellow with details of what was discussed and by whom. PLC meetings on goldenrod with details of what was discussed/accomplished/learned and by whom. Collaboration meetings on green detailing what was discussed and by whom.

At least we don't have to fill out "accountability' forms for staff meetings, BLT(building leadership team) meetings, SIT(student intervention team) meetings, or parent conferences. Interventionists fill out the intervention forms.

Did I miss a meeting today?

Smiling. I still love my job.

Sort of.
Northender

JC said...

I wish they would just leave me alone - let me close the door - be with my kids - let me teach them - I am the teacher, right? - Can't I just be left to do my job? - I am a professional, I work hard, and I know what is best - I should be trusted - Let me just do my work - I don't need to collaborate, I don't need to meet, I don't need to sit and meet with some talking head with a tie and talk about best practices or student achievement and all that other blah blah blah - let me close my door - don't worry, they will be alright when I am done - why can't you just trust me, the professional?
JC

CT said...

There's a difference between self-directed collaboration and administrator-pressured collaboration. With the former, which is often done spontaneously, on weekends, or on the few work days that are teacher-directed - much is accomplished, we feel motivated and excited about new learning and new opportunities for teaching and learning. With the latter, we aren't allowed to admit that our agenda has been preset for us, that we spend more time writing down what each other says than actually listening to each other, and that test scores/student achievement/interventions/data are key words that must be present in nearly every sentence so that we don't get called in for not using our PLC time effectively and appropriately. We jump through the required hoops in the hopes we can get to the things that will make our lives as classroom teachers move just a little bit smoother, or allow for the planning of a brief activity to pique student interest and generate some different discussion even though it may not be precisely listed as a state standard.

Top School Graduate said...

Thanks for the info about PLC...
Top School Graduate

http://www.topgraduateschool.org/