Monday, March 26, 2007

Helping Kids

I happen to share a lunch period with the resource room teacher of one of my students. This student did well last term, but this term she has been excessively absent and only got a 36 on the last test. I apprised the resource room teacher of this today. Her answer surprised me "What do you expect me to do? I am not her mother." To this I answered "I thought you wanted to know. You are always sending me progress reports." She then said "I would prefer you to fill out the reports I send."

I told her that I have 5 classes with 34 students each and do not have the time or the energy to fill out her reports. A two minute verbal report could benefit the child just as well, if not more, as far as I am concerned. I guess she didn't agree. Maybe she wanted the papers to file away so she could look like she was really trying to help. (I do think she cares about the kids, too). I want to help the kids. I don't care about how good she looks.


Shefi said...

From a Japanese cultural point of view, this is weird. Altho many of my colleagues use email, they more or less refuse to use email with each other, preferring f2f. From my Western point of view, meetings could be made much more efficient if, for instance, agendas were mailed out ahead of time (well, they are, but is "#1: budget. #2 Student orientation. #3 Class changes" a meaningful agenda?), but my colleagues don't see it that way. They see f2f as a vastly more efficient and valuable means of communication: written communication they see as highly mechanical and cold. For Japanese businessmen, after-hours drinking with colleagues and connections is absolutely vital: you will never learn what you need to know otherwise, even if you read all the reports.

From that point of view, I'd say the 5-minute lunchtime chat with colleagues is worth more than a 10-page report.

Pissedoffteacher said...

If I had computer access at work, an e-mail might work. Unfortunately, my department has one computer for 30 teachers. It is located in a very busy, noisy area, not conducive to doing anything.

Such are the advantages of a NYC high school.