Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another Memo

Most math teachers have raised their expectations, yet, a few still have very low expectations. We must all work together and use the same standards to help our students reach high. If you constantly ask your students to quiet down or follow rules, it is a sign that your expectations are way to low.

We are all trying to figure out what the above paragraph means. It was in a note from my supervisor, one of his many notes intending to micro manage everything we do. In the same memo he mentioned a teacher who was doing the unforgivable "chalk and talk." That teacher actually demonstrated the way to solve a problem. Maybe it is a good thing that he micro manages. We can't have teachers going around and teaching. The memo also contained the expression "check your students TEMP". If I use a rectal thermometer I will end up in the rubber room. Maybe he will supply us with some of those new ear models. There was one teacher whose lesson did not match the aim. This is totally irresponsible. How dare this teacher deviate from a plan? What right did this teacher have to try to adjust her lesson to her students immediate needs? Thankfully only one teacher did this and it was only in one lesson.

Please do not ask your students to "stop talking" or "even sit down" when they approach you to ask a question. Please try to find out what they want and help them!"

I don't know too many teachers that will not help a student. Kids have a way of asking questions at inopportune times. If we allowed them to interrupt class all the time he would tell us to raise our expectations. With him, it is impossible to win. When a teacher, student or child goes to him for help, we are usually met with the response "I am not your maid. I will not drop everything to wait on you." What is good for the goose is not good for the gander in this case.

Teaching is hard. Administrators like this make it harder all the time. This week I tried to raise my expectations for one of my students. I went to my AP to try to get her permission to double up and take Math B and pre-calculus together. She had done extremely well when she was in my class and in a friend's class in the past. (My friend and I have over 50 years teaching experience together.) He looked at her record and told me that she could not double up. Although she had received grades in the high 90's from both of us, two other teachers gave her grades in the 75 - 80 range. (The other teachers have a combined experience of 5 years.) I really don't want to stop teaching but it is getting so hard to deal with these injustices all the time. My protests fall on deaf ears. I'm labeled a whiner and a complainer (and a rambler, since I know I am rambling on in this post.) Now I am too easy. I feel the fight leaving me. I know how a wild horse must feel when it is finally broken.


Anonymous said...

Please dont ever stop fighting, PO'd. If it weren't for teachers like you, I would be confused as hell with all of the college calculus we're doing. We were learning u substitution in integration today in calculus and if I hadn't had a teacher like you who pushed and pushed until we completely understood the topic, I would have been in trouble by the end of the lecture. I still remember all of the tricks and shortcuts you taught us, and in a subject like calculus, that method of teaching is crucial. You're a fighter, and you always have been. Dont give up on the kids, because teachers like you are all they've got to hang on to when in a public high school system like this.

--Pink Floyd

Jose said...

yo, Pink Floyd is completely on point. That's great. Maybe he knows something I don't, but as I keep saying and you keep telling me, keep doing what you do. We youngin's need someone to look up to ;-) ...

windhover said...

So many of these supervisors are stupid and incompetent--that's why the DOE wants them in charge!!! Half of them can't write a grammatically correct memo! The only way to deal with their nonsense is to document everything they say to you and keep every memo they handout--then if the s@#$t hits the fan, you have something to use against them.

Pissed Off said...

It is so sad that we need to do that. Too bad we can't concentrate on the real business--teaching.

X said...

What a bizarre memo! I've reached the point where I'm trying to develop a filter that just tunes out all communication from our admin.