Saturday, February 05, 2011

F**k It

(I hope the owner of this car has no where to go until July.)

Hannah was one of last year's algebra students. Although she gave me a rough time in class, I know I was one of her favorite teachers.  She was one of the kids who came to picnic tutoring  and she managed to pass. 

This year Hannah seems more mellow.  When I saw her walking into her math class one day, I asked how she was doing.  She sadly said, "Not good."  I asked her when she was free and discovered her lunch coincided with mine and with the period I often work with some kids who are taking the same course.  I wanted to ask her to join us.  I knew I could persuade her but if I did and she passed, her teacher, Ms. Young One, will have one more good statistic which might make me look worse than I already look.  I thought and thought and then said. (to myself) FUCK IT! (Forgive the profanity here. I couldn't come up with a more appropriate word.)  I asked told Hannah she would be joining us and even got her schedule to so I will be able to track her down and remind her to show up.

It really doesn't matter how I look and I don't care what they want about my stats, that is the benefit of being old.  People are important, not numbers.  Let Ms. Young One get credit for getting Hannah through because, in the end, all that matters is that another child made it.

I began teaching in the 70's and camaraderie was strong among staff.  We all worked together for the general good, no one looked at individual teacher achievement.  People might say education is much better today, but it is not.  We are graduating more but they are learning less. If we all worked for the common goal, our schools would be doing better.  But, no one wants to hear this, so I am just going to end. here.


Sandra said...

I completely agree. You should have kept going, maybe some of the Ms. Young Ones would have heard you. I can't believe how little my children actually learn. Oh, sure, it looks like they are learning a bunch of fancy stuff, but I have four kids, and none of them know their times tables. Guess that's not important anymore? In what world is knowing how to multiply not important?
Terrific post!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure its really age that is looked at. I reached out to a bunch of second and third graders during my first year. They kept on coming back to my classroom because I had the 'fun class'. Apparently I was making an impact on these students and I kept on inviting them back. So I adopted them and made them my classroom assistants and helped me whenever I needed it. I gave them responsibilities and chores and they succeeded.
Unfortunately this situation, the new and young teacher's altruistic virtue went unnoticed by the administration. All everyone ever cares about is enrollment and scores because they both bring money, money and more money to the schools.

CrysHouse said...

There are some of us "young ones" who are interested in forming a camaraderie with those who have been in the field quite some time so we can be better at our craft. I'm one of them. Sometimes I'm just not sure how to go about making something better. Very often, I'll ask questions of other people who have been doing this longer than I have. Sometimes they answer. Sometimes they are too busy taking care of their own stuff to help me. And maybe it feel like "babysitting" when those of us new to the field have a bajillion questions.

I just ask because, as you pointed out, I don't want my students leaving my class learning less.

Your previous post also got me to thinking. I'm not a math teacher, but I do occasionally supplement my textbook with stories I think the students may find more enjoyable (but fall into the same genre). Take for example my Romanticism Unit. Rather than simply reading the stuff in the book, I created handouts with difficult stories like "Hop-Frog" and "Rappaccini's Daughter." Then, for the lower level readers, I created marginal questions for guided reading. Figured that would be more beneficial than their text. Although, I do rely on their text fairly often.

Pissed Off said...

Cryshoue--you sound like a really great teacher. Everyone has to supplement but there is a difference between supplementing and replacing.

As for helping the young teachers, the system is what has turned many of us against doing this. In my department the young are given the best programs and are revered. If my AP does not think I am good enough to teach a certain class, I don't feel I should help the person teaching it. The system has turned young against old.

BTW--I adore the young teacher in this post. It is how the results of regents will be compared that has me angry.

CrysHouse said...

I understand. I just get frustrated often because I feel like I'm fighting for the state of education as a whole and the state of education in my classroom...and I don't feel educated/prepared enough to do both. Sometimes I don't feel educated/prepared to do ONE.

In my instance, I would be the person compared because I have the highest failure rate in the English Department. Although, I also have the largest number of students who struggle with comprehension, emotional disorders, behavior problems and general responsibility issues (and IEPS!). So I don't really take that stuff personally. Can't pass a kid who ends up with 20 zeroes at the end of the semester.