The rantings of a teacher who retired from the classroom but not from education.
Love Love Love it! Thank You for this wonderful post! This is something I dream of. A small pest being eaten alive!
Hi pissedoff,I felt compelled to write since so many times you have brought up credit recovery - I’m not sure if I have a real point other than to mention my experiences. I worked nearly 4 years at a middle school when I was told that even though I was #3 based on seniority in the English department I was at risk of an involuntary transfer for this current school year. I decided I wanted to decide my destiny before the district decided mine. I applied to 2 schools - another middle school and a high school. The high school happens to be a credit recovery school - those who have been kicked out of regular schools, dropped out and come back, are pregnant, or don’t fit into the typical high school mold. I was told from many teachers this was a dream position as it involved little work and was mainly packets. I was under tons of stress daily - admin, students, discipline, and lesson plans were all my life.My transfer happened in the last month and a half of the school year last year. I experienced how little was expected of the kids in the English department. The kids read a story, answered questions for 4 units, then wrote an essay. I was told that was all the kids were capable of from the other English teacher. I went in with all the preconceived notions you mentioned of credit recovery, and to this day am still grappling with it. The students I deal with have REAL struggles - pregnancies, being kicked out of their houses, homelessness, and more. The kids are no different than my middle schoolers I had before. The kids understand they are being given a second chance, and are grateful. My struggle is I am in a position to write credits for students that complete their “units” - the 4 story units and questions, plus essay I mentioned. How is this equivalent to a semester’s worth of work? It is not. Many high school students have run circles around these students in the amount of work completed. I tell the kids this and ask their opinions on it. Many say we have been here before and done the work, or not done, but we know we need to do well the second time around. I wonder whether we are helping the kids - we had 300 kids graduate this school last year. We have a waiting list miles long to get in. In my heart I feel the kids are capable of more and am trying to introduce accountability. With common core, this has seemed like the perfect time. I have introduced using the stories in the book, supplemental materials, questions, essays, discussions, and more. The kids truly appreciate the effort and time I put into my work. My biggest opposition and those fighting to bring me down are career credit recovery teachers who say the kids aren’t capable, that this typically hasn’t been done here, who say that because of our attendance rates I can’t do these things. I have sat in meeting after meeting with other teachers and admin defending myself. Each time the admin is on my side and want rigorous standards that prove even if the kid does not complete ____infininte number of assignments a normal high school student would do___, they want rigor. I was told that was why I was transferred to this school. I was told that I am the one to pilot and see how to introduce rigor, critical thinking, and can play around to see that the students are successful. Admin has given me carte blanche. I have to say I am eternally grateful to have this support, the freedom, and no stress compared to a regular classroom. I was told to continue to introduce rigor, but make each assignment equal 1/6 of a regular semester. 6 assignments will equate for a missed semester, but the assignments I am creating have multiple components, and critical thinking, and I hope I am doing these students justice. I feel my job is that I am here to teach and help these students become critical thinkers, better English students. I have already become an outcast because I have standards, because I fight for the kids, because I care.
Regardless, I still feel eaten up inside that I am writing credits for a semester's worth of work for students who only did 6 assignments.
Hahahaha! Thanks! If only.....
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