Thursday, November 30, 2006
CAN WE USE C-6 PERIODS TO CONTACT PARENTS? I AM NOT GOING TO WORK DURING LUNCH AND PREP PERIOD IS PREPARATION FOR MY CLASSES.
SORRY TO BE DIFFICULT. JUST REMINDING YOU OF A PROBLEM.
And his response was the following:
You might wish to contact RG for an answer.
I would like to share with you that some of us call from home because some parents are not available during the day while others call during their prof. lunch, before or after school. No one should call during their C-6 assignment. Furthermore, teachers who teach the double period classes will not be asked to write recommendations while teachers of upper level or honor classes will. Should teachers of lower level class be asked to do more because they don't have to write recommendations? Absolutely not. One can always ask for double period classes so that she does not have to write recommendations. You can do it as well.
You don't even have to contact parents if all your students are doing what they are supposed to do. But if they don't, what choices do we have? Sometimes, calling parents don't even help. But we all have to try.
Have a good evening.
My response to him will be something like the following:
1. Contractually I am entitled to a preparation period and a duty free lunch.
2. My work day is already extended to 6 hours and 40 minutes. You have no right to ask me to extend it any longer or to work from home.
3. I happen to have taught double period classes as well as honor and AP classes. No matter what I teach, I write the recommendations.
4. You are in effect asking teachers who have honor and AP classes to do more than teachers who just teach double period classes. We all have the same c-6 assignments. We are the ones being asked to do more.
5. Most of the teachers teaching the double period class are not capable of teaching the advanced classes, They are teaching them because that is best for them, not best for the school.
Enjoy your day too.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I don't know what is wrong with some of these kids. They knew the consequences and kept going anyways! Five minutes later, a girl took her blackberry out. She wasn't smart enough to keep it away but when I bellowed at her, she put it away quickly. It's only the beginning of December. I don't know how I will make it to the end like this?
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
My first AP was I woman I will call RSquared. She is one of the meanest people I have ever met. Custodians put dead birds in her letter box and someone took chains and smashed the side of her car while it was parked in the lot. Everyone, even the nicest people, people who never said a bad word about anyone, felt she deserved this treatment. She was abusive to teachers she did not like, so abusive in fact, that the principal would go to other teachers in the math department, to get a feeling for the teacher in question, before he took any actions agreeing with her. She had teachers make up long question sheets, which she claimed were going to be used for coverage if anyone was absent. In reality, she printed these questions and sold the books. No one got author or monetary credit. I got along with her until I told her I was taking a child care leave when my daughter was born. She then gave me 5 classes in 5 different rooms, making sure I had to pass through the student cafeteria to get from room to room. When I grieved, she claimed she had nothing to do with rooms, The programmer showed me a schedule that had me in one room until RSquared changed it.
Now, comes the principal that worked with her. I thought he was a good guy until I needed him to sign my release papers to come to the school I am now in. He refused due to a power struggle he was having with her. Even though he knew his school was too far from my home, and I could no longer travel there (having two babies at home) he refused to help me out.
The next administrator I came in contact with was in the special education department. I liked teaching kids with limited abilities. I really thought I could make some difference in their lives. He didn't agree. He constantly harrassed me for things he let other teachers do. His final act towards me was letting me go to teach in the math department (my license) but not before he bad mouthed me so much that they really did not want me either but had no choice since I had tenure and building seniority.
Next comes BSquared, the math AP who had no choice but to take me. He was only a temporary chairman, but he was on a power trip. He gave me five of the worst classes in the building. When he realized that he was not going to be doing the job a second term, he gave himself (as AP) one of the worst classes. He figured the new person coming in would get stuck (which she was). If for some reason, she didn't come and he got to keep the job, he planned on changing programs. OK was the woman who took his place. Her philosophy was to give herself and her friends all the best classes. She dressed quite provocatively and the kids called her a hooker. Her make-up was always smeared and her slip was always showing. She used tears to get her own way when people disagreed with her. Her husband was always around. He used to sit at department meetings and give dirty looks to anyone who was not paying attention to her.
OK went on to greener pastures and we now have a chairman who I am embarrassed to admit I get along great with. This doesn't mean I don't see what he does to other teachers. We had two teaching fellows in the department a few years ago. They were really bad teachers. He didn't have to keep them. But he didn't have to be abusive either. He constantly yelled at them and belittled them in front of students. He is carrying on this behavior now. He deliberately gave one teacher a super late schedule, even though he knows she prefers to be on early. He begins every meeting threatening U-ratings and insulting certain teachers daily. Everyone knows who his little nasty memos are addressed to, even though no one is mentioned by name. One guy in my department has a mentor from the UFT. Because of this, our chairman is not allowed to go near him until Dec 1. The poor guy is living in fear and dreading this day. He is terrified of being alone with the chair. I don't care if this guy is bad (which I don't think he is). No one deserves to be treated like this.
Principal Suit has filled up many of these entries on his own, so there is no need to discuss him here.
Hopefully, before I retire, I will meet good administrator.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Too bad her maturity ends here. She just had a huge fight with her 24 year old brother (also doing well, a computer engineer almost finished with his master's degree). They went at it the same way they did when they were four and five years old. She told him to get out of her house and he packed and was ready to leave when he realized he forgot his phone. I managed to block the door when he went to retrieve it and stood there where they screamed and yelled at each other and eventually made up. My two brilliant children made up by biting each other.
Kids--got to love them.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
And the UFT suit that came to my school kept insisting that we have some of the best health coverage in the country.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
After the five-minute visitation we went back to the office where we were supposed to discuss what we saw. The only one doing any discussing was my AP. He kept insisting that all kids can learn. If we expect them to do the correct thing they will do it. Any problems in the class are our faults. If kids are failing, we need to figure out how to get them to pass. He didn't want any excuses for disrespectful kids and for failures. I personally don't care what he says about me. I told him I had problems yesterday, when a kid decided he was going to leave early. My AP knows better than to mess with me, so he told me I handled it perfectly. I know he would not have made the same comment to other teachers.
This meeting offered the teachers with difficult classes no answers on how to handle the problems. The only purpose of this meeting was to make people feel inferior. One of my colleagues, a great teacher who has been teaching 25 years, looked like she was about to cry because she has one of those classes that is impossible, no matter what she does.
I know my AP is responsible for the department. He wants good results to make sure he keeps getting those big performance bonuses at the end of the year. He's not going to get them by constantly putting the teachers who work in his department down.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Principal Suit told us that if kids are not passing, we must find a way to help them. We should change whatever we are doing and get these kids to succeed. I can help this kid with math, but I can't cure the cancer in his family and I can't support them. I feel so bad for the kid, but there really is not a lot I can do to ease his home situation. I thought about referring him to guidance, but, what can they do besides talk to him?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Mr. Blue: Do you think your class his appropriate for him? What would you like me to do? He passed the two classes before this one. This is where he belongs.
Teacher: I am not coming to you because he is failing. Unfortunately, he is not the only one failing in the class. I am coming to you because his behavior is bizarre. He walks around the room. He tells me I am getting on his nerves. He tells me to get out of his face whenever I try to talk to him. He is late every day. I have not been able to get in touch with his parents. I would like you to look into the problem.
Mr. Blue: Other teachers have not complained.
Teacher: I have been experiencing this problem with him for quite a while. The way my day is programmed I have not had time to stop by. Please contact his teachers and see how he is doing.
Mr. Blue: My door is always open. Please stop by when you have time.
The conversation continues with Principal Suit.
Teacher: Excuse me, Principal Suit, I have a problem. I don't know what you can do about it, but I would like you to take this problem under consideration. Teachers need time during the day to dixcuss kids with counselors. With professional assignments and 5 classes there is no time for this.
Principal Suit: You have a lunch period. Use that!
Teacher: Principal Suit, I am entitled to lunch, just like you are.
Principal Suit: (getting irritated) Well, then use your professional period. Make sure to report there first so people will know where you are. And if you stop in the rest room, make sure you let someone know what you did in there.
Teacher: Principal Suit, I carry three bags plus my coat and my professional assignment is on the complete opposite side of the building. Even if I go there first, there is no where for me to leave my things so I must carry them with me. It is just too much.
Principal Suit: Oh go do what you want. I can't be bothered with this nonsense.
Let's see what tomorrow holds!
The school aid in charge of the telephone doesn't answer the phone--she doesn't want to deal with any incoming problems. This woman got a life time achievement award last month. The secretary who works for the AP of administration checks the caller ID and only answers the phone if she likes the person calling. The secretary in charge of student records will only print address labels for the teachers of the classes her son is in.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
"This is a comment I hear more and more everyday from teachers who have some of the really low functioning kids in their classes. They don't want to pass them because they don't want them to go on to medical school??? Just how ridiculous is a statement like this??? Passing the Math A regents or any regents for that matter is not a sign of intellectual ability. It just shows that the kid has mastered what the state deems to be the minimum requirements for a high school diploma.
Many, many years ago, the state felt that too many kids were graduating without really knowing anything, so they instituted the RCT's to show competence in basic areas. When the kids couldn't pass these, they lowered the passing grades and let everyone through. The state then decided that these RCT's weren't good enough so they decided to make everyone pass a regents. When the kids started failing these, they again lowered the standards. So, a kid today getting a regents diploma might be no better off than a kid who graduated 30 years ago without this diploma.
Back to the subject--the kids we are passing today with just the barest knowledge of high school subjects are not the ones that will go on to medical schools. They are not going to be the ones competing for admission to Harvard and Yale. They are the kids that need that little piece of paper so that they can get the job sweeping floors at UPS or managing a fast food restaurant. As far as I am concerned, my standards can be as low as the states standards. I try to teach to the top. I drive the kids crazy all semester with high expectations. But, if they give an effort, I will pass all that pass the regents, no matter how little they actually know.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
This girl knows she has reached her academic ceiling and although she would like to get an Associates Degree, she realizes she cannot do it. The work is too hard. SHE IS NOT STUPID. It takes a bright person to see their limitations and work within them. Along with my class, she was taking a history class and a Spanish class. Unfortunately, she was not doing well in either and was forced to drop them. But, SHE IS NOT STUPID!!!! She paid for the courses, bought the books and continues to attend class. She does all the work and sits for the exams. She is determined to learn as much as possible.
Now, we just need to make the Board of Regents as smart as this girl. Make them see academic ceilings. Force them to help our students succeed on a level that is good for them.
An occupation that requires training and specialized study
Definiton of professional:
1 a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b : engaged in one of the learned professions c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
I got to thinking about my C-6 "Professional" period and decided to look up the word. I then began to think about what I am required to do during my "professional" period and I realized that calling what I and my colleagues do during a professional period is an oxymoron.
To begin with, some of my colleagues have hall patrol. Now I don't know what colleges they went to, but I am sure that none of them took a course dealing with this while they were in college. On the same note, a few sit by the front door and issue late passes to students. Highly unprofessional activities.
Now, my professional period is slightly more professional. I tutor in the library. I really don't mind tutoring. It's something that I have been doing since I started teaching 30 years ago. (a professional activity). What is unprofessional is the notion that I must be assigned to do it. It doesn't matter if my students are free periods 6 or 7--I must be there period 5. Another unprofessional aspect of tutoring is the poor spot we are forced to tutor in. I would be better off tutoring on the subway (not rush hour, of course) than in our library. The library is noisy, overcrowded and kids use it as a hangout. The librarian is glued to her chair in the front of the room and never looks up from the magazine she is reading. Still more unprofessional is that I need to be told what to do with my professional time. I have no time during the day to call a parent, confer with a student or to talk to colleagues about common preps. Professional activities that need to get done.
The next contract should change the term "professional period" to "let's degrade our teachers some more period". That way, at least we would know what we are in for when the contract passes.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
An eminent mathematics professor writes:
I have just discovered a market that exists for a new business. A student had his “private tutor” regrade the final exam and is “demanding” the new grade.
If I start a business to meet this need, here’s how its first advertisement will read:
“Not doing well in math? Our staff has year of teaching experience. Just bring in your final and old exams and we will re-grade them for you and find you all the points you need to raise your grade. We have yet to see the F that couldn’t be changed to a C.”
Posted Friday, November 10th, 2006 at 12:01 am under Letters from readers, Arts and science.
Thanks to MW for sending me this article
I am not naive enough to think that the Title I remedial program was the answer to all the problems that plague education today, but it was a start. At least kids were not cutting or acting out becauae the work was too hard. Some of the kids I teach today are no brighter than the kids I taught then. We are still graduating kids that do not have basic academic skills. It doesn't matter how many regents their record shows they have passed. I wish these kids could get the same kind of help that was given out 30 years ago.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Moral of the story: Principal Suit must learn to concentrate on issues important to education.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
8:45 - 10:30 We sat with out departments and learned how to write a lesson. It's amazing, I've been teaching over 30 years and now I know that I have been asking anticipatory questions and my lessons have congruency. I couldn't respond to my AP's question when he asked us to define congruency because I've never heard the term used in regards to lesson planning. I'm just too old, I guess.
10:45 - 11:45 We sat in the auditorium and listened to Principal Suit praising himself about how great our school did in the ratings. He is sharing his $20,000 bonus with us by giving us all tee shirts. And we only had to wait on a 20 minute line to pick them up. I hope he hasn't noticed that mine is still in the box it came in.
11:45 -12:00 We had a union meeting. Instead of discussing issues pertinent to us in school, our chapter chairman told us who to vote for. He also told us what a great contract we are getting (he is Unity all the way) and we couldn't possibly hope for anything better. I'm sure he wasn't happy when someone grabbed the mike and told everyone exactly how little this new contract was going to give us.
12:00 - 1:00 The best part of the day -- LUNCH with two of my good friends. We tried to go to a bagel store away from school, to be alone. Unfortunately, lots of others had the same idea. Oh well, at least we got there first and had a good table.
1:00 - 1:45 Anger Management Session. This consisted of the AP in charge of security standing in front of the room telling us what a great job he is doing. No one is controlling my anger and boy am I angry by now!
2:00 - 2:30 Back to our departments. Once again being treated by our AP as if we do not know how to teach.
Monday, November 06, 2006
I used to be asked to do things for staff development. The problem the administration had with me was that I wanted to be paid for my time preparing for the staff development. I really didn't think this was too much to ask. At one time, they paid some outside consultant a fortune to come in and teach us about discipline. (This consultant had not been in a classroom for over ten years.) My requests were always met with "Sorry, we have no funds available." So I answered, "Sorry, I think I will pass." I feel bad about not passing along some of my knowledge to the newbies but not bad enough to do anything about it. I guess I will just bring a bunch of papers to mark, a magazine to read and hope the day passes quickly.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
I would label a learning disabled child as a child who has the capacity to learn, one who might need some modifications, but one that is intelligent enough to master the material. I don't think that is what is being done now. Kids that don't achieve are being tested and labeled. They are put in special education classes. The big drawback is that these kids are expected to master the same material as anyone else. The only difference is that the classes they are in are smaller. The work can't go any slower because they are expected to pass the same regent exams in the same amount of semesters as anyone else. Instead of using the label learning disabled, we need to figure out a way of helping these kids. Helping them is not forcing them to take courses that they cannot master.