Sunday, March 04, 2007
Reputations. Once you get one, it is hard to live them down. I know. For years, my school looked down on my math skills and my ability to teach higher level classes? Why, you ask? Well, because I came into the school to teach special education students math. I like teaching the lower end kids. It feels good when they succeed, when you finally break through that thick barrier that has prevented them from succeeding in the past. But, as things would have it, the special education AP did not like me and I got sent to the math department to teach. After all, I do have a math license. For years I taught the bottom of the mainstream. I worked hard and eventually moved up the ladder to teach the AP Calculus class. So now I have a reputation as being a great teacher. It still doesn't seem to matter what I do because now I am good and nothing I do seems to ruin my reputation as a teacher either. My AP came in to do his little snapshot observation last week. My class was its normal crazy self. When I told a kid to take off his hat (which I never do) he even said, "what are you getting so bent out of shape for? You always let us wear hats.") I had to get in his face and scream like a crazy person to get him to take it off. Of course the other kids knew about it and were laughing. I had two kids sleeping while he was there and another reading a magazine.
I went to talk to him about the lesson on Friday. He said, "Everything is fine. You are doing great with these kids. Keep up the good work." This was especially interesting because his latest memo chastised teachers who had the same kind of things going on in their classes.
Sometimes I feel like a fraud in the classroom but, since it took me over ten years to build up the good reputation I figure it will take me that many years to lose it and I know I will be long gone by then. I don't want to lose my good reputation but I would like to see all teachers treated equitably. MY AP should have the same standards for all of us.