My recuperating colleague missed an exciting staff development day. The day began with coffee and munchkins. Someone really broke the bank feeding us teachers. I hope Klein and Bloomberg don't read this blog to learn about the frivolous expense. After the satisfying breakfast, we all went to the auditorium to hear the state of the school address. I know my colleague would have been beaming as he heard all the things the school was accomplishing. Our school got rave reviews from both the British Quality Review and the Korean teachers who visited. (My class was one of those visited by the Koreans, but I never got any feedback.) As the teachers in the auditorium loudly applauded our accomplishments, I could only think that recuperating colleague would soon be back to join the cheering crowd.
After the state of the school address, Ms. Suck Up took the mike and led a discussion about things she learned from the data as we looked at "What's Up in Ms. Suck Up's Class?". We then adjourned to the student cafeteria to continue this discussion in groups. Although we were supposed to be randomly assigned to tables, I ended up at a table full of my department (I was the only one in the right place and I was there first so, for the record, this time I did nothing wrong.) We were not exactly the most cooperative and only scribbled down some stuff at the last minute. Principal Suit made the error of calling on us to read our responses. You would think he would have learned by now that it is better for him if I don't speak at these things. My responses to how we can help our students were: smaller classes, relief from C-6 assignments to actually talk to students and computer access. Of course he said that all of these things are already possible, but we all know they are not.
When this excitement ended, we had about 30 minutes free time. If Bloomberg had his way, we would have been mopping floors or cleaning bathrooms during this time. Then, the UFT had its wonderful, award winning luncheon. We only had to wait on a 20 minute line so the Chapter Chairman could make sure everyone eating had paid their $12 dues. (Everyone knows how teachers try to get away with things.) We were handed a plate, a fork and knife and got to walk down the assembly line of bagels, rolls, salads, cheese and cold cuts. At the end of the table there was a sight that would rival any Viennese table--Entennman's cakes, cut into small pieces, soda and coffee. We ate lunch on the comfortable benches and tables in the student's cafeteria. While we were eating, we were treated to union propaganda, courtesy of the same union sap one of my colleagues was accused of assaulting last term. No one even looked like he was going to punch this guy today. Maybe, because the accused colleague was not present and no one else bothered to listen to this union propaganda. We also heard that two of three teachers finally found out that they got the sabbaticals they had applied for (now, if they can still register for classes.) Terence (AP Security) was waiting in the wings for the meeting to break up. He quickly made a mad dash for a plate and free food.
After lunch, we had departmental meetings which consisted of more rambling, only this time the rambling only came from my AP. Again, we looked at data to see which kids were failing. The last meeting consisted of more data analysis, only this time it was by grades. Still no solutions. The AP's seem to think that opening discussion actually will help the kids with problems. Terence led this meeting and discussed the virtues of vocational education and how much money he just paid out to a plumber. He suggested we get the Electrical Union to send representatives to our classrooms. I asked him how taking physics or chemistry or doing a geometry proof would help the kids with one of these careers. He gave us some stupid, meaningless double talk. I guarantee most of the plumbers and electricians, bright though they are, have not had any need for these subjects and probably did not like them when they were in school.
Finally, 2:50 and we got to leave. I don't know why I came in today. I didn't plan on it. But, if I did not come in, recuperating colleague would not have known all he missed. Thank goodness he is coming back on Thursday. He can see all this stuff first hand and won't need me to keep him informed.