Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Your Problem Is You Can't Hear A Pin Drop

Normally I would not post stuff like this here anymore but I already spent 20 minutes in the APO's office bitching about what I am about to write, I figured I could share it here.

Basically, Mr. AP told us yesterday that the kids in our classes should be passing. While he doesn't want them to pass for nothing, he expects us to reach the majority of them. If kids are not coming to class, we should do something about it. If kids are not doing homework, we should also do something. We should teach slow enough to reach them all.

I've been working my butt off to get my geometry kids to pass. I make flash cards for every topic. I go over the same topics again and again. I let them use notes on exams. I've given up on the proofs that they hate. They still don't get it. They still add up line segments and set them equal to 180. I don't know what to do with them anymore.

I made the error of trying to talk to Mr. AP about this problem today. After all, he is the chairperson, the master teacher, I thought he could help.

Mr. AP: Can you hear a pin drop in your classroom?

Me: No, those classes are quite difficult.

Mr. AP: Well, that is your problem. In fact, it is only you senior teachers that have this problem. If one kid is noisy, send him out and don't let him back in until his parent shows up. That will set the other kids straight.

Me: It won't work. Too many are noisy. Besides, a kid that can't divide 12 by 2 without a calculator cannot learn geometry, no matter how quiet the room is.

Mr. AP: It will. It is your fault the kids can't learn. Big deal about what you do. You are only teaching four or five kids at most.

At that point I walked out. There was no point in arguing with this madman. But, the steam was still pouring out of my ears and I decided to vent to the APO. She invited me to sit down and air my complaints. She listened sympathetically and promised to talk to him tomorrow.

Mr. AP has no answers to the problems we face so he is choosing the easy way out--BLAME THE TEACHER. The APO's conversation with him will do no good but it did help me to vent to her and knowing that she is on my side helps as well.

Mr. AP's comments mean nothing to me in the long run. There is nothing he can do to hurt me but I will not sit back and be his whipping post.

At yesterday's departmental conference he also made quite a few uncalled for comments and told us he expected us to do things that cannot possibly fit into our school day. I managed to keep my mouth shut for most of the meeting. Not one teacher opened up a mouth in protest to anything he said. If they choose to be beaten, so be it. NOT ME. NOT NOW. NOT EVER. And, if it really bothers him, I will stay on for another few years. I WILL NOT LET HIM WIN!


17 (really 15) more years said...

Thank you for reminding me why I never go to administration about anything. Sorry you had to be attacked to give me that reminder though.

Kim Hughey said...

I have to wonder if the reason our kids can't keep up in our mathematics classrooms is because they have been passed along from grade to grade without knowing anything. Not by their teachers, but by the administrators who threaten and sometimes even force us to pass students who are not in any way prepared for the next level of mathematics.

It seems to me that this epidemic of "everyonepassesitis" has been getting much worse every year that NCLB has been in effect.

The cumulative effect of a child being passed from math class to math class really hits the fan in classes like geometry and algebra II where the child is expected to apply the foundational concepts they learned in earlier courses.

I certainly feel your pain and I am rooting for you! Just think, in one week you'll be in Jamaica!

Chaz said...

It seems to me that the honeymoon period is rapidly coming to an end.

Stick up for your principles and it is your class not theirs.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I never was on a honeymoon with my AP.

We were friendly years ago but now we barely speak. I am sure after he speaks to the APO he will not speak to me at all, which is fine by me.

Carol said...

I am really surprised you went to your APO knowing what he is like.
In this case I think you set yourself up for those put-downs because he is not there to help teachers.

It should not be the teachers fault if these kids are not coming to class. It's the fault of the administration for not taking hold of this situation. This situation should be handled from the top.


Pissedoffteacher said...

Our APO is fine. My AP is the one that is the pain.

After the meeting yesterday, I thought he might like to know what is going on in class. I am teaching the repeater geometry classes. I was given these classes because I usually have success with these kids.

I guess I was hoping he would be more normal. Stupid me!

Angela Watson said...

Researchers agree that being able to hear a pin drop in the classroom is the mark of good teaching. The total absence of discussion and dialogue is clearly what you need to strive for. Your AP has modeled the stifling of thinking and personal expression so nicely for you! How thoughtful.

Anonymous said...

Part of me wonders if this isn't an example of "crazymaking" on the part of administrators. Example: One day, one administrator will tell you that your very quiet and orderly class is too "teacher-centered" and that the kids should be more "active" and "engaged." So you'll institute some crazy group project or discussion or what have you, and then your classroom is no longer orderly, of course...and then you "don't have control of the class." You can't win.

Sonja said...

First of all - what's an APO?

Second - We can blame Harry Wong for the "blame the teacher" for everything wrong in education and the classrooms. I first heard about him a few years ago thru the internet but kind of shrugged my shoulders and went on my way. But then I got a principal who was all about "blaming the teachers" and I realized that this was going to be a bad thing. After 5 years of this particular principal and no improvement and being tired of being blamed for everything from number of tardies (your class must not be interesting enough) to poor attendance (you aren't connecting to the students) I found another school. Current principal seems to have read the same books, but at least hasn't drunk the grape Kool-aid being handed out by Mr. Wong and his crew. So - some improvement.