Larry The Cable Guy is one of my favorite comedians. Even though some of his politics are way to conservative for me, I like his openness and his candor and the way he just wants to get everything done.
The emphasis on goals this year made me think of him. Goals are what is important. Achieving success is not as important as looking like we are achieving success. We were given a list of goals before parent teacher conferences and told to check off one for every child we saw. I took one look at the goals and chucked the paper. I refuse to tell a parent that the goal I have for their child is to practice every night. My goals are simple. Come to class prepared to work. Do your homework. Study. Learn to think. Pass the class.
Mr. AP asked some parents to check that their child was taking notes in class. The parent felt that it was not his responsibility. Now Mr. AP wants each teacher to check that the kids are taking notes.
Goal #1: Parents will take more responsibility for their child's learning. They don't have to be an expert in the field of mathematics to see that the child is taking notes in class and doing homework.
One of the parents I spoke to last night was upset because there was no real plan in place to give her daughter the extra help she needs to pass math. The girl is sweet, hard working and very limited in mathematics. Tutoring in the library does not fulfill this girl's needs. I agree. Last week, I was working with six kids at the same time, four of them were in different classes. It was impossible to help them with more than one or two problems apiece. The librarian wanted to bring over three more kids and got upset when I told her absolutely NO!!!!!!
Goal #2 to our administration: Provide real help to struggling students, not help that looks good on paper.
Another parent was grateful that her daughter was finally going back to her classes instead of wandering the halls. Unfortunately, there are still too many kids (one is too many as far as I am concerned) wandering around.
Goal #3 to our administration: Come up with a real plan to get the kids back in classes. Offer them support to get them to keep going to class.
I got a new student in my geometry class this week. I went to her former teacher to try to find out why the change was made this late in the term. I discovered that the girl was not doing well in her honors class. I asked why she was put in a remedial class instead of a regular class. The teacher did not know, but felt it was the wrong class. I went to guidance to get it changed. The counselor was adamant about it not being her decision and I had to go over her head to help get the girl in the correct class.
Goal #4 to the guidance counselors: If someone asks you to do something that you know is wrong, don't do it. You have a great supervisor, go to her and get her to help you make the right decision. I know most of you are barely out of diapers, but you are in the grown up world now. Learn to stand up. Learn to think. Stop taking orders blindly.
Goal #5: If you recommend a change, follow through to make sure the change was done correctly. Don't be afraid of consequences. You have tenure. Nothing is going to happen to you because you made an inquiry.
The teacher above was afraid she would be yelled at because of this change and was afraid to do anything herself, yet she was happy the girl was gong to be put in the correct class immediately.
And, while I am on guidance counselors
Goal #6: When a parent calls you and wants you to arrange individual tutoring with a certain teacher for their child, say NO!!!!! Do not put the onus on the teacher. You know that teachers are not operating as private tutors in the building.
Goal #7: Stop wasting paper and time on goals. Get ER Done!