consistent angry dwellings

5th year teaching, 3rd school, same issues:

an administration who does not concern itself with the abundance of mediocrity in the classroom.

academic rigor and a challenging environment look great on paper and are easy to write but not enforce in practice.

administrators who haven't taught in years, and when they did, were mediocre, at best, themselves.

administrators who just don't see or just don't care that their attitudes, presence (or lack thereof), apathy, and overall demeanor set the tone for the entire school.

administrators who make vague sweeping statements regarding upcoming change, leaving some frightened, unsure of their futures, and feeling expendable.

teachers, underdeveloped, untrained, unsupported, unrecognized, unnurtured, overwhelmed, overworked, overtaken.

apathy. everywhere. in the support offices. from disciplinarians. from kids. worst of all (for the kids) from the teachers (can you blame them?)

my theory of the week, the solution to the epidemic that is public education, which isn't a complete solution, yet, but maybe someday... hire devoted leaders. leaders devoted to educational success. leaders who truly have vision to inspire. leaders come in many shapes and sizes, and klein's cookie cutter school template will not fit all the molds. devoted leaders will make it a point to only hire devoted staff. devoted leaders will lead by example, by their presence, by their values, their experience, and their passion.

teaching is about more than motivating, it's about inspiring. how can you ask a teacher to inspire their classes, if they're allowed to stagnate in the fumes of mediocrity?

inspire change.


the letters, they keep on coming

this one isn't a letter in my file, yet.

hand delivered in person by the payroll secretary after i dismissed a class today.

twice yesterday, a school aide and a secretary, sent by the principal status quo herself, came to my doorway to tell me that students can not be in the hall. they're recording their voices into the computers. they're doing their work. my door is open, i'm checking on them, and they're not being noisy.

there's a parent workshop going on.

i'm sorry, is this a school for students or for parents? why can't the parent workshop close their door?

and so today, after 4 pairs of students were in the hallway, quietly recording their podcasts, the script written previously, anticipating uploading the completed file to itunes tomorrow, the letter arrives.

dear appple a day:

effective immediately, no student is to be out in the hallway. you are a technology instructor and these students need to be with you in a classroom.

failure to adhere to this will result in a letter to your file.

thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

principal status quo

and, my emailed response:

Hello principal status quo,

Regarding students in the hallway outside of my room, my classes are learning how to make a podcast. A podcast is like an informative radio show, recorded on a computer, then shared on the Internet. Students must first develop a script with their partner, then record their voices reading the script onto the computer. The students who were in the hallway were recording their podcasts. The hallway was a quieter space to record than in the classroom where other students were still collaborating on their scripts. I understand the need for quiet hallways, and was only hoping to offer these students a quieter space to record in. I apologize for the disruption that this independent work created.


appple a day

because we are not supposed to engage our students in any sort of creative, nonstandard, exciting curriculum, which might lead them to require a quiet environment to independently work on a project. it would be better if they were meaninglessly surfing the web in the classroom. at least the hallways would be quiet.

it's my 3rd school in 5 years.
is there one out there that embraces creativity and nontraditional teaching practices, where i can teach what i consider to be unique and important skills without fear of ticking off the administration? it's not like they're even inquiring about content, or making alternate suggestions.

when i tell the kids tomorrow that they all have to record in the classroom they're going to freak. you can't tell 30 kids to quietly record their own voices. this blows.