Technocracy and the School Without a Soul, Part II
You loved them so much
Those darlings in your classroom
So, VP, tell me
Why teach for just three years?
Destiny calls you to lead
OK, the question from the last post was: What are these people good at?
Why are almost all of the administrators in my school very young and have very little teaching experience? Isn’t that odd? Why would you select people who don’t have very much teaching experience to lead and supervise those who do? That’s a fair question, right? I mean, usually the boss is someone who has a lot of experience doing the job of those he or she supervises
But here there is something else going on. In urban schools, mine anyway, there seems to be a lack interest in making sure the administrative class has teaching experience. To me it seems strange that my VP doesn’t have all kinds of crazy, uplifting and motivational teaching stories. They’re just not there. So, what then can you offer me?
This is a different kind of job now. We need technicians and people who can hammer on a program and nitpick the shit out of teachers. Accountability, Motherfuckers!! Administrative Fantasy and Nitpickery.
We need people who can introduce a new requirement for teachers and pretend that it is not new.
We need people who don’t feel like douche bags standing in the hall telling kids to tuck in their shirts.
We need people who are able, with a straight face, to suggest that if my warm-up is more compelling attendance in my classes will improve.
We need people who are impervious to irony.
We need people willing to count how many times the standard is mentioned in a lesson.
We need people who are willing to treat adults much older than themselves like children.
We need people who are willing to memorize 3-5 short slogans and use them often.
We need people who can plan 4 or 5 meetings every week when there is no reason to have any.
I could easily add to this list as well. Maybe you should?
The reason these folks don’t have a lot of teaching experience is because people who have been teaching for a long time know that what they are saying is mostly bullshit. Simple as that. We’d like to have experienced teachers doing this, but they already know the truth. The plan, then, is to shock the urban education system, which I don’t deny needed to be shocked in some way. The dangerous part of this is that the objective is to narrow teacher discretion in the name of accountability. This has the effect of deprofessionalizing teaching and making it more like unskilled labor. (Just do what we want, when we want it, how we want it. Think on your own time.) And this is all done, of course, at the Altar of The Test.
If the Test Gods are appeased, or if they are not, we will redouble our efforts. The Path is clear.
Here I will quote myself: Let’s pray that these fucking tests are really good at measuring exactly what we think they measure and the people who told us what we should measure were dead-on goddamn brilliant (Mr. Teachbad, Jan. 19, 2010).
Anyway, I have found almost all of my bosses in education to be utterly humorless, paranoid, uninspiring and without much to offer me as I have tried to become a better teacher. Now I’m jaded and just sick of it. Time for a cocktail.