First, my school.
Last week we had an all-day PD on Friday. I could probably just stop here and let you make up your own jokes, but I believe in working harder than that.
Questions I know you have:
1) Were there new acronyms?
2) Was there a PowerPoint?
3) Was the PowerPoint difficult to read both on screen and in the handouts?
4) Were teachers periodically asked to reflect on certain points and then share them with a partner at the table?
5) Did the presenter assure us that she had been to an “all-day” training about this?
6) Did teachers generally feel insulted and that their time was being wasted?
OK…Surprise! Yes to all.
But here’s what came out of that session. (I can only speak for my department, but presumably others were being given some similar directives.) In the afternoon we met as a department to work on curricular documents. This is often the only productive part of a day like this one…we sit and work on our stuff. But today there was a twist…something that we can see now had been foreshadowed in the week or two prior, but nobody really picked up on.
From now on, our lesson plans, calendars, etc. must reflect, and we must execute, the following commands:
–Every Monday we will give a lesson that incorporates the New American Lecture. My department chair, also a VP because teachers are not trusted to do this, gave an exceedingly half-assed, scattered introduction to this some time ago.
–This will be followed by Tuesday and then Wednesday. On these days we are to conduct “reading-writing workshops.” There has been scant specific information provided on what this means, perhaps to be sure that we will do it wrong.
–Then will come Thursday. On Thursdays we must have stations. We simply MUST. Everybody. Every Thursday.
–After this we will have Friday. In a spirit of goodwill and solidarity, teachers will be able to plan what they see fit on Fridays.
Naw…I’m just fucking with you. On Fridays we will be required to have Socratic seminars.
So that’s the latest and greatest from the Shit House. Our principal has such an all-consuming control fetish. I’m guessing she was raised by 1) Nazis or 2) acid freaks in a traveling circus. She has to be either carrying on a tradition or rebelling against something.
Now, my kids’ school. (The New S-word.)
My kids go to a public charter school. I used to teach at our neighborhood elementary school and there is NO WAY I would send my kids there. I loved the teachers and that was by far the best principal I have ever worked for, but the kids at that school were off the chain…as they would probably tell you themselves.
Anyway, we really love the kids’ school, but they get a little silly with the peace and love stuff sometimes.
Like today, for instance.
I came in to pick them up from aftercare. The aftercare teacher for my son tells me to make sure I look in his folder because there is something from the teacher. This is never good news and the boy does get himself into trouble sometimes. So I brace myself as I look at the “report”.
The report indicates that he had said the “s-word” not once, but twice to other students during reading time. OK…I really don’t like to hear that. But the report has something strange. Next to “s-word”, in the original handwriting it says “shit”. But it has been crossed out and next to it, in different handwriting and with a different colored pen, is the word “stupid”.
I thought my kid had changed it. Smart, but not that smart. (At least use the same color pen.)
I investigate. I know they are cracking down on any sort of bad language stuff. I find the teacher.
–It turns out that he had said stupid and not shit. The teacher had changed it on the report.
–He was talking about the book he was reading and not directing the comment to a person.
–None of this had been heard by a teacher, only reported by some loyal 8-year old brownshirts.
–On the report, this had been classified a “major incident”.
I was pretty pissed when I was talking to the teacher. I said, “You know this is insane, right?…writing a ‘major incident’ report based on hearsay that a kid said something in a book was stupid?” She said, “Well, yes and no.”
I took that as a yes.
I said that if this was a major incident then certainly if he had called you a mother fucker, that that would have also been major. And would there be a difference between the two? She said no. After a pause I asked her to give me an example of a “minor incident”; the other box that could have been checked on the report. After what seemed like forever she finally said “well maybe if he had snatched something from somebody.”
I could go on, but I won’t. It was a pretty stupid conversation.
Schools are pretty strange places. You can’t make this s*** up.
P.S. — Remember, it’s good to have friends.