I am thankful some attention is being focused on the unreasonable expectations placed on teachers: that there is some acknowledgment that it cannot ALL be done. This is especially true when you look at what teachers should be able to expect – that because a student is in a certain grade they have passed certain benchmarks which are designated by the state to assure us the students have the minimum skills necessary to accomplish grade-level work. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.
As a high school teacher, I’ve been expected to conduct Socratic Seminars, but never trained in how to do so. I found and purchased a book on such, read up, developed a lesson plan, and presented it. I received poor marks on an evaluation for that, because the method I’d read and produced was not the same method (a modified version) that the school preferred.
Ditto Marzano’s 9, by which we are formally evaluated at my new school. No training, no available materials (his books) in case I want to read up on them. Ditto small group learning, the student portfolio, PBL’s, and a whole host of other programs brought in via 20 minute PowerPoint at staff training without any supporting texts or ongoing training. And I should be able to demonstrate these methods and techniques in a classroom with learning disparities ranging from semi-literate to college level in 90 minutes on Mondays, 70 minutes on Wednesdays, and 45 minutes on Fridays. (Actually, our school has 9 different schedules, which also impact Tuesdays and Thursdays, early release Wednesdays, pep rally days, testing days, Homeroom days (once a 6 weeks – I’m expected to provide a meal for 25 students to enhance our “bonding”), actual homerooms (once a day), and other events.) Band-aids for gaping wounds and all that. I’d love to have a classroom in which levels were as simple as below expected, at expected, and above expected. I’d like to able to say the only thing I do in the summers is relax.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
stop the madness
here is redkudu, writing on the Core Knowledge blog: