Do as I say, not as I do…

…seems to be our admin’s policy these days.  Not to complain too much here, but the admin. has lately made a few decisions regarding the daily running of the school that have been relatively unpopular among the staff.

I’m not too upset about the lesson plans they have us submit each week – I (now) think that lesson plans can be valuable, though I often find myself diverging from them by the end of the week due to the fluid nature of English lectures/discussions.  If I (or the students) want to spend more time discussing a particular idea about The Tempest, I should have that ability to adjust the schedule.  It happens, and, without sounding arrogant, I hope, it happens all the time in “good” classrooms.

But then there’s the attendance issue.  We take attendance on the computer, which involves clicking “PRE” or “U” beside each student’s name.  We USED to have an “ALL PRESENT” button, but the admin. took it away b/c some teachers weren’t taking time to actually take roll (which blows my mind, honestly – HEY,  IT’S PART OF YOUR JOB), which resulted in some students being counted present for two weeks when, in fact, they had never set foot on campus.  So we’re all being punished for that.

The admin. also decided that all classes should have a minimum number of grades by the time three week reports come around and then a min. number of grades when the six weeks ends.  They decided upon 5 and 12, respectively.  Four of those have to be major, er, excuse me, “academic achievement” grades (another decision by the admin to change the terminology) as opposed to “academic practice” grades (once known as daily grades).  It doesn’t work too well for English classes because we like to have our students write, and grading writing in a meaningful way takes time.  It also doesn’t help that the six weeks periods this semester are actually “five point two” weeks due to a desire to have finals completed before Christmas.  Less time, more grading.  Yay.

Another decision made by the admin. concerns their attempts to curtail fighting at our school (it seems it’s a problem this year, though I don’t recall as many fights in previous years compared to the numbers that we’ve had this year).  The admin. has attempted to bribe the student body with off-campus lunch if we have no fights for a certain number of days (I think it’s 30 –  a fight resets the countdown).  Hasn’t happened yet – I think the longest fightless span we’ve had is eight days (could be wrong here).  Something about the futility of not thinking about a blue-eyed polar bear occurs to me at this point.

Of course, like many school districts, we have a “zero tolerance” policy w/ regard to drugs and weapons.  However, this policy often leads to  ridiculousness extremes, as evidenced by a kid who brought a toy gun to school and was expelled for a year, and another nine year old girl who brought a small swiss army knife with her sewing kit (for the scissors) and was narc-ed on by a little boy who will probably go dateless through high school.  Zero tolerance allows for no room/trust for a teacher’s discretion, allowing legal liability to commandeer common sense.

The point – that I’m admittedly incredibly slow in getting to – is this, raised beautifully by my classroom neighbor and fellow newspaper advisor: “If we are expected to differentiate and modify and motivate the unmotivated so that a ‘one size fits all’ education in our classes isn’t acceptable, why doesn’t the administration have this same standard for themselves?”

2 Responses to “Do as I say, not as I do…”

  1. Suzanne Swierc Says:

    Yeah! Big Mike, you and Courntey were some of the best teachers I had at Consol because of this specific attitude. You have no idea how much your efforts mean to me!

    P.S. I’m sorry they’re making you grade more in less time now…I know how much you love grading.
    P.S.S. I was going to comment on the supposed “inappropriate” use of “ridiculousness extremes” (perhaps it should have been “ridiculous extremes”?) but I figured that you’d just point at the diploma in your classroom and say that the degree gives you the authority to fabricate words and make grammatical errors as you please. 🙂

  2. bigredpoet Says:

    What kind of crazy, violent child brings a KNIFE to school? I attribute that to parenting.


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