Thursday, March 17, 2011

war on teachers is getting me down

I wanted to write an entry because it has been a while but I am finding it hard this week to be positive. The earthquake and its aftermath, the continuing and escalating war, the siege on teachers and public employees, all seem very close to home. I attended some rallies in support of Wisconsin and that was heartening (there were a lot of people and many moving speeches) and depressing at the same time. I can't imagine anyone choosing to become a teacher right now. I read that article in AFT by Paul Karrer, Castroville Teacher's Reality Letter to President Obama. I must really be feeling sorry for myself because it made me cry. I'll see if I can put a link to the letter on this page but you can google AFT and the title of the article and it will come up.

Our school is meant to be run by a teacher collaborative but egos aren't being checked at the door. I'm doing some soul searching myself and trying to refrain from blurting out what ever good (according to me) idea I have. I don't mean it to seem like oneupsmanship so I'm trying to watch it. We (myself and a couple of colleagues) are picking up some hostility from coworkers. We had an endless meeting last night where nothing at all was accomplished. Someone told me once that there are people who don't want success but we have no idea what to do. I believe in compassion and I think we are compassionate but how do we move beyond this? I'm staying positive and friendly but someone actually complained that I was happy. Just writing that just made me laugh and feel better.

On the upside, I have convinced the admin to get class sets of iPads and more mac carts, and even a class set of Ipods so that students can easily do research. Everyone is into the groups of four idea. It fits with SIDAE (I'd write what the acronym stands for but I can never remember. I worked first on teaching the students how to write research papers in collaboration with the science teachers and now we are beginning to do research for their persuasive essays and speeches. My class was visited by the district supervisor and luckily the little groups were all functioning and working well. I have some classes that function well and others that don't, so I can't make any sweeping generalizations about the success of the group work. I have 40 or close to 40 students in my classes. The noise level during group work can be pretty high. Next year class sizes are supposed to rise. Hard to imagine.

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