07 October 2008

Note to Self: C.Y.A.

I want to do a good job, I really do. But it seems like the universe wants to chip away at my motivation until there is nothing left. The year began with promise, smaller classes with kids who were behaved enough so that I could build on that and move on to the real business of teaching. After three weeks, I got several more students, who are, for lack of a better term, unclassified special needs students. I can work with the kids who are academically behind, but the kids who don’t know how to behave are a different story. I have already talked to and met the parents of the most difficult students, and while a couple of them are showing some improvement, the ones I had the most trouble with have not improved at all.

I have two choices: I can continue to invest time, effort, more discipline, whatever I have, into these kids, into trying to get to know them and understand them in the hopes that I will somehow reach them and motivate them. Or I can put the time into carefully documenting all the bad behavior and the lack of work, making sure to give copies of everything to the principal, the assistant principal, the counselors, the parents.

Now that I am going to be rated on my students’ performance on their standardized tests, I am obviously going to chose the second option. There’s no time for actual interest in the problem kids, no time for actual interest in any of the kids. It has been reduced to a numbers game, one I have to play.

The idea of saying to hell with real teaching and plunging full-time into test prep is very, very tempting. It doesn’t matter if the kids learn; it matters that they are able to take tests.


Tracey said...

I am right there with you! I have the same issues. Yes, very frustrating...I wish I could go back to teaching...and not worring about the 1 BIG TEST of the year.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Really- what choice do you have? I am so sick and tired of CYA education, tired of the endless mounds of paperwork to document, instead of doing what really matters- tweak lesson plans,and give the kids valuable feedback on reports and projects.

This is the BloomKleinGarten legacy of mayoral control.

Anonymous said...

You are right, CYA, and test prep because the principal is not going to look at your documentation, sorry to say, because his bonus is much more important. And, in the documentation, you must also some type of intervention, so more paperwork.

Test prep your ass off, call these parents and report them to the principal if need be. The first marking period is almost over. Let these parents know that because there has been little improvement since you last met with them, you will have to reflect that fact in their report card grade.


mr. s said...

great post and great blog.

coupling a testing grade (where the growth is measured... and thus where you as a teacher are assessed!) with behavior problems are certainly a challenge. it's really great to see veteran teachers who haven't left the inner-city for the leafy suburbs.


Casino Poker said...

Just that is necessary.