Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Rant

I've been in the field of education for a very long time--took several years off in the middle of my career working in our retail business but still stayed in contact. I've seen many trends come and go, most of them promising to be "the answer." Recently, the Legislature/Education Agency has come up with a new one. I can live with it. We are already implementing it. Will it be THE answer? No, but almost every one of these plans does have something worthwhile to contribute, a small part that sticks and makes things better. That is pretty much all I ask anymore, and it does make innovation worthwhile. Please understand I'm not griping about "progress."

We have one more week of classes before final exams. I am frantically trying to finish up research papers in my Pre-AP classes and Macbeth in my English IV classes. We need every minute of class time we can muster with everyone in class and ready to go. Yesterday, we had short classes so that students could be dismissed so that we could have training on the above program. The training was to be presented by experts from the regional office--a general education specialist, a special education specialist, and a reading specialist. Our faculty of 45 or so has 3 special education personnel, one reading teacher (Yes, that's different from English Language Arts.), and everyone else is general education. The only specialist who showed up was the special education person, who was obviously not prepared to present to people who did not know every acronym used in that field for the last 10 years. She also focused on primary and elementary almost entirely. That was ok, too; I have sat through worse. Why am I ranting? We were told at the beginning that the general education person who was supposed to speak to us couldn't come because she had decided to retire, and they were having a retirement reception for her that afternoon. Not only did she not come, but the reading person didn't come either because she was attending the reception. I can also be understanding about that. But at the end of the presentation, on the printed out copies of the PowerPoint that she had read every word of aloud, including the ones she didn't understand because they had been prepared by the other people, those two absent people were listed as resources to contact. I presumed that the speaker would give us another reference to replace the person with the obviously very imminent retirement. No! And do you know why? That person is not retiring until August! For this we gave up two scenes of Macbeth, and I couldn't help students after school with their research papers. The regional center they work for is open all summer. They scheduled the meeting. I really resent that my time and the time of my students was considered less valuable than their late plans.


Knittinreed said...

Oh boy - I hear you!

I used to run into similar situations with my private music students and decided it was too frustrating to deal with. That is one reason I stopped taching in the schools. Now, I teach from my home studio.

LizzieK8 said...

I hope you're forwarding copies of this on to that center.

It's so frustrating when things like this happen.

Did you have your knitting with you?

Robin said...

The higher ups --- they just don't get it! I have a BS in Education of the Hearing Impaired and a MS in Learning Disabilities. I taught 12 years while my sons were little before returning to nursing. Our time the higher ups used to waste would just irritate me so. The wasted time and ALL the paperwork that kept getting added. I never saw any good from it.