Tuesday, August 29, 2006

School Gatherings...

Ok, this is going to be like an open letter.
Dear school district for which I work,
How can you not have learned? How? You wonder why teachers are so bitter? It's because you force us to give up our WHOLE morning in order to sit in a hot, hot, hot arena with no air as we listen to you tell us information that we either:
A. Already know, or
B. Don't need to hear right now.
(This will give it away slightly.)
Look, I'm sure that the pistol-packin' mayor is a great guy, but if I hear the word, "referendum," out of his mouth one more time, I may kill someone. Seriously. I'm a teacher in the district, Mr. Mayor. I already know what's going to happen if it doesn't pass: I may lose my job. You don't need to remind us when we're trying to gear up for school.
And another thing, sir: choose your wording VERY carefully. Here's what you said:
"I sent my kids to C and A, because those are the good schools!" (Hold for cheering.)
Here's what you meant:
"I sent my kids to those schools, because they are in the district that has the best schools!"
And here's what it sounded like to every teacher not at C and A:
"I sent my kids to C and A, because they are the ONLY good schools in the district!"
You may have meant that you love our district, but it sounded like all you cared about was the two schools. Then, after some glad handing in the crowd and attempting to start a cheer about the referendum (what the hell was that about?), you bolted out the door.
Now, back to you, district. Ok, there were seven speakers today. SEVEN! And all they talked about was the referendum. I get it, but don't tell US. We already know the issue.
Our union head? Referendum.
Our school board head? Referendum!
Our superintendent? OH MY GOD! REFERENDUM!
Sigh...let me compose here....
You showed us a video for thirty minutes celebrating our district's 150th year, but it was more of a "look what famous people graduated from our district."
Then our superintendent spoke...a woman who, though very energetic and personable (she glad-handed me before the whole thing started), showed why she has had been in six different educational positions since 1999. Warning, this is my honest opinion:
We played a game. We were all to shout out, "THAT'S ME!" when she said something that pertained to our lives.
She was not totally prepared. There were long moments of dead silence as she checked her notes to make sure she made all of her points.
She told us she wants 100% graduation rate, which is impossible, as my colleague told me, because it doesn't take into account kids who graduate late.
She told us we're good, but not good enough.
She talked, and talked, and talked for 40 minutes. That meant we went a half an hour late. She preached efficiency, and then didn't model it (to use a teaching term).
I'm not happy, district, because our future is tied to a woman who, on average, has spent less than a year at a job recently.
I'm not happy, because you made me give up classroom prep time in order to have our get together that was supposed to have us loving each other and our district, but left me yelling at other teachers to "Shut up," because their cheering made every speaker have to stop and wait.
I'm not happy, because it wasn't really productive. It was more of a political rally and that is not what we as teachers should be doing right now. Don't sell us accountability and then preach politics.
Did our new superintendent make some nice points? Sure, but she wasn't eloquent. You want your leader to have a sense of eloquence. Without getting overly political, she reminded me of President Bush at his press conferences. He may be smart, but he sounds like an idiot. She is obviously smart, but appeared very unprepared.
Let us do our jobs as educators. Next time, just send a memo and produce a video we can watch while in our rooms.
So here's the deal, dear district. You don't get to complain if I'm slightly behind at one point. I had to give up four hours today.
Don't preach anymore. Don't preach.
Of course what do I know? I'm a, "Cog in the wheel of Education." I could be wrong.
Oh, and I feel like an idiot, because many of my colleagues drove down to this gathering, got the piece of paper that was required...and left. I took the damn bus and had to wait to get back, because the district didn't order enough buses.
Still, I love my job.


Voix said...

Let 'em have it, big guy. I know the feeling.

Bill R said...

Our district (South Washington County) is pushing a referendum this year too. Signs all over Woodbury, notices in the mail, e-mail notices, all preaching doom and gloom for our students and school district if this does not pass. We have approved referendums in each of the last few elections for the school district. They want to build a new high school in our district, we have two and need three. It sure seems like it is needed as well as updating the old mechanical gear in the schools. I agree and will vote for it, but sooner or later, these referendums are going to fall on deaf ears if each election cycle we hear about doom and gloom for our schools. I don't have the answer, but it does get tiring for us non-teachers, it must really frustrate you guys. And I agree, what a waste of time for you. Are they making it hard to like your job on purpose? :) When are these MBA's going to realize that a little bit of rah rah stuff is ok, but too much of it and it becomes a joke.