Education Week had an article about the turnaround models and what they do to the school. The intent is to make the school better, but is that reality?
We are in the midst of this nightmare, the working conditions suck (because people are trying to make sure they get theirs rather than pulling together), the kids are more defiant than ever (which is not getting them to where they need to be - and, like always, this is not all the kids)
The author mentions these steps
1. A perception of failure, and labeling.
2. Taking academic shortcuts.
3. An increasingly burdensome workload.
4. A toxic work environment
5. Harassment and retaliation
OK, we are considered the lowest school in the county so their must be something wrong with the students attending and the teachers. I do not believe this is true, but I do see the kids not even try on standardized tests. I have started telling them almost every week that it is practice for the ones (standardized tests) that may matter to them and that they want to do well on. That they have to do their best on every one that is handed to them.
They haven't gotten to the point of scripting what we teach, but I fear it is coming. On the other hand, that would cost money neither the district nor the state has.
Workload: more reports, more observations, more discussions about what we are doing instead of just doing it.
A toxic work environment? I already talked about one teacher I work with - who is driving everyone nuts. I suspect it is to cover her own inadequacies.
Harassment and retaliation has been the name of the game from this principal for years, so maybe he saw the writing on the wall when he got here. He is uninvolved with his staff on any level and does nothing to encourage us to be better - not on our results (we get yelled at about that all the time) I mean better in our skills. When people have asked about this opportunity or that, he tells them they are not good enough to apply for it. The only thing we are encouraged to do is apply for grants so we would have money for this or that.
And finally, failure. The kids (again not all, but too many) seem to think think that because of the color of their skin (they say it, not me) that it should just come to them. I love telling kids to work in groups and having them slop garbage on the page. "You said you wanted work. You didn't say anything about it being correct." How do you answer that? I told that boy that I graded for accuracy, not that he had writing on the paper.
I have five 18 year old sophomores in one class. They tell me things like (when I told one he had been out 7 days and had missed an entire chapter) "That's past. [or would it be "passed"?] Let's move on." Then he slept the rest of the period, thereby getting the most out of my class.
They cannot graduate. I have taught most of them before and they either have no drive or no ability (or both). Is it wrong that I relish they days they are not in class? I certainly do not teach toward them.
I am grading papers. Next week should be interesting.
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