Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why Administration Micromanagement is Driving Teachers Nuts

I have taught for a long time. I know what I am doing. I am open to new methods, new technology, new ideas, but I do not need an administrator repeatedly and without warning, throwing new things at me. We have a chief administrator that would change the color of the sky if he could do so. Change for improvement is great. Change for the sake of change (and the sake of career grandstanding) is not.

In the past year we have changed:
-The online gradebook
-Online attendance
-Method of purchasing supplies
-Attendance policies
-Grade policies
-Computer hardware (PC to Mac based)

When looking at a list of stressors, too much change in anyone's life is bad. Is it any wonder that we are seeing a Conga line out the door of retirees. What is more, younger teachers are actively seeking employment in other districts and other professions. You would think after seeing the Gallup polling data from teachers (God knows this administration love them some data) they would see the almost palpable frustration over how we have to deal with things on a daily basis. Just in feelgood actions of placing severely disabled kids into regular classrooms with no aid, no resources, no support at all, leaves teachers wondering about the validity of what we do. What good is it to create a curriculum when nobody is held to those standards. You can walk into any high school in my district and find different procedures in play. It makes no sense that we hold our kids in school A accountable for work that school B ignores.

I guess at some level my school administrative staff sees there's a problem. But their solution is to offer just more of the same. Now and for the rest of the year, we will be giving up one planning period a week to essentially vent. Knowing the people in charge and how they can sometimes not take criticism well, how much of a psychological relief will this be?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Break

I remember Spring Break as being the time my brother and I would spend clamoring to be allowed to swim although the temperatures were barely above 70 degrees. There was something inextricably wound in my soul with vacation and swimming. Now I don't venture into anything cooler than a hot bath, but that's age for you.

I've spent the majority of my Spring Break cleaning up. When I was a stay at home Mom, I was able to clean and my house was reasonably neat. Now my house is a disaster that I'm just too tired to care about most of the time. That's sad. I watch ads on TV and wonder whatever happened to that woman that couldn't get the ring off the collar of her husband's shirts. Now most cleaning seems to center for whatever reason around cleaning bathrooms. It's as if women have become so disengaged from the drudgery of what B.F. Skinner called "huzzifry" that we don't give a flip if our kitchens, living rooms or dens look like the scene of an episode of Hoarders as long as our toilet bowls sparkle. It's like the bathroom being clean is our last hold on civilization.

I've also spent the Spring Break organizing a luncheon for my daughter in law to be-a wisp of a girl who looks like a Disney princess but can shoot like Annie Oakley-and a rehearsal dinner. The combination of the two will cost as much as the reception, but then maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. She's a lovely girl and I want her to have nice things.  The down side is looking for an appropriate dress for me. At my current size that's not easy and it's clear that despite my attempt to lose weight, that's just not going to happen before the wedding.

With all this excitement it has also become clear that I don't want to work anymore. I am not anticipating the rest of the year with glee. There's just too much uncertainty and instability going on in my district. We have a superintendent who seems to have a need for attention. As a result, we are indulging in a variety of questionable cutting edge techniques that are costly and of varying levels of value. I need five years to retire with full pension. In five years I don't know what this school will look like. Color me fearful.