Friday, September 12, 2008

Major Malfunction

This year has been rough for me so far, and I don't really know why. But today, like Ike, all things fell apart.

Yesterday, my vice-principal asked me to read an article in preparation for the staff development activity we were having this morning. The article was on assessments, and I forgot to take it home last night so I had to read it when I got to school this morning. First of all, it was written in educational vernacular, so it is like reading a foreign language. Seriously, just SAY "continually checking student understanding" instead of "working towards progressive assessment." Secondly, I have not been feeling well and when I read it, it was like the words just went in and straight back out. Thirdly, there is a movement in the school to start developing common curriculum and assessments, meaning that all teachers of the same subject teach the same thing at the same time (and sometimes the same way). This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially within a school. And it makes sense for the state to tell us what a specific class should cover. But the danger lies when the district (meaning district officials that often have not been in the classroom for more than a decade) makes a common class plan and assessment. This will result in micromanagement on the part of admistration, and frustration and disillusionment on the part of the teachers. I have seen it happen, I have been in a state and district and school that did that and I was so unhappy that I left...and I NEVER want to go back. So when I hear other teachers in the school asking that the district give them their curriculum, I want to stand up and scream "NO!!!" at the top of my voice.

So....for these and many other reasons, some of which I don't know myself, I fell apart when I was asked to read my "favorite" part of the article. Like, burst into tears and had to leave the room kind of fall apart. As in hugely embarrassing and incredibly annoying tears that would not stop. As in even now, 14 hours later, I still get tears in my eyes kind of breakdown. And of course, everyone had an idea in their head what I was upset about. Which is super annoying because I don't even really know what was going on. So, I was out in the hall for the rest of the meeing...and when the first people started leaving the meeting, went back to my room. Which is when the principal - the new principal I have only met twice - opened my locked door and asked if I was ok and if there was something he could do. ARGH. NO. I'm crying AGAIN. GO AWAY.

Then, during 2nd period, my vice-principal (the same one who asked me to read the article), called me into his office and asked if I was ok. So I fell apart again. Because, why not? And how many people know about this incident?

I thought about things all day, and have come to the conclusion that there are several things that I am stressed out about and I hadn't realized it. One of the things that is causing problems - that I can do something about - is the travel club that I am coadvisor of. So, I think I am going to let it go. Of all the things that I do outside of school, that is the one that frustrates me the most. That means I don't get to go to Greece and Italy next summer, but that's ok.

The good thing, as I tell my kids, is that time doesn't go slower. So today marched on, and then it was over, and now it's the weekend...and football galore. Hopefully the sinus infection I can feel doesn't develop into a horribly raging cold.


Just say Julie said...

I had a 2 hour convo with Colleen the other day about some of the same things at my school. We were told at the first department meeting that we were to have common assessments (tests and quizzes). We always use 10-15 of the same questions, but now the principal wants everything the exact same. Would have been nice to know this summer when we could have planned, but no it's much more stress inducing to tell your faculty after school has started that they'll have to re-write curriculum.

alice c said...

It brings tears to my eyes too reading this. I am sorry.

You could go to Greece and Turkey without your travel club - it is just a thought. Although I am not sure that I would travel in Turkey by myself. France, Spain and Italy but not Turkey.