Thursday, August 27, 2009

The State of Being Almost Ready

Today was the first day of staff development for my district. I am lucky in that when I was in Texas, there was at least a week, sometimes more, of staff development days and they always dragged on in the worst way, following the same bleak pattern:
  • We have low test scores
  • Work harder, drones
  • Why don't these kids listen to you?
  • You have (unpaid) hall duty every day
  • Even though your passing rate was 97%, it wasn't good enough..make it better
  • Blah Blah Blah
The scene here is a bit different, although some elements remain the same. First of all, in my district there are only 1.5 days of staff development before school starts, and they are more useful and helpful than any I ever got in Texas. Also, for the first time, I heard a superintendent of a school district state the following:

"No Child Left Behind is not a good law; it has a lot of problems, and is unrealistic."

On the flip side, she followed it by saying that while that is true, it is a law nonetheless, and therefore we have to go along with it. I wanted to leap out of my seat and say that statements like that are what made things like the Holocaust and Jim Crow possible...but that seemed a bit extreme, so I went back to reading my 600 page biography of Mao Tse-tung.

This is the same superintendent who issued the infamous "Happy Spring" email, and the same woman who received HUNDREDS of irate phone calls and emails after a snow miscalculation (to which she referred briefly today). But all in all, today wasn't as bad as I was expecting. There was only one reference to her vacation in Borneo, and she let us out half an hour earlier than expected.

The other part of the day was at our home schools, where among other things, we had to read a chapter from a book by teaching guru Robert Marzano. I'll just put this out there....I don't enjoy teacher books. I really don't enjoy teacher books at the end of a day of staff development at the end of 9 weeks in which I allowed my brain to vegetate. I read that chapter and felt dumber than I have in my life. I still have no idea what that man was talking about.

Does anyone want to come cook dinner for me? I don't feel bright enough to handle sharp instruments and hot pans.


#167 Dad said...

I bet I hate edubabble meetings at least as much as you. I feel your pain, sister...

#167 Dad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronnica said...

I'm glad that it's not as painful as it could be!

Pam said...

The first half of your post described my in-service exactly! We had 10 days of that. Our school is already pretty high up there on achievement, so we were basically told that we have to bring all kids up to advanced. Um..okay.