Saturday, April 08, 2006

Struggling with a Comment

"I do not want to read articles during 'slc time' I would rather be marking papers..."

I can't get that comment out of my head. I know I obsess on things but this is really getting to me. I thought about it every time I sat down at my computer this weekend. Our structurally designed Small Learning Community meeting times are our mandated professional periods in the building. They cannot be used for grading papers. In many schools teachers are required to make photocopies for organizational purposes and organize mailings for parents during professional periods (basically the jobs school aids are doing in our building currently).

"... as teachers will be offered a specified menu of activities
from which they will perform various instructional, professional development,
and/or administrative duties." (excerpt from recent contract)

Let us not forget we are being asked to have professional conversations with peers and at times around an article directly related to either school reform, educational leadership, or progressive education. We are meeting as professionals. These conversations, these articles are at the heart of school reform. We made an adult decision to work in this school knowing it was different. With time being the utmost commodity in each of our days; setting aside time for professional growth through collegial conversation; is the least we could do for each other. We should not short change our professionalism. The value of those "articles" and the conversation that occurs from them is a simple way to reflect on our practice.

We need to read,
we need to find outside articles that are inspiring,
we need to share our ideas without fear,
we need to have conversations around the philosophy of schooling.

"Preaching to the choir"?... MAYBE however, even in our ever growing small learning community, we are not all signing the same tune.


Anonymous said...

While the comment is irritating and sounds like it is coming from someone who does not put any value on professional conversation with the purpose of growing as an educator I prefer to think that perhaps there is a reason behind such a statement. I remember so well my first year at QHST and that feeling of being so overwhelmed that I felt like I was drowning. I enjoyed the SLC's but there were many times I wanted to be marking papers or better yet, unpacking science supplies I needed to use in class that day. But much more than that I felt inadequate as an educator. I constantly questioned how I presented material to my students, constantly questioned my ability to create a student-centered classroom that met the needs of all students, and constantly questioned whether I was good enough to be at QHST. Expectations for educators at QHST are high and we all feel the pressure to constantly live up to these expectations. This is particularly true for new teachers whether it is their very first year of teaching or teachers new to the school. I prefer to believe that the comment was made by someone who is feeling the pressure and may not quite see, at this time, the long term value to professional conversations which ultimately allows us to grow as educators and prevents us from becoming stagnant. Those who already have the vision and realize the value the time together during SLC's has must continue to move forward while understanding that some of us will just need time to get it together once again.

Anonymous said...

G.Teacher Selection and Professional Development

The Queens High School of Teaching will teach future teachers, thus its own teachers must be teachers of excellence and must model reflective practice. During teacher selection, priority will be given to teachers who are able to demonstrate evidence of:

Engaging in regular faculty development. This might include: active membership of a faculty development organization, reading professional journals, journal writing, peer coaching, critical friend group membership, visiting peers’ classrooms to learn best practice and give supportive feedback, sharing pedagogical strategies and team-teaching to stimulate reflective practice and pedagogical development

I clipped this right from our concept paper.

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that we need the concept paper to remind us of the concept of professionalism. We would be dismayed by comments like that directed to us from students; is it too idealistic at this point to expect the same (or actually more) from our colleagues? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

The are hundreds of high schools in NYC. Many of them have opted to use their professional period grading papers behind closed doors instead of planning and learning together as teacher teams. We came to this school with clear expectations that SLC's were going to be used for growth, planning, learning. If we feel otherwise we either lied at the interview or have done a sudden about face. Whether you agree with the use of this time for such is besides the point. We are the exception as a school and it is not fair for those on board with a genuine intention to try to make SLC's work to try to accomodate those who could easily be accomodated in the many other schools across the city. We can agree to disagree given that there are plenty of schools to accomodate the different philosophies.

fswetten said...

I thought QHST SLC's were open honest discussions. When this was said, why wasn't ot discussed at this time? Some times it appears this blog is a place to vent anger in a secret manner. We can never move forward unless we have honest "open" discussion. Also just because someone might not particularly like SLC's doesn't mean they are against the philosophy of the school, hell it is no secret that I disagree with some policies we follow, but I love QHST, the people there and most of all the students. I would want to be anywhere else.

fswetten said...

When comments like this occur why not just deal with them openly in SlC's. Aren't we supposed to have open honest conversations there. Why wait and vent secretly about someone on a blogspot? We won't get past this without an open conversation. Also in my opinion, just because someone doesn't like SLC's doesn't mean they are tottaly opposed to the ohilosophy of QHST or are unprofessional. It is no secret that I disagree with some policies we follow, but I still love the people and Students at QHST and I am proud of the work we do. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. This start talking AND DO LESS TYPYING HERE.

Ms. Mayo said...


I don't think the blog is a secret place to vent since it's public!

The person who posted that comment anonymously is the one that needed to speak up in the SLC, no?


fswetten said...

I agree Lori, everyone should sign there name in the blog. What I meant was not to start off by saying the comment annoyed me, just talk to the person.