Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tough Choices

I am always amazed by how the scheduling in a school is accomplished. Programmers at every school I have worked at in the city have to worry about the concerns of the teachers on top of programming students. Teacher ‘X’ cannot teach an early class on Monday because he lives on Staten Island. Teacher ‘Y’ needs to leave early on Wednesdays because she sings in a band. It seems to be the only job in the school that needs to take so many concerns of teachers into account.

“I can remember as an English teacher going into the counseling office at the end of the summer and moving some cards around on the “big board” so I could have a conference period right after lunch.”Suzan Tidyman <-- click

Here at QHST though there is so much more to think about. We take the students needs into account. What classes are being offered, what time of the day they are offered, and who is best suited to teach the program are all considered. It takes a tremendous amount of vision from the staff to understand and become comfortable with the notion of programming being for the best of the students and not for the best of the teachers. We need to make choices that benefit the student body, not the parking concerns, or evening plans, of the staff.

I trust my colleagues who make requests for their scheduling needs. I trust my teammates not to take advantage scheduling loopholes at the expense of student needs. I know my union representation will be sure things are equitable and remember that they too are teachers entrusted with the needs of the students. With next year’s grade level team planning periods and our split start times I do not envy the job of programmers. As Suzan Tidyman wrote in a recent blog on working together with the students in mind when creating school schedule is a powerful piece. IF I learned one thing from Brenda Butler our ISA coach is was that the programming of the school is one of the backbones of school reform.

Reforming has as it roots a physical reshaping, a breaking down and re-constructing. I hope we all remember this when making decisions. Our lives as teachers will change as reform takes hold.

No comments: