Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Share Your Concerns

I want to thank everyone for sharing their feelings and voicing some comical swipes at one another's intelligence and reading ability in our last strand of comments. However I would like to get a concrete list of genuine complaints from the people that are experiencing the problem. Ruth, in her comment to the last post mentioned the need for such clarity. I agree, so far the only complaints that were mentioned were DEAR and Block Scheduling therefore these will start the list. Once we have listed the issues that some are trying to improve upon maybe we could generate some possible solutions. We could do this here! Let’s take a moment, state the issue and your suggested solution. Let’s not attack our fellow teachers. There are no wrong answers here. Let’s just share our ideas.


Complaint =DEAR

Why its a problem? = I never get to finish the chapter I'm reading. I read too slow.

Possible Solution?= Lets just have DEAR all day. or at least another 20 mins.

As I am writing this post and sorting through my email I wanted to share something I came across.

Michael Klonsky (small school advocate in the Chicago Public School System) warned Bill Gates of the "traps" of school reform on his blog:

Excerpted below:

"...please get rid of all those whiners. You know who they are; the ones who keep complaining about "how hard it is" to convert large high schools into smaller learning communities. You know, the ones who are always making up excuses like: "Oh, if only we had better teachers and principals to work with, then we could really do a better job at reform." Or like over there at Manual High in Denver where they are saying: "Oh, those kids didn't want to go to that school anyhow..." and "Oh, the district leaders didn't really buy in." Get rid of 'em, Bill. Send 'em back into the school bureaucracy for some education-through-labor until they get their s*it together.

Next, forget this "replicable models" business. This isn't Starbucks. Good schools have their own unique conditions and any strategy for reform needs to take them into account. Don't let your consultants or spin doctors tell you that there's a high school over there in Kansas City or someplace where there's been a miraculous turn-around because they followed this or that consultant's model. By the way, that model just got booted out of a certain school district in Florida. Probably didn't have good enough teachers and principals to replicate the miracle in Kansas City. Oh, and another by the way...that school is Kansas City is no miracle either."


confused teacher said...

I can't believe there are no complaints...or are there just no solutions...or is everybody just waiting for someone else to say something?

Anonymous said...

My complaint, which I am certain other teachers share, is the cleanliness of the school. There are wrappers, juice containers, papers and garbage everywhere. What are we doing about this? Any solutions?

W Brown said...

I so agree

Lets look at where the "trash" is generated. Are students bringing food from cafeteria? From lobby snack machine? From home? all?
What do we have control over? How can we instill a sense of stewardship back into our busy building?

Anonymous said...

I agree as well, as a student its upsetting to see trash all over our school especially when I spend a significant amount of time in it. The trash is generated from all those sources the way I see it. I don't have any ideas for solutions, unfortunately there are and will always be students who disrespect the school, I feel that by taking a harsh approach certain students will want to "rebel" and specifically look to spread trash further making what would have been a small mess to a larger one. But again I do agree that this is a problem and am quite curious to see what others ideas are.

Superfly said...

We could all just walk around with little sweepers and dust pans...! I was so mad the other day when I was walking up the stairs, I just wanted to go home, fetch a broom, and start sweeping the stairwells! But then I realized that it would take all of around three minutes for people to start throwing trash on the floor again, so I just did what we all generally do and ignored it. (ick.)

AND I have a complaint: GUM! While I will admit to being a gum chewer myself, I will gladly relinquish that right if I never have to STEP IN IT or SIT IN IT in this building again! People just spit their gum any old place, whether it is in the middle of a hallway where it sticks to my shoes or in the gym where it gets on my clothes or in a classroom where it sticks on people’s pants. Anonymous student is right, this is our HOME, we are all here six, seven plus hours a day and people are spitting their gum on the floor in the middle of the lobby when there are trash bins two feet away! Oy vey...

And that article by Klonsky was hilarious! I am definitely in agreement!


Demi said...

It has come to my attention that students have been writing on classroom tables (or at least mine) more frequently. I am considering taking pictures of all the trash and vandalism and posting them in my classroom indefinitely. Hopefully, it will prompt a discussion and course of action in my Advisory.
I know there are many other issues, but this is a peeve of mine that I just can't get over.

Anonymous said...

So somehow this list doesn't really include issues that seemed to be so paramount in earlier posts. Writing on tables and not picking up your trash violates the school values but I don't know if that's what dissenters are concerned about. Some of them are opposed to inclusion. Some are opposed to the block schedule. Many are opposed to our split schedule.

W Brown said...

The last comment notes three concerns, Inclusion, bock shedule,and different start times.

Itis hard to address all these issues in one comment.

As for our inclusion program, what excatly is it that is concerning you? The lower functioning students? The higer level students? or teacher comfort level? What is your suggested solution?

As for the block schedule, What is the issue? Do you not want block scheduling? What are the specific problems? Can project based learning be better accomplished in 40 min periods? What are possible solutions?

As for the different start times, what is the trouble? Are teachers feeling too isolated in their communities? Are different start times necessary for the maintaining of 3 seperate learning communities? How can we make this better?

Unfortunately the last comment is really the only one speaking (although they claim to be speaking for "many). Even if they are the only one concerned or confused we should make things more clear.

W Brown said...

I think I will deal with each of these on their own in the next couple of posts.

If anyone feels like authoring a post please let me know.

Deirdre O'Neill said...

I too was surprised that the concerns that were definitely referred to in earlier posts were not raised and discussed here. It seems that Anonymous is the only voice to re-mention the issues of inclusion, block scheduling and our split schedule.
But Brown makes a very good point in that without being very specific about what is problemic for our colleagues, their concerns cannot be discussed so that help and possible solutions can be developed.
So Anonymous please please share. You just might be surprised at the outcome.
I look forward to future posts examining each concern/issue separately.

Anonymous said...

wbrown wrote:
I think I will deal with each of these on their own in the next couple of posts.

how can you 'deal with' each issue when you aren't the one who thinks they are a problem? This discussion will go nowhere unless people who think there's some big problem speak up