Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Half Conversations ?

In an email Roni, our programmer, expressed concern over the lack of communication about a lunchtime opportunity to speak with a union represenative. The email reads:

I am very disturbed that the union rep was here yesterday and I knew nothing about it. I would have made it my business to see him had I known. Even more upsetting is the fact that he came in and told the other Montessori teachers that we should be supporting the other two communities. How can we support the other communities if we have no idea what is going on. This is getting ridiculous. Why don't we make a whole school meeting either before or after school and those really interested will attend. These rumors have to be stopped and a few people can't decide everything. We need to listen to everyone and then make an informed decision. The proposed schedule is really great. If we could talk about it, it could be "tweaked" and make it better or if necessary vote against it if after hearing everything, that is our decision. Divided we conquer nothing. After all, we are one school and that is how we should be acting.

Although this is not a response I was simultaneously expressing similar concerns:

Not supporting our colleagues is antithetical to the teaching process and the educational philosophy we are establishing as a staff in this building. Our overuse of the facilities makes stewardship of “class space” an ongoing struggle. To my knowledge few if any teachers have their own room. We need to support each other when problems arise and be vigilant with our classes as we dismiss them and rush off to our next teaching assignment.

But supporting colleagues doesn’t end there. We need to hear our colleagues concerns, offer support and help facilitate resolutions. Recently I had the opportunity to speak with a physical education teacher who was quite passionate about getting rid of the overlapping periods. Apparently the gymnasium is quite overwhelmed with double the amount of students at certain times during the week.

Are we blind to the overlap because it does not effect our classroom instruction directly? Are we oblivious to their concerns because we have not met as an entire staff as a union?

It is my understanding that the new schedule effectively eliminates any overlapping classes. I also have heard rumor about other concerns with the new schedule. Here once again we cannot support our fellow colleagues without a clear understanding of the issues.

TO my knowledge no one can be asked to teach four periods in a row and the proposed schedule does not change this contractual obligation. Does the proposed schedule make it impossible to program within the limits of the teacher contract? Let’s have the programmers speak during a union meeting. How can we support our fellow teachers and programmers to facilitate a solution to this problem if there is one? Walking through any corridor of this building, one quickly realizes the enormous amount of talent and creative thinking that each teacher uses to harness their passion for their craft. Lets get together and do the same for this scheduling problem before it divides us as a union.

A whole school union meeting would be an obvious step in the right direction.

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