I wanted to discuss something that has been taking place at my school, and get some feedback from outside, objective people. It came to a head yesterday during PD.
As a new, small HS, last year was our first. The students who comprised the first high school class were largely students for whom this school was not their first choice; for some, it was the choice between retention and promotion. A great deal of time was spent last year (and this year) changing culture and attitudes about schools, as well as making up for deficiencies which many of our learners have in many subjects.
Teaching the lower grades in a high school are tough anywhere, I'd guess, simply from a maturity perspective. Factor in some of the academic, social, economic issues that these kids brought to the table, and that job becomes tougher.
One teacher in particular has struggled with this group. This teacher has tried numerous methods, groupings, differentiation, etc. to work with the students, and is doing fairly well, given the circumstances. However, when this teacher has vented (as we all do) about classes, or has stated that certain methods, classes (like DEAR) or other interventions have not proven successful, others in our building have replied with "well, I have them, and they do...in my class." Or "they work for me." Moreover, when this teacher has expressed an opinion on a topic, this person is seen as being "too negative."
I've always had a hard time with this comment, and yesterday I spoke up for this teacher. I don't believe it's fair to judge one teacher, in a completely different subject by the same standard as another. For example, if the students value what's given in one class, or enjoy that class more than another, or are not lacking in requisite skills (Math, for example), surely their performance may be better.
I was really upset by this "they work for me" commentary. As a collaborative community, isn't it, or shouldn't it be more about how we can help ALL of our learners, teachers and students, to become successful?
I am interested to hear from people on this side of the expressway. I value this forum greatly for its help.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Posted by Mr Tesler at 9:18 AM