Tuesday, February 19, 2008

get real, folks

Who decided that having professional development days on a Tuesday was a good idea? I personally don't mind getting a break from the kids in the middle of the week every time they do this. But professionally it drives me up the wall and screws up the flow of the educational week. Also, doing lots of feel-good blah blah blah activities that talk about empathy and "teaching everyone in the world to love each other" and "the power of teaching" really makes my brain bleed. Certainly, there are a few tidbits of information or useful activities I can pull out of the seven hours I spent trying not to vomit on my copy of the power point presentation. For the most part, however, I really don't want to spend my day in a chair listening to some Canadian woman tell me squishy stories about "troubled kids" in cushy school school systems and how good teaching changed them, yada yada yada.

I don't need a pep talk, lady. I need some damn tools to deal with an entire classroom of kids living in crap-ass situations who don't know how to divide. It's really irritating to be told these inspirational stories about kids (who honestly did have it rough) bonding with babies to learn social skills. I need some examples of how the hell I'm supposed to motivate a bunch of myspace junkies with no parental supervision to learn their times tables.

I don't really mean for this to become a rant, but I'm really getting sick of hearing how things work at these great schools dominated by the white middle class suburbanites whose kids are on grade level. I have black, poverty-line urban kids who need to get their lives turned around while there is still time. What good is your complicated note-taking system if they can't even form a coherent sentence and have never truly been held accountable for their own learning in their life?

UGH.

So yeah, that's what I did today. Now I am at the coffee shop trying to finish a lesson plan for my observation tomorrow morning and my brain is totally fried. With the imminent doom of iLeap on the horizon, all I can think about is how my students are entirely unprepared and there's just no time, no time.

1 comment:

Mark said...

As a non-educator and mere parent, I often wondered what went on in terms of professional development. What you're being offered does sound like a profound waste of time and resources, a failure on the part of whoever is organizing this stuff to willingly confront the issues you have willingly undertaken to address. You deserve better. I saw a bumper sticker the other day--"Pay the Police Like Your Life Depended On It"--a noble sentiment, and one that people who deal with the educational system in places like New Orleans should give some thought to. The entire city should be concerned that people like yourself get the right tools and support, not psycho-babble from some author.