Monday, May 31, 2010

Policies, Policies, Policies

Two things have happened in the last few weeks that have been pretty funny regarding policies.

1. We were told that the students would be given their exam scores from the previous year and if they scored proficient then they would be exempt from their final exams this year (spring). Well, first of all I am not sure if that's a great incentive program, but that is besides the point.

The major problem with the whole thing was this: First, all of the teachers (myself included) REALLY wanted that list....who was going to be exempt? Who wasn't coming back to school? Ahh, what a mistake!! We pressured the guidance counselor to get the list, and she gave it to us....and the school fell apart! Students, once they knew, stopped coming to school, stopped doing assignments, and really just wandered around. As a result of all of these things, all the teachers essentially became incapable of teaching, and thus pretty much gave up.

In the end, last week was pretty much wasted. We played a lot of vocabulary games, lots of bananagrams, some surveys about the year, and a bunch of other time fillers. I feel kind of bad about it, but I don't exaclty know what else I should have done?

2. Our second policies experience of the week: Being handed a packet, 8 pages long, of crap to do. Half of it seems like a lot of red tape nothing. I talked to a few teachers and they said that inventory is pretty ridiculous. That stuff doesn't matter, because in C they haven't taken inventory in 10 years (that's how long that teacher has been there). In fact, said teacher actually quoted "By the time they decide to take inventory I'll either be dead, or long gone from here." So, I might just sign off on that one.

The other stuff is regular check out stuff. There's a lot of it. Again, I think it probably should have more strategically been handed out a little later, because as soon as it came out teachers started going crazy. Instead of teaching new material, people started cleaning their rooms and filling out the sheets. Again, I was guilty!!! These are some of the controllable things though, that I believe could really lead towards student investment and achievement. If we force them and engage them all the way to the end, we can make those smaller gains each day. Aye! The balance between wanting it to be over and wanting to continue to achieve is a tough one.

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