Another week, another faculty meeting. Teachers filed in, looking a bit rundown, even though "Winter Break" would soon be starting.
"Why so glum, Tim?" asked Ms. Cornelius.
"Didn’t you hear? The supe is once again reorganizing the departments and staff at central office. As if that’s really going to have an impact on what happens in my classroom."
Janet said, "I feel your pain. The district keeps making changes to the grading system. Now we’re all confused."
"Yeah, well, try dealing with interruptions. I recently had a military recruiter in my classroom asking for information on one of my students," Ms. Cornelius replied. "It seems as if I am asking more questions about this sort of thing than most people."
"It’s the same old story," the Education Wonks observed, "more expectations and not more pay to meet them."
Jerry Moore leaned over the chair. "Don’t be so sure, Wonks. Have you seen what the NEA isn’t telling you about teacher pay?"
"I saw that," said Ms. Cornelius. "But maybe we should also consider what is happening to the salaries of administrators. They seem to be moving in a more positive direction."
"Speaking of money issues and schools, I don’t think that California is looking at the full picture regarding public funding for pre-school," Neal said.
"Money is always such an issue where public schools are concerned. Maybe you should consider what’s happening with a facilities’ project in our nation’s capitol."
The Wonks indicated that they hadn’t heard about these money issues. They were more worried about something else. "Did you hear about recent issues related to student blogging? What are the physical boundaries regarding a student’s Right to Free Speech? I think they include the home, but others of you may disagree with us."
Adam decided to comment. "But technology is such a valuable tool for the classroom. I really think that Wikis will be the wave of the future."
"Sometimes, though," Ed said, "We have to be careful of copyright issues when we use technology.
"True, Adam," said Josh. "I still have some of the same concerns as the Wonks. I was just talking about what happened in New Jersey when a student used her blog to imply that another student was gay."
"Speaking of gay students," said Darren, "did you know that a lesbian student in California is suing her school because the school disclosed to the student’s mother that she was gay?"
"Would you guys lighten up?!" Mamacita asked. Our jobs are serious, but that doesn’t mean that we have to take things that way. There are lots of different ways to look at things. Why not stop by my room after the meeting and have a look at all the euphemisms I’ve found for describing student behavior?"
Josh looked like he could use a laugh. "I’ll be right over."
Batya happened to overhear Mamacita’s addition to the conversation. "Language can be tricky. Sometimes euphemisms don’t translate well. I’ll send you the information I’ve collected on teaching English to Hebrew speaking students."
Badaunt nodded in agreement. "I’m trying to teach English to Japanese speaking students. If I don’t make sure we have some fun, I can’t get anywhere with them. Stop in and shout ‘Diarrhea!’ someday and see what happens."
"What about teaching reading to English speaking students?" asked Jarndyce. "Seems like many schools are ignoring good program advice in this area."
"Sometimes I wonder why we educate our children at all—what the motives are for why people choose to use public education or homeschool their children," said Goldie. "I read one of Kim’s posts."
Kim asked her, "Did you see my recent one on the socialization of children?"
"I agree that there can be some good reasons for parents to homeschool their children," added Henry. "Especially since teachers seem to have so little power in enforcing the rules."
"Parents and schools seem to more at odds these days," said Scott. "I’m wondering how we get past playing the ‘blame game’ so much."
"Schooling in America really has changed over the years," said Patricia. "This week, I’ve been thinking about the period between 1920 and 1954. I call it ‘Adjustment.’"
Mr. Lawrence added, "That’s not the only kind of ‘adjustment’ out there. In my local district, teachers aren’t adjusting so well to the idea of students from New York."
"I wonder," said The Science Goddess, "if this is part of why teacher retention is such a problem. There’s a recent study out about the factors influencing why teachers enter and stay in this profession."
Carol arrived for the meeting and caught the end of the conversation. "I'm wondering how all of these studies and government interventions are going to help kids like Ryan. I don't think they'll make a difference to him."
"Maybe we could all benefit from better data," said Matt. "And ways to manage it."
Mamacita sighed. "Come on, people, get happy. It’s the end of the semester! And time to enjoy some of the final moments that it brings."
Next week's Carnival will ably hosted by the Education Wonks. The deadline for entries is 9 p.m. PT, Tuesday, December 13. E-mail the wonks: owlshome[at]earthlink[dot]net. Thanks to all of you who promote and support the Carnival. This carnival is also registered at The Truth Laid Bear. Best wishes this holiday season to everyone!