10 June 2006

Sibling Rivalry

I work with both elementary and secondary teachers. It's interesting to hear how each of them perceives the other---especially in terms of attention from the district.

My sixth grade teachers told me this week that the big discussion recently has been "How come secondary doesn't have to do the standards-based report card?" This has been a major source of upheaval in the district (and will likely continue to be over the next two years as it becomes phased in) and teachers have felt a bit put upon.

Secondary teachers? They want to know how come the elementaries get all of the instructional coaches and access to a whole other set of substitutes for professional development.

Principals' from the district's elementary schools were complaining on Tuesday that they want the program secondary has which allows teachers to go out and observe other teachers as a reflective tool.

Gimme. Gimme. Gimme. :)


Anonymous said...

"They want...."

Yeah, and the people in Hell want ice water, too.

The Science Goddess said...

I wonder if it's really one of those "Be careful what you wish for" kinds of thing.

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

There has been a lot of discussion about this in my district, too. The standards-based report card we've seen has required teachers to do assessment about 75% of the time at the cost of instruction. Over 50 indicators have to be asessed each grading period. This is insane.

I am in a unique position, having been in the middle school and now in a position at the high school. There IS a lot of jealousy-- "high school teachers have it easy, they can test the kids and send them home at finals at standardized testing time...." and on and on. From the other end: "Middle school teachers just pass kids along and have no concern about whether kids have learned anything." Both viewpoints are unjust for so many reasons. Middle school teachers do not make the decisions about retention. High school teachers have curriculum development and finals to grade.

But I will say that I feel less stress as a high school teacher.

Christine said...

Sounds a little bit like my district, only we have more players. All the elementaries (PK-4) in the district feed into an intermediate school (where I work) for two years, after which they're fed into a middle school for two years, and then on to the high school for their remaining 4 years.

Every single school (including mine) is guilty of pointing the finger. Some of the complaining is about things that are truly a concern, some of the complaining is a lack of understanding about how things are done at each school. Unfortunately, and most detrimentally, most of the schools have disagree violently about what's best for the kids. Rather than having a single vision for the entire district, each school does what it thinks is best.

I can't tell you what this means for us, when all 6 elementaries hit our school for the first time. This school taught a lot of science, but almost no social studies, that school over there taught mostly social studies and the little science they did teach was from the fifth grade curriculum, that school over there has a hinky reading program and they think their kids are better readers than they actually are...

I know for a fact that the middle school has plenty of bad things to say about us. And yet, I couldn't imagine working anywhere else in the district. I love our school and what we've done.

We have a new superintendent coming in this year; I wonder what's in store for us. I will cry like a baby if we're forced to adopt some of the policies pushed at the higher levels. But the truth is we're often seen as an afterthought (and sometimes this is a good thing), the way station on the way to the middle school.

Blah, blah, blah I could go on and on (and maybe I will on my own blog, since I've been lax in updating), but I think it's the nature of the beast to think the grass is greener on the "other side".