How many in the education system are working under a different philosophy? How many teachers out there are laboring under "What's easiest for me?" The number of legislators thinking about "How many voters like me?" Can we quantify the amount of administrators who pick their battles on things other than student learning happening in their buildings? How many times will the Union step in to say that as long as teachers are happy, it doesn't matter what kids learn?
Maybe the problem is with me...maybe my philosophy about being in education is all wrong. Perhaps what happens in the classroom is not supposed to be about kids at all.
I was thinking today about a grade level group of teachers at one school who are having a bit of a tantrum about the new science kits this year. In their defense, I will say that they are teaching at the grade level which has experienced the most significant change to its curriculum and that the kits represent some heavy duty learning. Not so much in their defense, I will say that this is the school where their literacy coach had chest pains after trying to deal with their tantrums and was taken away in an ambulance. The staff there has quite the reputation. To wit, there is talk of involuntary transfers out of that building to shake things up...and the Union has already told staff there that they're not going to prevent it. The staff doesn't see themselves as bad apples---and there are some teachers there who are a delight to work with. But the ones who wrote me today? Not so much.
They have another curriculum they want to teach instead. So, here's where I am sitting...
- The alternate they propose does not consist of district approved materials. It's not bad science, but does not necessarily address the same standards as the kit they're boycotting.
- It's not my job to monitor what is or isn't used in the classroom: that task belongs to the principal.
- The principal at this school is a lame duck. Not only is she being moved to another building at the end of the year (as are several other admins), but her staff as a whole does not respect her.
- The Union keeps having a fit over the concept of academic freedom for classrooms...never mind that the case law doesn't back them up.
- The WAC (state code) states that teachers must teach the curriculum which is selected for them.
- Boss Lady 2.0 is certain not to back me up on anything I say to these teachers.
- The legislature seems to be rather fickle about what it wants in the science standards, as well as their assessment.
- None of the above have a student-centered philosophy.