26 October 2007

Being the Grown-Up

I think the teachers I am around have either been around teens so long that they have adopted their habits...or they're just not terribly bright. I'm not sure which prospect is more frightening.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked the other biology teachers if they wanted to work together on some intervention strategies for the sophs. After all, this is the only school in the district where scores in science have declined every year. Perhaps there should be an attempt to do something different in the hopes of getting different results? One teacher told me that she only uses the standards when convenient...another blew me off...and the third told me that he only bothers with WASL prep a month before the test. The third one bothers me in the sense that this is someone who thinks we should teach to the test, which is completely devoid from his curriculum. It's my understanding that, by law, we are required to teach what the state and district identify for us to teach. This is not a new mindset with this school, but at some point, don't you think the teachers would look around and realize that maybe what they're doing isn't working? Does blaming everyone else ever get old and give way to more adult-like reflection?

On Thursday, the science teachers at the other two high schools got together for some collaborative discussion. My school? Not invited to the roundtable. Mind you, this school was the one who had their principal send a note excusing them from every district science meeting last year. I'm not surprised the other high schools have given up on working with the staff. I was surprised at how indignant they were not to have been included. Hey, your poop don't stink, right? What could you possibly learn from others? I think that depriving this school of the right to say that "We don't need anybody." was what really ticked them off. Instead, the precious time to collaborate was spent grading papers, playing fantasy football, washing dishes, or schmoozing---whatever individual pursuits looked most interesting.

It is the end of a long week---which means I'm definitely ready to fuss. My store of optimism has just about hit the "E" mark on the tank.

Instead, I need to accept the good things that did happen. I did a nice little intervention with kids on Wednesday---and it paid off on their tests today. Time will tell if the help sticks in the long term, but the progress is truly jawdropping so far. It's hard for me to understand why other teachers don't want to be the grown-ups in the classroom when the students are waiting for us to mentor them.


Hugh O'Donnell said...

I always joke about teachers taking on the mental and emotional aspects of their students. (One can usually tell the difference between elementary, middle, and high school teachers at any multi-grade gathering.)

Maybe it's not a joke.

BTW, high school teachers are the ones who take themselves too seriously. :D

Hugh aka Repairman

PS: I have absolutely no data to back up these assertions. :)

PPS: Congrats on the intervention. I'm sorry that your peers are so uncaring.

The Science Goddess said...

Data or no data, I agree with you. :)

I heard a presenter joke once that you could tell which age teachers worked with by their response to the presentation. Elementary teachers: "Should we be taking notes?" Jr. High: "Notes? No one told me I needed any paper for this." High School: "If it was important, there would be handouts."