Well, it’s been a rollercoaster week being back at work, and not the good kind of rollercoaster (like this one below) either.
I very much enjoy setting my classroom up for the year and transforming my white concrete box of a room into a fun, colorful, and interesting place to be. I really like meeting my new students and their families. I can even get behind making up lesson plans and vocabulary lists.
On the other hand, I abhor meetings, particularly ones in which we are told “you are great– you are not doing your job– we are proud of you– you are pathetic– you deserve lots of money– you will not get a cost-of-living increase for the 3rd consecutive year– family is the most important thing– don’t take a day off because that costs us money…” etc. We get stuck in these meetings pretty frequently.
The bosses are all about numbers and money and charts and graphs (this is not new). They think that a child’s learning can and should be measured by a test. Indeed, they imply that anything that cannot be measured by a test should not be done in a classroom.
I, on the other hand, am all about children and personalities and fun and loving literature and making memories. I use tests, but only as a small part of a much larger whole. I feel that reducing children (or anyone, for that matter) to merely a data point is deeply disrespectful of their unique humanity. I care that all of my children learn that literature can be fun and that they can express themselves through words. I don’t care about the “lowest 25% making 10% gains if they are economically disadvantaged” [I kid you not. What does that even MEAN?!]. Needless to say, this puts me at odds with the powers-that-be.
My other complaint about the data analysis that the bosses ask us to do continually is that I (and many others) are not “numbers people.” Numbers intimidate me. No offense meant to the lovely people who are mathletic, but I’m not. Handing me a chart is all well and good, but I’m frankly never going to use it because it doesn’t compute in my brain. I would far rather be given words to look at, as they make sense to my mind. Write me a book for each class, detailing the children’s personalities, needs, wants, family life, abilities, learning styles, special needs, strengths, interests, etc– complete with table of contents, a detailed index, and room for notes. THAT would be helpful to me. But NO. We have to look at numbers. When did matematicians take over the world? And how do we get them to stop?
Thus, the rollercoaster that was my week. I’m happy the weekend is here.
Oh– by the way– it is Saturday. Check out my new library loot on the sidebar.