I have high expectations and it’s all your fault.

I have spent the better part of the last two years reading your blogs.  I have talked to you on twitter.  I have chatted with you on g-chat.  I have called you on the phone. I have used materials you generate in my classroom.

So pretty much you ruined me for trainings and professional developmental.  I am currently training for a summer school program that I was very excited about.  It take students in the basic category and it’s goal is to pump them up for algebra.  Great right?  Such a good plan.

So the first day I go in to this totally pumped (as pumped as one can be at 8 am) and the lady talks about the common core.  I’m excited.  I love the common core.  I love the stuff she’s talking about.  I raise my hand and share how I am always nervous about standards that use the verb understand because I find it notoriously hard to assess.  She takes this as a personal criticism (I should have figured out something was amiss here) and cuts me off.  Someone else in the group thanks me for my comment.

Then later on in a “number talk” someone is explaining something and I ask a question with out raising my hand.  I get this, “no Sophie we are not going to interrupt people we have to let them get it all out.  you can have your turn later.”  Okay, fine except about 30 seconds later this woman interrupts the same guy. Several times.

So at this point I’m annoyed with these people and I don’t want to participate but I do like the hands on cool stuff we are doing.  So I think, “fine, I can get behind this if it’s going be all hand ons and interactive.”

Well it’s not.  It’s series of 60 lessons meant to be taught 3 per day for 20 days. These kids in summer school will be doing 4 hours of math instruction per day.  And it’s not hands on.  We are expected to do about 2 pages of notes per lesson (6 per day).  There is a TON of lecturing.

So I’m asking questions, “How will I do hands on in 45 minutes?” “How does your curriculum match with the other things you have been teaching me?” “Why does she keep saying we should do more than just cover when we only have 45 minutes?” “What the fuck?” (okay I didn’t say that.)

So by about half way through day two I am fuming it takes minimum 25 minutes to convert their “scripted” lesson to a lesson plan not per day but per lesson.  That’s an hour of prep for each day of summer school.  That’s 20 hours of prep.  I’m sorry but this is summer school.  The kids are not going to buy in to this.

So at this point they are doing an EL lesson (one that I have done 5 or 6 times) and I get pulled outside by the head honcho guy.  He says, “Every year we have teachers who aren’t going to cut it and maybe you are just not invested enough. This is a lot to do and there are some teachers that are just 8- 3:30 teachers.”

I responded by explaining that I didn’t understand the connection between the stuff they were teaching us and the curriculum.  That this new untaught curriculum was not only unedited but WRONG* in several places.  That I was a 7-6 teacher and that there were already students emailing me to tell me they are in my class.  Mostly though, that I had spent two days being treated like a child and talked down to.

Anyway, long story short (too late) I am still teaching summer school.  I was told to teach it as scripted but also do what’s best for my students. I have yet to figure out what that means. I found out later he called my principal because the trainers thought I wasn’t invested.  Guess what? I wasn’t.

*direct quotes from text “to convert a decimal to a fraction you divide by 100 then simplify”  “examples of irrational numbers are pi and 6″

I have very high expectations.  They were not met. In fact, they were not even approached.

12 thoughts on “I have high expectations and it’s all your fault.

  1. What a nightmare. I’m so sorry. You know, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised by how many people think so lowly of teachers when people within the field-check that, supposed leaders within the field-feel that way. He called your principal? Who’s HIS supervisor?

  2. Wait. 6 isn’t irrational??? That sound you heard is my whole world tumbling down.

    And I sympathize. As you know, I got the “you’re not being a team player” speech recently as well. Because clearly team player means suck it up and do what you’re told.

    1. I have also heard the “You’re not a team player” speech. My current response is “which team?”
      As a teacher I do what’s best for kids. Ok, I admit I don’t always know what’s best BUT I generally know what isn’t good.
      I’ll never be the ‘follow us blindly’ team player. And That’s that!!

    2. Jason-

      Imagine my dismay when I heard this tonight in person. Beer pouring forth out my nose. 6 is no longer considered irrational? Somebody call Stephen Colbert — pronto!

      - Elizabeth (aka @cheesemonkeysf on Twitter)

  3. It’s almost always entertaining (not in the good way) when people who have sold a too-good-to-be-true product to a school district come face to face with the teachers who are supposed to implement it. Followed closely by their own insecurity.

    I hate the “understand” standards, too and the common core is lousy with them.

  4. “Great spirits have always encountered violent oppostion from mediocre minds.” ~Albert Einstein

    I hope you keep your expectations high and your voice raised. The system tries to make us into cogs. You are not a cog!

  5. Reading this a bit late, but thank you for your vent. It’s funny that I often feel the same frustrations in PD… and I’ve had similar run-ins with “the law”. It’s sad, but somehow comforting, to hear about your experience.

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