Tuesday, October 04, 2005

day 26

So, this idea of posting every day was quite the pipe dream... but at least I can write once in a while.

I missed my second day of class today; I had to go to an all-day BTSA training. See, I'm a "support provider" teacher, and I can't just give advice, I have to be trained to give advice. This was the second seven-hour training in two weeks. I can choose to go to afterschool trainings, Saturday trainings, or release day trainings. None are great choices. I would like to have a life after school, I really don't want to give up Saturdays, and having a sub is always more work than it's usually worth. I have not had a sick day in the last two years; because our sub list is so small, and it's usually easier to just come in and teach than try to set things up for someone else.

So, BTSA. A friend of mine calls it "Shitsa" because she hates it so much. It's required now in California for new teachers; they can't get their clear credentials until they have completed the two year program. I lucked out; BTSA existed on a much smaller scale when I was a new teacher, and our district didn't participate in it. I was thrown in to the water of the classroom, and I didn't sink.

Not that I was a strong swimmer most days, but I figured it out.

Anyway, a first or second year teacher is just trying to keep his or her head above water, and now they've added another hoop for each to jump through. My "participating teacher" as she's called, has to meet with me at least once a week, has assignments to complete, has her own trainings to attend six times this year, and attends a monthly BTSA meeting with me as well. I have to do observations of her classroom teaching, and she has two days in which she is to be observing other teachers.

In theory, the idea of a mentor teacher is a good one. In practice, it's full of forms and papers that must be filled out and signed. We are supposed to have a choice whether or not we want to participate in the program as "support providers," but when asked in front of the new teacher, during a department meeting, and told "you are the only one who can do it," and are reminded that she has to complete this program to get her clear credential, well, what are you supposed to do? Say no?

I will get $1100 for doing this. For the year. I worked it out with the hours involved; it's about $15 an hour. It eats up so much time.

Add to this the time spent as the reading co-ordinator, and my after-school tutorial program, and the Diversity Committee I'm on... When do I lesson plan?

I don't teach at the university, so why do I feel so compelled to take on all these other responsibilities?

Grr... I just want to teach.


Mac said...

Hooray for you! The most formative teachers in my life were, by-and-large from Junior High School. The teachers all vary in subject, but none of them was math.

A sample: Shirly Jennings, 7th grade. She taught us how to use the Little Brown Grammar and how to read. Steinbeck's The Pearl,a "non-teleological" parable of hope. Mr. Arthur Harrington, English (unsure of the grade, but I'm pretty sure he drank.) He introduced the idea of a word-a-day vocabulary journal. He also taught passion for poetry, my introduction to Howard Frost. The Science Teachers, especailly in CP/AP classes, also made an impression.

What you do is so important. I aplaud you, and I have no children.
Bless you for undoing the damage that gets done at home with intellectual challenge.

EdWonk said...

Welcome to the EduSphere! Found your place by accident; I like what I see and look forward to learning more.

I teach in a California junior high school.

Keep writing!

Mr. McNamar said...

I love missing days for meetings. My first official year was last year, and in the first semester alone, I attended 11 different all day meetings.
To put it in perspective, this year, I have attende zero, and am almost a month ahead of where I was last year!
Thanks for stopping by my blog; I will be sure to add you to my list.

BTSA_SUCKS said...

Kerry Mazzoni, who wrote the law SB2042 which is stamped on your credential seems to think teachers are the problem. She told me I am not cut out for the profession because I challeneged her to do something about the mess she created while she was a State Assembly Member. She has written other insulting letters to those who have expressed their frusterations about btsa. She's now a lobbyist in Sacramento and cannot retaliate against people who are furious with her about her SB2042 and subsequent comments to those who voiced their opinion and what she has done. Here is her phone# and email, both of which work. Let her know how you feel, she needs to hear it! Call her at (916) 552-2629, this is the number on the phone at her desk. Her email is kmazzoni@teamgsi.net

Be prepared for a response that would reflect the knowledge and attitude of those who make educational policy with no experience teaching in a public school. She needs to hear from anyone who is outraged about the institutionalized hazing that btsa bestows upon us.