Saturday, November 05, 2005

Put on a Happy Face

Lots of folks at school have been commenting on my attitude this year. They say I'm positive, and full of enthusiasm.

I bet they think I'm on drugs.

Although I do like my Vicoden, that's not it. And it's not that I am not riled up at least once a day. I am still just as pissed off about what's happening to education because of standardized tests as the next thinking person.

What's changed is the sight and sound of me banging my head against that stone wall.

Mr. Principal doesn't have a clue about curriculum, and never will. He would like us to teach out of the Holt Rinecourt and Winston textbook, and be on the same page at the same time.

He doesn't get it. I try my best, but I'm not going to be the one to bring him around. His brain is not big enough to get around the idea that a good English teacher, doesn't need to teach "Broken Chain" by Gary Soto, to teach plot structure. Even though that's what our textbook uses.

The latest was last week when we all started drooling over the new novels that came in. Another teacher and I worked our butts off to get them approved by the school board. The librarian ordered them at the beginning of September. Ms. Second year teacher and I were discussing how we could both use The House of the Scorpion at the same time (not enough class sets for that), when we were overheard by Ms. Assistant Principal.
"How are you ladies going to fit that in with all the other work you have to do with your classes?"
"uh... we're going to use it to teach Response to Literature... yeah... that's it."
"Isn't there already an example in the textbook for that? I'm not sure you have enough time for a novel."


So no, I'm not happy happy joy joy about all this. But, I'm going to bide my time. Teach from the textbook (mostly anyway), so that next year, I'll know exactly what is expected in each unit in the textbook, when I go back to actually creating some of the lessons that I teach.

I did however, point out to Mr. Principal, that at our district meeting for "best practices" we all shared our best practices with each other, and at the same time, realized that they didn't fit in with the "Year-at-a-glance" Teacher's mapping guide that came with our textbooks.

At the same time they are demanding excellence, they are taking away our ability to demonstrate it.

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