11 February 2006

blogs by teachers

I stumbled across this via gawker and another teaching blog. But there are some links there to other teacher blogs. Seems like much of their time is spent complaining, which to me means they are being acted upon more than acting. If it's so bad, leave! And many of the complaints about misbehaving students are textbook testimonials from teachers who have bad lesson plans, or no idea what they are doing. Make the material interesting, thought provoking, and relevant and then sit back and watch the magic happen. Please.

Also a common thread you will see in these blogs, at least for the city teachers, is an additional 150 minutes of teaching time added to the schedule (in order to get our raise, which was advertised as 14%, but is actually 4% this year and then 3% for each of the next three years - so really a raise to match inflation, so really no raise at all). At my school this time was divided into three 50 minute periods, one on Mon, Tues, and Thurs.

The periods are supposed to be about helping failing kids, and at my school will be. We are going to have tutoring and extra help in all classes and each teacher is obligated to stay for the time and obligated to be working with kids. I saw on one teacher's blog (in a school that divided the time into four blocks of 37.5 minutes each) that they are going to have a quiet reading period one day and work on Romeo & Juliet the other three. Weird that kids who need after school help so bad could have time to add a Shakespeare to their lives.

There are three more years to the contract, and it doesn't seem likely that the teachers union would be able to get this extra time revoked. Can you imagine the headlines? "Teachers don't want to help the most needy kids!" Etc. What I expect is that suddenly fewer kids are going to be failing. Not because the tutoring is really going to help, but because students who fail are mandated to go to after-school tutoring, staffed by teachers. No failing kids, no need to do after school tutoring. Can I go home now? AND, my other guess is that the 150 minutes is going to be spent on test prep, not good old-fashion thinking.

Here's one whiny math teacher's blog and associated links to other blogs. To be honest, to blog about work has never crossed my mind. I burn enough mental energy there, and getting ready to be there, that I don't think I could bear to spend more time writing commentary about it.

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