A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, August 11, 2005

That's MRS. Old School to you

So I wandered on back to the ol’ schoolhouse to check my mail and see if my AP scores were in. And there was a copy of some new rules/procedures for the upcoming hitch. One that caught my eye was a clarification of our new definition of gang activity.

I am stunned. I didn’t know it before, but apparently I and my fellow teachers actually belong to a gang, which is defined as two or more individuals who:

- Create a climate of fear and intimidation within the community/school. The power to write referrals or use a red pen is the power to destroy. Some are better at this than others.

-Claim a neighborhood or geographical territory. Well let's see.... There's the social studies wing, the math wing, the science wing, the counselor's office, the business wing, and so on. And we are territorial about it.

-Wear distinctive types of clothing or exhibit distinctive appearance. We're got the special staff oxford shirts, we've got the wrinkles and the bags under our eyes, and for the most part, our pants aren't sagging off our butts (if they are, it's an anatomical oddity, not a fashion statement) which certainly makes us stand out from the kids.

-Use a name, a common identifying sign or symbol, or has an identifiable leadership. Teachers take turns sitting on the BLT (Building Leadership Team), practically all of us carry coffee cups for survival, and everyone knows the principals.

-Have a high rate of interaction among members to the exclusion of other groups. Ever taken a spouse or a date to a staff get-together? Do they have the slightest idea what we talk about? Do they care?

- Communicate in a peculiar or unique style. Repeat after me: drop, overfill, paradigm shift, authentic assessment, performance assessment, differentiated instruction, Fry Readability Graph, graphic organizer, IEP, ISS, 504, IDEA, NCLB, K-W-L, LEP, multiple intelligences, Howard Gardner, assertive discipline, Family Math, manipulatives, textual intelligence, fishbowl, diamante, cooperative learning, normed score, standard deviation, site council, sheltered English, Title I, differently abled....

Yep. We got 'em all. We're a gang. And now that I think about it, let's look at the last descriptor, which I was willing to give ourselves a break on:

- Commit criminal acts (including violence, drug use or distribution, and acts of intimidation) or exhibit antisocial behavior on a regular basis. Well, I would hope that most of us were not committing criminal acts, but it’s that second part that gets you. Is valium or extra-strength Tylenol really a drug, or is each merely a survival tool? Antisocial? Talk to me when the February doldrums roll around, and everyone is suffering from seasonal affective disorder, or during last minute cramming for NCLB-mandated tests....

Just something to think about. Happy end of summer!

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At 8/11/05, 1:23 PM, Blogger Dan Edwards said...

HeHe....sounds about like my Jr. High School too! Fun Post!
And, Thanks for linking me on your blogroll! I have added your blog on my blogroll. I look forward to reading you blog and I hope you come by mine again. I usually post at least once a week, sometimes twice a week. Have a Great School Year!


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