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

Saturday, December 01, 2007

At least watching paint dry would be quiet and relaxing

So we had some staff development time scheduled. We could use some that would accomplish something.

The problem was that this staff development was supposed to be about analyzing standardized testing data. That certainly is something that has become vital in this day and age, yessir.

Except for one small problem.

We don't got no stinkin' data.

Ever since NCLB, nobody gives a hangnail about social studies, and we haven't been tested through state assessment in ages.

But, okay, it's still fine, we could still learn some things that maybe someday could be useful.

But we got to listen to a gentleman who had been flown hundreds of miles in to be our consultant talk on and on and on and on. It took him seven and a half hours to talk about something that we completely grasped in 20 minutes.

For. The. Love. Of. Mike.


This was a 90% waste of money, and a 95% waste of time.

Here are some ideas that could be useful:
Violence prevention. Morale and team building-- we sorely need it after a rough six months in which the staff pulled together after tragedies and valiantly gave freely of their own time to re-establish our community's sense of equilibrium. Or perhaps strategies to improve student fluency and especially vocabulary in the content areas. More training for teachers with co-teachers-- PLEASE! More training on our idiotic gradebook program.

And that's just for starters.

If you don't feed the teachers, they'll eat the students. Well not really, but they certainly will get surly or exhausted.

We teachers live under the tyranny of the clock in a way that apparently our administrators have forgotten. Each moment is precious. Please don't waste our time.



At 12/2/07, 6:16 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

"If you don't feed the teachers, they'll eat the students."

How long before you think someone figures this out and starts treating teachers right? I'm not holding my breath...

At 12/2/07, 8:12 AM, Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

"If you don't feed the teachers, they'll eat the students."

Thank you, Ms. Cornelius, for this trenchant observation, so delightfully well phrased. I think I can use it as the basis for a limerick. I can feel the creative juices flowing already!

At 12/2/07, 8:49 AM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

Every once in a while they feed us- but it's usually at the beginning of the year when we are in a pretty good mood. Then we expect it and are sorely disappaointed when we get nuttin' in October.
This inservice sounds exactly like my last inservice. I teach Spanish, I have no data either. By the end of those meetings, I am ready to stab my self in the neck with my pen.
Oh, and our gradebook program is horrible as well. Wonder if they are one in the same?

At 12/2/07, 11:06 AM, Blogger Rita said...

But social studies DOES have data. It's just called Comm Arts. It won't tell you much about content, but it sure as heck will tell you about skills. I think English and Social Studies are sister departments -- not only because we can collaborate for some courses (we have a couple that are team taught), but because they're both all about reading and writing and critical thinking. Too bad your big-shot consultant didn't see that and show you how necessary you guys are to Comm Arts scores.

I'll try not to eat my students this week. I like that goal. Might get me through until Christmas.

At 12/2/07, 10:01 PM, Blogger kontan said...

So many times our prof. dev. opportunities seem to be nothing but another opportunity to "toot our horn" or simply a complete waste of time. Either way, waste of time. We complete surveys that express needs, but the prof. dev. always misses the mark. Too bad SS keeps getting pushed to the back of the list of things important to learn...

Great post, so true.

At 12/3/07, 10:12 PM, Blogger kontan said...

Read this post last night...guess what I had to do this afternoon. OMG!

At 12/4/07, 7:45 AM, Blogger EdWonk said...

Each and every Thursday, after a full-day's work, our administrators call us into a staff meeting for some 2 1/2 hours, often with only 1 ten-minute break.

At least once per month, we get "developed" by some outside consultant who has been very well-paid in order to "service" us.

With the exception of the school's principal, (who is there for crowd-control, if you know what I mean.) our administrative corps are exempted from this tribulation.

After all this, we get to go home and grade papers, plan lessons, etc.

At 12/4/07, 10:53 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Edwonk, that just sucks. Really.

We also have weekly "staff development," but that is usually too appalling to discuss, since it would ratchet up the whinging to a really disgusting level around here....

At 12/7/07, 6:22 PM, Blogger EHT said...

Your useful ideas for staff development are very on target, but when did anyone listen to us? You ideas just make too much sense. :)


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