I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

27 March 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Irritating

GOOD.
  • Going to the "Balenciaga and Spain" exhibit this week with another stylish Kindergarten teacher.
  • Jeremy's Sweeps sale brought this Armani salvage dress I'd been admiring since November to my home.  It's a little big, which makes it just right for Kindergarten wearing.
  • On break!  I'm going in one day to work and feed the snails and once to feed the snails and that's it.
  • At long last, I am clearing my closet and divvying up the rejects.
  • It seems reasonably likely that I will get another Resident Teacher next year.  I really think it's a neat program for teacher training and I love having a second adult in my room all the time.
BAD.
  • Still at 7 of 15 classroom teachers laid off.
  • What with the state budget and the all-talk-and-hand-wringing attitude toward equity in SFUSD, it's hard to imagine that changing.
  • Because I got very sick and actually had to leave school to go to the doctor, I still have two conferences to do.
IRRITATING.
  • I read my District email and in my SFUSD News Blast there were some platitudinous, Hallmarky sentiments from our Superintendent.  These were along the lines of "Even though we laid off half your staff and told you to come up with a budget that provides a generous twelve cents a child, y'all need to focus on meeting our goals of access, achievement and accountability.  It is just not Beyond the Talk to talk about all the stuff you're cutting and all your colleagues who are leaving."
...which, you know, is a lot easier a sentiment to talk about than to have, and one easier to have if you're not actually laid off and, frankly, make more than four of those laid off teachers do combined yet have taken no pay cut beyond furlough days.  It's also easier to stand up for those important values if I will be doing all the actual standing while you blame the state funding situation.  And it's a whole lot easier not to think about the people who might not be there if they don't comprise half the teaching staff of your site.
  • I filled out my survey about the 4 March PD.  Even though my actual name is on it, I tried to be honest, although I ended up putting in a lot of "don't knows".  (Also, the questions were kind of...I dunno, they were more about "Do you understand that we are doing inclusion and you better like it" than "Was the presenter good?  Do you feel we are ready for the important work of moving toward a services model?  What do you need to be ready for that model?" Of course, maybe these questions are only of primary importance to K-6-9 teachers this year.)  
  • Since I read the big report when it was released, I did not learn a lot of new facts.  Since someone at my school sits on the committee for this redesign, I generally can have all my questions answered right away.  Yet I have no idea how this will work out next year, and the parking lot questions I submitted have not been answered.
...this worries me because I am getting the feeling that, barring an incredible amount of work over the summer, the rollout is going to be pretty atrocious.  Again, it's easy to have a plan for an overdue redesign and it's a lot harder to live out that plan, particularly in a budget scenario like the one we've got.

I may be feeling this especially hard this week because I have had a lot of interaction with various service providers over the last couple of months.  Some have been awesome.  For instance, I filed a PT screen and heard from the screener the day she received it.  The screener also said she'd be happy to provide suggestions on activities and/or modifications in general: YAY!  Some have been teeth-grinding.  I feel like SFUSD's over-identification of poor children of color has among some providers led to a refusal to do any screening of poor children of color, even when a room full of professionals and the child's parents agree that despite the child's remarkable gifts, we are struggling to provide the experiences that will allow the child to learn.  I still think that screening - or just observing and providing suggestions - would cut down on over-identification while helping all children excel.  Yet more than once I've had the experience of asking for advice/observation and being given the strong sense that asking for help means that I am abdicating my responsibility for going Beyond the Talk.

And I'm not alone in that sense.  The attitude that educators are getting is toxic.  It inspires educators to avoid asking for help.  The children struggle, the educators struggle.  No one is happy.  No one is supported.

...and don't even get me started on RtI.  I am of the strong opinion (it's the ADHD) that little modifications should be widely available to all people, and that children benefit from knowing when they need a fidget/a deep breath or that they need a pencil grip/noise-canceling headphones to succeed.  So the idea of RtI seems great.  But a lot of RtI actually requires supplies, and while I did sew my own weighted stuffed animals and bought my own special pencils and HWT magna boards, I can't spend all of my money this way.  (It cuts down on my New York vacation pin money, and quite honestly a little souvenir from the Met isn't going to cut it.  I'm thinking dress.)

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