Thursday, January 22, 2009

Put A Fork In Me...

I think you know how the rest of that little saying goes.

I'm so disappointed in myself. Here it is 22 days into 2009 and I was doing such a good job of staying positive. I'm loving my class more and even getting some better results out of Big Boy. Everything was coming up roses with my new Positive Attitude for 2009, until today. Today, friends, I was reminded of my relative place in the food chain. It's on the bottom in case you were wondering. The very bottom. Sometimes, I think even the mice are tolerated more than the teachers are...at least they are left alone.

Where to begin? Well, as you could have guessed, the source of my angst is a meeting with the Bacon Hunter. If I could find a room full of bacon, stuff her in it and lock the door, it would be a happy day. I fantasize about the trip to Costco, the frying, the distinct smell of bacon luring her closer and closer until, WHAM, I lock the door and live happily ever after. I think she might even be happier in that room of bacon too, because then she wouldn't have to pretend to work anymore. Evidently pretending to work is harder than actually working, because she is barely able to keep her eyes open during our forced meetings and never, ever brings anything to the table. Except a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, of course.

My ranting aside, let me tell you my little tale of testing. Testing, testing and more testing. As I have said before, we are about one test shy of requiring full body scans. Today in our math meeting we were talking about (can you guess?) testing. Since I have been working in my school, we have been lucky enough to have tons of professional development in math. As a result, we are all teaching in significantly smarter ways than we were years ago. While we do have a math program in place, we use it as a guide (rather than a bible) and allow room to craft lessons that better suit the needs and realities of our students. It's all really very exciting when you are a huge nerd such as myself.

Unfortunately, I don't think the Bacon Hunter understands a word of it. Or at least she has done nothing in the last few years to demonstrate any enthusiasm or understanding. Whatever, she sucks.

Since we do use a math program, there are also pre-made tests for us to give to our students. They are OK. However, since we have been rocking math lately, we decided it might be better to tailor the tests to match the more authentic work we have been doing as well as specifically address our particular math standards. Sounds fabulous, right? A bunch of teachers who are willing to put in extra work and create new assessments rather than make a trip to the photocopier...utopia! But no, in OUR world, we have to "know our place" and "stick to the chain of command." All this means that the Bacon Hunter needs to present this to the administration and ask for permission.

Sweet.

The answer was no. Just no. Like we're a bunch of five year olds begging to go to the bathroom or something.

Ok, it wasn't TOTALLY no. The answer was, keep giving the old test, but IN ADDITION to that and EVERYTHING ELSE you are ALREADY DOING, you can add your test too. No, in fact we DEMAND that you add your test too.

It went a little something like this:

Bacon Hunter: (slumped over table) He said no.
Me: Just no? Why? Did he say why?
Bacon Hunter: (eyes barely open) No, just that he wants you to do both now. You can't stop doing one.
Me: But why would we do twice as much work and waste that much instructional time on another test?
Bacon Hunter: (nostrils flared, desperately seeking the scent of bacon that remained on her grease stained notebook) The answer was no. Oh, and I need you to re-do this other test that I made?
Me: Wait, not only do we need to give BOTH tests, but now you want US to do YOUR job too?
Bacon Hunter: (grunting)
Me: Enough said.

So while the Bacon Hunter gets to continue her never-ending search for more bacon (rather than produce actual results for children), we will be responsible for creating and administering yet another test. 'Cuz more tests are better, right?

On the way out of the building today (I ran screaming from it at a very early hour as a direct result of this meeting and my subsequent disgust with the system), I almost asked The Visionary to check the bottom of his shoe....just in case some of me was still stuck to it.

9 comments:

Cassy said...

Hey there - sometimes I wonder if we're in the same district (or school!), you and me. I'm struggling to stay positive, but they (bacon hunters and the like) are really bringing us down. It's out of control, the testing thing.

LeeAnne said...

WTF were you thinking?!?!?! Teachers can't have good ideas...we know nothing about what's best for the kids we spend 8 hours a day with.

Michelle said...

I will have to share this with a friend and work colleague of mine ...OMG also it reminds me I have about two weeks of holidays left and then I return to work, teaching at a high school in Tasmania, Australia.

At least you care about your students so at the end of the day YOU are making a difference. As for the rest of the sh** ...try not to let it stress you. Who will be the kids remember? YOU..(I love the way you write!)

Cathy said...

that sux!

Mary Louise Brooks said...

Sort of OT but something about the BS we deal with everyday ... I had a legit question about coverage. Our principal wants to start using specialists to cover absences. We were asked for our co-teaching times, the times we are in other classrooms teaching. I contacted the union to see if they can pull us out of our teaching times to teach another class. What did the almighty OZ tell me? Contact my building rep, who actually told me to contact the union. And, btw, don't use your school email anymore, use a personal email. WTF? This is a legit school question not a mass emailing to my friends on what time to meet at the bar! And to think 1% of my pay goes to these wastes of human flesh! Maybe Bacon Hunter should look into getting a job as a union rep. Now there's a doing-nothing job!

Rebecca Bell, Ph.D. said...

UG. So frustrating. Perhaps you can throw a shoe at the next staff meeting in manner of journalist throwing shoe at Bush? The admin would never get it together and do the actual work it would take to fire you! ;)

Michelle said...

Have nominated you for a Premip Dardosd award. See my blog for details.

Michelle :)

jonathan said...

Saying no to the test was one thing (one stupid thing, but one thing). Doubling the testing? That should be challenged. You have tenure? Someone else involved does?

Start with a conversation. Then Article 24, Section A, Paragraph 1, line (d). The contract covers disputes over testing. In this case, they are so far in the wrong...

Whoever is safest should contact the CL or the DR and ask how and whether to proceed.

dkzody said...

>>But no, in OUR world, we have to "know our place" and "stick to the chain of command."<<

Could you possibly teaching in my district? Or, do all large districts have this mantra?

PS, I'm in Fresno.

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