Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Like This

The Reflective Educator:

In December, I wrote about a few of the things that make my job difficult. There are so many more, though. It seems like incredible amounts of work are often sabotaged (intentionally and unintentionally) at every level of education. Moreover, teachers are regularly put in precarious legal situations that would make any sane person reconsider their job on a daily basis. The result is that I complete so many tasks that are a waste of my time because of incredibly poor organizational management and political ineptitude. Here are a few examples from my daily experiences.

It is kind of surprising to me that you don't see more posts like this. I suppose it doesn't seem like news to teachers, and they don't want to sound like whiners, but it is necessary because:

And to all the education pundits who've never spent a day teaching in a school like mine and like to argue that spending more money on education shouldn't be part of the answer, you can go fuck yourselves.

And this is in Joel Klein's 2011 New York, not Welcome Back Kotter.


Leroy's Mom said...

There are a number of forces that combine to build a wall of silence around conditions at schools.
That post was really excellent and hit at the heart of the everyday indignities that folks going to and working in high poverty urban schools face. But admitting to the legal grey areas we often enter in the course of our jobs goes against the advice of unions. Mine recently presented a "horror show" of stories about Facebook, and said we should not write about matters "related to our job or site on social networks".
After seeing that, I had a backstage discussion with some edubloggers in high poverty schools like myself. Basically, most have of us have either explicitly or implicitly made a deal with our district/principal/boss to focus most of our critique on "larger issues." So we write about Michelle Rhee, instead of our own superintendent or administrator to avoid charges of "insubordination". We write about NCLB, instead of about the lousy lunches at our schools. Most of us skirt at the edges of confronting a system that is absurd and sometime cruel. It's the path of least resistance. Our unions may be giving us great "legal" advice in telling us to be quiet, but it's LOUSY political advice because the result is there are few authentic voices about the conditions we work under that are heard by the general public, and that is what is killing teachers’ unions in this argument.

Tom Hoffman said...

There are lots of subtle distinctions which will vary in different contexts. What I'm referring to here specifically is posts about the objective difficulties of teaching that people outside teaching wouldn't necessarily understand otherwise. Like going to the bathroom.

And of course, "Today I waited two hours to pee... again." Isn't a gripping tweet, let alone a blog post.

Maybe this is the kind of thing that needs to be deployed in the comments of other people's blogs and newspaper cess pits more than in one's own.

Also, when I worked in a rural district in Connecticut, the annual budget referendum required extensive Kabuki to plead poverty, so I could almost imagine administration wanting teachers to blog about not having paper, etc. in that town!

Leroy's Mom said...

Well the local paper has given me this golden opportunity to share my most challenging teaching assignment, by doing a front page story on Success Academy, where I taught for three years.
The nice part is I don't have to write a thing.