Friday, July 22, 2011


Rahm's kids to private school
"The problem with Lab is that it doesn't educate kids the way Emanuel says he wants the public schools to educate them. None of the top private schools do. The testing that's supposed to hold mediocre teachers accountable makes good teachers feel like dogs on leashes." -- Michael Miner at the Reader


  1. I'm starting a new job in September and on the interview I told my future principal that it was important to me to work for someone who presumed that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing in the classroom. I wanted to work with someone who showed respect for my opinions and ideas. After all, after 14 years of teaching I think I know a little bit about how to teach. She agreed completely and I accepted the postIon. I'm teaching summer school so that I get to know the school a bit before I start in the Fall, and I have discovered I made a horrible mistake. She comes into my room all the time - of course I understand she can and should, but she doesn't come in to check in or offer support, she comes in to critique EVERYTHING. She interrupted class the other day while kids were writing dialogue journals to tell the kids they didn't have proper headings on their page. She later told me the kids didn't seem as "focused" as they could have been while writing. Maybe because she interrupted the class to talk about headings for a few minutes. She told me I shouldn't sit at tables with kids and have my back turned to anyone in the class. I'm too loose, I'm too loud. I have to be more structured and not let kids "get away" with too much. I have "to reach out to kids and smooth over any disagreements" while also being tough and building relationships. I shouldn't spend too much time in class with a kid who's struggling. If I want to, I can spend a half hour with this student after class. This is after the student and I have worked a 5-hour day with just a short break! It goes on and on. I resent deeply being micromanaged in this way. I don't want kids to write a heading on a page in their journal. I think I should be able to spend 10 extra minutes with a poor kid who is struggling mightily to understand. I think I should be able to "build relationships" with kids by sitting at their table and giving them 5 minutes of my undivided attention. Just because I don't teach a class exactly as she would, doesn't mean I'm not doing a good job. It just means I have a different style, but apparently this is not allowed anymore. I went home last night completely disheartened and depressed wondering why I teach anymore. I used to love teaching and now I'm counting the days until retirement.

  2. God, I feel your pain. The system is jammed with principals like this now. It's always been true that principals had their pets - it seemed just a normal part of working in a school. It didn't t really matter if the principal didn't like a teacher personally because the teacher had some job protection. Now if a principal decides for whatever reason (you don't part your hair on the correct side) that s/he doesn't like you - look out. And it hurts kids because as you say, you can't spend time with struggling students, you can't effectively discipline kids, you can't use your own judgement in the classroom even if your instruction is based on pedagogically sound ideas. The bottom line is curbing the rights of teachers hurts kids. It also drives away experienced and creative teachers.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.