Friday, April 11, 2008

AFTER-SCHOOL UPDATE

You know you work for CPS when ...
(Professional development day edition)
  • The parking lot is half-empty 15 minutes before the day begins.
  • In your mailbox is an IMPACT report listing all the days you neglected to input attendance on your trusty CPS-issued laptop computer.
  • You remind anyone who will listen that your CPS-issued laptop's monitor burned out months ago.
  • You try to get the attendance problems sorted out before the staff meeting, but when you try to log in you get an error message: "The system cannot log you in now because the domain is not available."
  • You decide to walk around the building and discover that several of your friends aren't even here. Smart bastards called in sick.
  • You finally log into the computer system and discover that you did enter attendance on most dates listed on the report. You hit the "save" button but still get a message saying the attendance is "not submitted."
  • As you walk into the student lunchroom for the staff meeting, a counselor asks you when you're planning to submit assignments for a homebound student.
  • When you inform the counselor that you personally handed the assignments to her two days ago, she looks at you like she's never seen you before in her life.
  • The counselor then calls over to another teacher, "Excuse me, Ms. D." That teacher is not Ms. D. In fact, that teacher and Ms. D. aren't even in the same department.
  • The principal takes the microphone and makes some joke about it being the first day of spring. Nobody laughs.
  • The principal encourages the teachers to please try to pass more students and informs us that our current graduation rate is something like 50 percent.
  • A couple of teachers sitting next to you chat away during the entire meeting.
  • When you ask one of them to keep it down, he gives you the finger.
  • Following another attempt at humor and good cheer, the principal announces that, because of the lower projected enrollment, eight teaching positions will be closed next year.
  • Which means that almost 40 positions will have been lost in the last three years.
  • The talking teachers finally shut up.
  • Someone asks the assistant principal about a recent code red. Very little information is shared. It wasn't a drill. But it wasn't real, either.
  • Following the meeting, teachers meet with their departments, where they are told about everything lesson plans will now have to include: a technology component, special ed modifications, something about GOING GREEN, a service learning component, as well as daily objectives and whatever else.
  • At said meeting, teachers break into groups to design common assessments for the remainder of the year, as well as the entire curriculum for next year.
  • In your group, one teacher spends the entire time talking about individual students, about who is and isn't wonderful, and you contemplate jumping out the window.
  • You cannot think of a single reason not to jump. Instead, you gather your materials and sneak out of the room, head up to the computer lab, where you spend the next two hours re-entering attendance for the dates you supposedly missed.
  • The Internet connection crawls.
  • Life crawls.

5 comments:

Asad said...

How do you write lesson plans that "go green" and include service learning every day?

asad123.wordpress.com

freelunch said...

I promise it'll be either very funny or a total waste of time.

It seems like it was both. A waste of time for you and very funny for those of us who didn't have to go through it.

Following the meeting, teachers meet with their departments, where they are told about everything lesson plans will now have to include: a technology component, special ed modifications, something about GOING GREEN, a service learning component, as well as daily objectives and whatever else.

I'm guessing that the goal is to make sure that the students have a worthwhile class if a substitute is there, but I'm not sure how going green fits or why most classes would ever have anything to say about it.

Anonymous said...

Go Green or go home!
Hey, aren't your school's colors green and something?

Anonymous said...

Really excellent post! I teach in CPS too and have been reading your blog for a while - this post really hits the mark, especially about the ridiculous expectations for lesson plans! Don't you love that they expect you to to model the use of technology when I bet you don't even have a working overhead projector? And GOING GREEN???! Yeah right! My school still uses three different PAPER forms to take attendance, in addition to IMPACT, because...SURPRISE! IMPACT never works.

Thanks for making me smile today!

appopt said...

Thanks, anonymous. And you're absolutely correct about the overhead projector. Mine is sitting in the back of the room. However, I've been using an LCD projector for the last couple of years, projecting every single one of my lessons on PowerPoint. Plus, I use the Internet, Word, and video in my classes, projected large for everyone to see. Where did I get the projector, you might ask. I bought it. Yup, spent about $700 of my own money because I knew the school couldn't afford it and because I realized that this is the best way to teach.

Anyway, I sort of feel bad about having people coming over from Catalyst to read this post. Usually I'm not this cynical! Click around my blog to find out. It's just that I find PD days to be something of a waste. (Plus, I was trying to be funny.) On the other hand, I've learned a lot about teaching because of professional development. I've had AP and IB training. I've participated in a school-wide cohort of teachers who studied something called Research for Better Teaching. I've gone on weekend retreats with teachers from my school. Some of this was paid for by CPS, but most came from a private grant our school was awarded. So, PD has been very beneficial to me. It's just that none of these activities ever happened on PD days, which are usually spent doing what I described in the post.