What the fuck do I care? I’m not hired back next year. Here are the 5 things that I hate the most about my school and I would change if I were in charge.
Misguided Behavior Plans — Whoever was in charge of coming up with the behavior plan must’ve just gotten done reading an article on positive reinforcement because that’s all we’re allowed to do. Our school doesn’t believe in clip charts because it involves telling a student that they’re misbehaving. Their idea is, whenever a kid is being good, give them a ticket. Therefore, kids will always want to be good because they’re always going to want to have tickets. The problem is some kids get more reinforcement out of being able to do whatever the fuck they want without an consequences. So basically a kid can do whatever he wants in my school without consequences.
Focus On Standardized Tests — I get that my school loves to advertise that they have the largest improvements of test scores in the state or some shit. Sure, because they fudge the numbers. Our kids are purposely made unprepared for the first test given in the fall, then the school pumps a shitload of incentives and pressure on teachers and students to improve their scores in the spring. So it’s no wonder that test scores improve. Also, teacher bonuses are tied to test scores so now staff has a financial incentive to cheat. Apparently, we followed the rules to not help kids with testing in the fall, but in the spring we’re allowed to pull them into small groups for testing and read the test with them. Cheaters!
Emphasis on All Work and No Play — When you get down to it, these are still children. Children who only scheduled for one 15 minute recess each day after they finish eating their lunch. Extra recesses for incentives are allowed with approval. That means if my kids work really hard on a test or something I can’t reward them by giving them a recess unless I have approval beforehand. And who knows when my kids are actually going to be good? Other things not allowed: special days where kids can dress up, any type of class party on days that aren’t a holiday (those holiday parties are only 30 minutes), any sort of reinforcement with food, and birthday parties are forbidden. I think it’s been proven that students are more productive when they are given more recess or physical activity.
Subjective Performance Evaluations — My principal observes me and basically she rates me based on how she feels I’m doing. My students’ grades, parent feedback, attendance, and other staff members have no influence. I can be the best teacher in the world, but if my principal doesn’t like me, then she can let me go at the end of the year.
Poor Support Staff and Coteachers — I have two resource teachers and one paraprofessional that help out in my classroom and they’re all retarded. My team, the other 2nd grade teachers, is pretty good. Sometimes we combine subjects and that works out. But for math and literacy my class is broken into groups by grade levels and I have staff “push-in” to help out. They come unprepared, they’re not good teachers, and they don’t follow through on behaviors. It happens all the time where my co-teacher will come up to me and say, “Shanise has to stay in for lunch recess. She wasn’t listening.” What the fuck? So now I have to give up my lunch because she misbehaved for you? A better teacher would have found a better punishment.
That’s 5. I have so many more things that suck about my school but it feels good to get it off my chest.