Friday, April 17, 2015

Prom Day Crazy

For some reason, my school has prom on a Friday night...which makes prom day crazy.  The students do not think they can do anything in class in the morning because "it's prom".  If it were allowed, then they would just not come to school at all.
Early release on prom day is a reward for selling a certain number of items in the class fundraiser--sell and earn an 11 a.m. early dismissal.  Others can check out at 2 p.m.if they met the specified criteria and a parent comes to  check them out in person. They can't get their tickets until their designated dismissal time.
My phrase for today was "it is prom--not a coronation; you will not be asked to rule a small nation." 
For the most part, my students did their work because they know they must do their work in my class.  They know better than to expect free days.
In the hallway, however, they were insane.
I wish we held prom on a Saturday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wherever you are, Dr. Chapman, you were right.

In my very first education class, Dr. Chapman told us that if we were in education long enough, we would see all the old trends become new again.

I am officially there...and I'm only fifteen years in.  I am not sure I completely believed him on that day but as my academic career continued, I began to suspect that he was correct and the longer I taught, the more I began to recognize the approaching signs.

The déjà vu  started with the introduction of common assessments a few years ago. 

During my first year at my current school, I was introduced to something called QBA or quarterly based assessment.  The department developed a bank of multiple choice questions that assessed the curriculum outlined in the district approved skills continuum.  An administrator (I think) created a test using this bank--four times per year--and the students were assessed.

A new trend appeared and our test bank was thrown away.

When my young department head, who was still in high school when we were administering quarterly based assessments, extolled the brilliance of these new assessments, I turned to my senior colleague--one of the women who explained it all to me when I was a rookie---and remarked, "QBA?"  She nodded and mourned the loss of our old test bank.

Today cemented Dr. Chapman's claim.  I spent the day in meetings.  First was an all day departmental "retreat" in which we completely re-designed the English I curriculum map...again. The exciting new innovation was the exact same unit design that I used at the beginning of my career---the one that I used until very recently, the one that I surrendered reluctantly. My notes from this meeting are...."go back to what you used to do; go back to what worked."

I believe that's going to be my takeaway.