Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Year...New Fears....

Has it really been since February since I last posted? Wow. And to think, June feels like it was just last week. Where did the summer go? For all those who say we get too much time off, I say, no, we don't. We don't get enough, and I actually enjoy my job. Then again, what do I know? I sure as hell ain't telling people how to do their job, even though every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks they can tell me how to do mine.

We have a new principal. Let's call them Wu. Wu is very much like the pleasant looking kind of person, with a mean streak. Wu wants us to teach a certain way. Wu wants the classrooms to be organized a certain way. Wu wants the boards to have some kind of "agenda" on it everyday, so late students know what we are doing. Wu wants a lot of things. Many teachers at our school do not understand what to do, because many A.P.'s at my school are incompetent fools who couldn't lead the way out of a room with four exits. Moreover, many teachers at my school get frustrated. They don't know what to do, the AP's hand out directives that are not exactly what Wu said, they create a climate of fear, and suddenly everyone is screaming bloody murder.

Fact is, my school has not performed well. It's a big school. We have some bright kids and we have some lunatics. But no one's ever been stabbed since I've been here, we don't have metal detectors and I don't really think it's a bad school. There's a host of things we could be doing better. I don't really understand how a school becomes successful, but I do know that what we've been doing isn't the way, at least according to the DOE. Not that the DOE has the best standards, but they cut the checks, so we have to do what they say.

And here is my point, which Wu enunciated today. We can whine and complain all we want, but the fact is, unless our school gets a passing grade next year, we're done. Finished, caput, out to pasture. Wu will still have a job, because principals obviously are not held to the same standards. (Hell, a former AP of mine who is the most incompetent man I have ever met, is a principal at a school in Queens. Teachers are getting U-rated and leaving the school in droves, yet it would be no surprise to me if the man has a long career in the NYC public school system). Where was I? Oh yes. Reality is this. We either do what Wu wants and pray it works, or we get turned around, many teachers lose their jobs, most likely the ones who actually work their asses off, and things will be done Wu's way anyways.

I am still debating how to view Wu. This is my 4th year. The previous principal was someone who really did care about the school, and was someone who was approachable. You didn't always agree with them, but you knew their heart was in the right place. This one makes crazy decisions and you almost wonder if the DOE sent Wu in here to intentionally sabotage the place, so the DOE can turn around and say "big schools don't work." IDK. I just know what I see, and this is it....

I see teachers who don't enforce the rules in this school. Security doesn't do anything except take up space in the hallways. I always tell students to take off their hats, put away their electronic devices and pull their pants up, and this is not limited to my classes either. I stand by the door and tell all students this, and observe teachers who say NOTHING, but rather walk right by because it isn't "their" problem. Security won't do anything unless I tell a student right in front of them, then they get their bravado. I do this because I will not allow my students to be unsuccessful. My job is to turn them into professionals, and I explain as much to them. I want them to be respectful, and I model respectful behavior everyday to them. I model it in the hallways as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm a pro-teacher kind of teacher. I realize we get shit on and blamed for all the world's problems and the majority of it isn't our fault. However, I can't do my job that well if everyone else isn't doing their job.

Maybe if some of my associates were less apathetic, we wouldn't be in the situation we are in. The fact of it all is, this is what we are dealt with. We either step up, accept what is given to us and strive for success, or we don't, and we all get screwed.

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