Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Couplea Things Off My Chest

Okay, I just have to vent. I am a teacher, not a curriculum developer.

I just put in a Purchase Order for books and resources for next year because we have none here. Apparently, this is all my choice because they tell us "to teach to the G(rade) L(evel) E(xpectation)s." The problem is, without a book or a specific curriculum, I could teach the GLEs by watching Howdy Doody. I put in to buy some Six-trait writing kits from Great Source and a few books from Saddleback publishing on grammar and writing. I had to do all the research for these products, on my own time, even after asking.

I can't make this stuff up on my own. I need to teach, not create worksheets and units. I truly believe that a teacher's job is to coordinate the learning of the kids, not create stuff from scratch. If I would do that, I may as well publish it as a book and make money selling textbooks. That's not what the district pays me for. I am hoping these purchase orders, which total a little under $900, go through with flying colors. Otherwise, I may have to save up and buy one or two of them myself for my own sanity.

And another thing, I wish they would stop giving us these test scores and data without any concrete ideas. Ok, I see that we are deficient in this area. We need to do blah blah blah. But they don't tell us the blah blah blah; I need to figure that out on my own. These MAP scores, yet another assessment test, are what is supposed to guide us. Ya know, the part that gets me is that I don't talk for a full district. I shouldn't be the voice. I don't have the credentials. Not that I couldn't do it, but I am more worried about getting that slacker in the corner over there to write a fill-in-the-blank paragraph than worry about the scope and sequence of an entire district's K-12 language arts program. THAT is my job. The district should do it for me, align these MAP test goals to the GLEs point by point, and tell me what it takes to meet those goals.

See here, South Kitsap School District had it right. We teachers got our own district-mandated syllabus. It broke up, by class level and trimester exactly what was to be taught during that trimester. They gave a list of short stories, English concepts, and novels to make sure they got taught each individual trimester. That way, we knew what each student had been subjected to at each point in their academic achievement. I would know for a fact that sophomores had been exposed to certain concepts when I got them as juniors. While it seems restricting, it really isn't. I would be able to choose HOW I taught the concepts, short stories, and novels. They just told me what to get done. That is what a district should do.

I just haven't been through all of the administrative classes. I have a degree in English, not education, not curriculum, not Alaska standards, whatever. I know my subject. I can teach my subject. But I just don't have the time to create from scratch an entire scope and sequence. That is why textbooks cost $100 apiece. That is someone's job to do that. Why should I reinvent the wheel here?

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