Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fingers crossed

So, it's out there, I really can't stand working for this corrupted system and I can't stand administrators regurgitating useless information that they get from their millions of "meetings" with their networks and mentors and data specialists many of which do not even have degrees or experience in education. It's all just such a waste of time and it's meaningless for the children.

Right now my school is on a big "inquiry" kick. Now, don't get me wrong, I think teacher inquiry is a great thing and something that I participate in with my own classroom and instruction each year, mostly informally, but also formally on occasion. I want to be on board with inquiry, but I just can't stand to be at meetings with the data specialist and the assistant principal. They are constantly butting heads and spouting off useless stuff about what our binders should look like and what the table of contents could look like that they are not listening to the teachers about the needs of our students and they are not helping us shape our inquiry and look deeply at our practice (which is the whole point, right?). Anyway, I'm one of those people who does not have a poker face, so when I hear something ridiculous, I just can't hide it (my colleagues tend to nod and agree with everything, so I'm pretty much the only one). The data specialist was running her mouth about how we need a separate binder for each teacher and another binder for the grade level and blah blah blah and I looked across the table at a consultant we work with from a university nearby and her face was just like mine and I thought to myself "I don't know what I'd do if she weren't here." You see our consultant actually comes with expertise in the area of literacy and listens to the teachers and cares about the children. She comes from a university with a strong research background and knows about the current research and findings in the field. If I were her I'd probably run away as fast as I could.

THIS is why I have to get my doctorate. I don't know what I would do if my school did not have a relationship with a university. I'd be lost in the land of standardization and education as business. Sometimes I actually feel like I'm in that movie "Idiocracy." Deep breath. At this point I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping to be accepted to the only program to which I applied (in retrospect putting all my eggs in one basked may not have been the best of ideas). I know that with an acceptance letter, I will be able to anchor myself to this university and to find company in the community of educators who do actual research. I can't wait to get my own research in place for my students. It is the ONLY way I feel I can stay at my school. If I am denied acceptance I'm not sure what I'll do. I guess I'll apply somewhere else.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why I haven't posted

It has been way too long since the last time I posted. I spent this past week of vacation doing a lot of thinking, reading, working, and general organizing of my life and future. I would click on my blog every day, but I had nothing to write. I would read other bloggers posts to get some inspiration, but still I felt nothing. I think this is a reflection on how I am feeling professionally: like nothing. All of the problems at my school have gotten worse this year. Last year was bad and I remember telling myself that if this year was like that I would leave my school. I wish it were as easy as that... I wish I could just leave. Last year I tried to leave. I posted my resume on the open market website and decided I would go for it. When I started getting phone calls, I freaked out. At first I just didn't call the principals back and then finally at one point I told a principal that I had decided to stay at my school another year... and that was when I realized that I would stay another year. So I stayed and everything got worse and children continued to be under/mis-served by a disgusting and criminal system and now I feel totally helpless like nothing will ever change. Part the reasoning behind my decision to stay was that I was afraid of what other schools might be like. I figured it could be worse somewhere else. At least at my school I have great colleagues. Now I'm in a situation where I don't feel that I can leave. Personal situations have come up for some of my colleagues and I feel that I must stay to support them for at least one more year. Plus, if I stay another year, I am eligible for loan forgiveness which I desperately need and I will be vested in the pension so I won't lose it if I leave. I keep telling myself I can do it for one more year and then I'm in the clear and I can go somewhere else.

Part of this is also due to the fact that I have had to revisit a lot of recent publications and research in the area of TESOL and bilingual education recently and I just get depressed at how much we used to do and how little we do now at my school. The problem of siblings being denied registration has continued and has now affected one of our most loyal and vulnerable families in our program. I realized that we have not had ONE parent workshop this entire school year and no one seems to care. No one has even asked the teachers to choose a topic or anything. Why are we paying a parent coordinator? In one reading, a suggestion to help issues of low literacy was to have open library time before school for parents to come and read with their children. This just reminded me that my school got rid of its library last year when we used to have that resource.

Everyone asks me if it's because of budget cuts and I always immediately answer with NO! It's absolutely NOT about budget cuts, its about having caring and capable administrators with a vision for a school who actually make people DO THEIR JOBS!!! The sad part is that my administrators have probably never even read the publications and research that I am reading now and revisiting from my masters and they have NO IDEA nor do they even care to learn.