Sunday, April 11, 2010

The New Plan

So.... I didn't get into the doctoral program. I found out a little over a month ago, but didn't share because I was so shocked and I didn't know how to handle it at first. Now, after taking some time to reflect and speaking with professors from different institutions, I actually think it was for the best. The program that I had applied to was very theoretical and I am very practical. In other words, it was not a match. This doesn't mean that I am going to give up entirely on the idea of furthering my studies and conducting research, it just means that I am going to take some time to think about it more and maybe apply somewhere else or maybe not. I can still do classroom research without a program.

Another unexpected reaction to the whole rejection thing was this intense feeling that I need to leave my school. I couldn't imagine continuing in this same place without the anchor of academia to keep me grounded in real research and findings in education. So much of what is being expected and demanded of teachers has NOTHING to do with actual educational findings. It's like flavor of the month X 1000 in the my school right now with no actual direction and no vision to improve our school. In fact, my school has been steadily declining since I was hired 5 years ago. There are so many things we used to do that are no longer, so many supports for teachers and students that no long exist. Communication has be totally cut off between administration and teachers that we don't even know who to go to, even for little things. Instead of talking about real issues, we are assigned tasks, constant tasks. It's as if the administration wants to keep teachers busy so we won't question the decisions that are being made and I have to say that most of my colleagues keep their heads down and ask "what do you want me to do next?" People feel grateful to just have a job. I am grateful too, but I don't want to work at a school where I feel disgusted by the way students are treated (and by that I mean by the quality of education that is being offered as a continuum across grades).

I want to work at a school with a real vision, somewhere where problems are tackled as a team, where the students needs are taken into account, where people think outside of the box. I want to work at a school where there is support for teachers, students, and parents. I want to work somewhere that actually cares about helping students succeed. I want to continue to work at a Title I school with immigrant and language minority students. It's not the population of students that I'm running from, it's a school that doesn't care (I'm not speaking about individual teachers, because my colleagues ALL care, but it's the institution as a whole and the structures that make it run that do not allow for care). I have compiled a list of prospective schools and I plan to visit them over the next couple of weeks (after school of course).

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