Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Dialogue

Here’s a post Leo Casey left on Ms. Frizzle's site:

I will not respond to the personal attacks.

I can’t blame Mr. Casey for that. There’s really no need to indulge in personal attacks. Let’s focus on the contract, and Mr. Casey's ideas about it.

Mr. Casey is very visible on the front page of Edwize, defending the contract. I’m encouraged that he’s venturing out into the blogosphere, because that indicates that those who professionally spin this contract feel the need to further get the word out. Mr. Casey continues:

I do need to point out, however, that if the people who are now pronouncing with absolute cetainty that the extra ten minutes will produce a sixth teaching period were right in the past, when they made similar pronouncements with equal certainy, it would be the eighth or ninth teaching period we were discussing, not the sixth. As a matter of fact, it was not that long ago, when Circular 6R was first negotiated, that the very same folks were saying this is a sixth teaching period, and it does not matter how you say you are going to implement it. Now, they shout from the rooftops, "Don't surrender Circular 6R."

Yes we were born, but it wasn't yesterday.

Circular 6R, if I’m not mistaken, is the document in which teachers select their professional assignment. Please feel free to correct me, as I’m very likely to be wrong. In my school, we have the option of planning for three preps as an assignment. This works well for me, because I’ve had three preps for the last 12 years. (Note—while it sounds otherwise, I’m not complaining.)

In any case, here’s my response:

The distinction between lunchroom duty and being in charge of kids in a classroom has evidently escaped Mr. Casey. Nonetheless, I am indeed opposed to placing teachers in lunchrooms. It's degrading, unprofessional, and will do little to halt the exodus of new teachers.

Unlike Mr. Casey, I've performed lunchroom duty, and I can tell you it's the worst task I've ever been forced to do as a teacher. Despite his bold words, Mr. Casey, I fear, will not be joining us in the lunchroom.

The UFT was proud when it (lunchroom duty) was eliminated, gleefully selling us a new contract. They now seem proud to have gotten it reinstated, gleefully selling us a new contract. How does Mr. Casey explain that?

It's remarkable that having ten students in a room for 37 minutes is not a teaching period. Did everyone understand Mr. Casey's contention?

When I teach college at night, I sometimes get groups of ten people. And I, lacking Mr. Casey's apparent expertise, actually organize materials and teach. Perhaps Mr. Casey will be kind enough to share with us his preferred approach.

Perhaps Mr. Casey will further enlighten those of us too ignorant to discern the difference between "small group instruction" and "class."

As a teacher and a parent, it's my view that no conscientious educator would allow ten kids to sit and waste their time for 37.5 minutes a day. Doubtless Mr. Casey has a better approach.

I eagerly await the moment he shares that approach with us.

Do UFT muckety-mucks think they can tell us being in charge of a group of students, expressly for the purpose of "instruction" is not teaching? What do they take us for? Could it be that they think we were born yesterday?

Your responses are encouraged. Have a great Sunday, everyone. And enjoy Columbus Day, which seems to have survived this round of negotiations.
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