Thursday, September 10, 2009

Skipping the Editing Stage of the Writing Process

(Image courtesy the brilliant Toothpaste for Dinner.)

Hello friends! Hope we all had an excellent first two days back at work, and that your admins all followed the handy tips I offered them on Tuesday. Unfortunately, mine did not. In fact, I believe my principal read my post and then, for some reason, chose to do the opposite.

When I arrived on Tuesday morning, I and my colleagues were treated to an exceptionally lengthy memo that, were it handed in to me as student work, I would immediately recommend that the student reduce its size by at least two-thirds. I would say, gently but firmly, "This is a great start, but it looks to me like a brainstorm. Like a list. It's like you wrote down every single thing that was in your head about a school year instead of just focusing on a few important points and elaborating in a clear but focused way on each point. Brainstorming is important, of course, but you don't submit it as a final product. Let's talk about how we can narrow your focus and make your piece tighter and clearer for your reader."

I wish I could say I was exaggerating when I say that I would need more than one hand to count the number of pages in this vision quest masquerading as a memo, but I'm not. Apparently my principal went to some magical conference over the summer in which the admins there gathered to conspire to make their teachers' lives miserable collaborate on expressing their delusions of grandeur personal philosophies of education. And someone encouraged them to express their hallucinations thoughts in lengthy, incomprehensible memos.

We also got pretty much no time to work with our colleagues, though the hour provided for classroom prep was certainly thoughtful. Fifteen minutes to discuss how we could better use data to improve instruction? Didn't we have this PD half a dozen times last year? Um, thanks.

Well, all there was to do was put it out of my head and prepare for my new darlings today, which I did, and God bless them, they are darling. The kids are the only thing that keep me from going totally crazy.

Swing by my blog for some new posts, including one that got picked up by GothamSchools last week, and look for my next post on improving teacher evaluation. Enjoy the rest of the week!

Miss Eyre
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