Thursday, October 25, 2012

Who Decided to Have this Meeting?

Article 7, Q, 6 of the UFT Contract reads thusly:

Faculty conference agendas shall be set in consultation with the UFT chapter committee.

When was the last time anyone asked you what you wanted to discuss in a faculty conference? I've been on several chapter committees, and only very rarely did this topic even come up. So is it our fault if we sit through meetings on the vicissitudes of what Good Teaching is this week...

Remember, you must have a motivation. Kids will not do any work unless there is something sexy attached to the assignment. But for goodness sake, don't mention sex, and don't refer to it, even obliquely, or the guys in suits will be here and you'll be up on charges.

...or why students should not be late?

Remember, if they come in late, tell them lateness is very bad. Make sure they know it will affect their grade. Fail them for being late, and tell them that's why you failed them. But for goodness sake, make sure they aren't late, and pass them all no matter what!

So how do these decisions get made? Does the principal sit in his office, thinking about the Next Big Thing in education and how he can get those crazy teachers on board with it? I once had a principal who did nothing but that. He got all excited about every new thing that came down the pike, and somehow his enthusiasm was less than contagious.

Of course, there are always people who will get excited about that sort of thing. And there are a great deal of people who will never object to anything. I suppose that sort of person could become a supervisor by making the right move at the right time. I've even met chapter leaders who aspire to be administrators, and I can only suppose they're the worst possible chapter leaders anyone could have. It's hard to see how someone trying to move up in administration could do a good job representing the staff.

Do you get any say in faculty conferences? Would it make a difference if you did? Or are they a lost cause, another reason to be pointlessly lectured on why kids should not be late every month, every year, every decade, until you retire and take those rumba lessons you've always dreamed of?
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