Thursday, August 25, 2016

The New School Leader at the Important Meeting

 by special guest blogger Charter School Teacher

I’m chugging along Day 3 of our Very Important Professional Development. So far it’s been typical stuff. School goals, how to set up a classroom, using google docs. Blah blah blah. Teachers either sleep or are on their cell phones. Teacher use of electronics has become so rampant that the Principal had to stop the Very Important Session to say “Uh, just as a courtesy, please limit the use of electronic devices …”

Towards the end of Day 3 the New Lady in a Very Important Position announced in her best 5th grade Catholic schoolteacher voice, “You have homework tonight. I want all of you to take the June Regents in your subject area. Please pick up your homework assignments on your way out.”

The teachers who had been sleeping woke up, the ones playing Candy Crush temporarily put away the game, the ones making dog filters on SnapChat closed out their sessions. What? Subject teachers had to take a three hour exam in a subject we already taught?

“Yes that’s correct,” New Lady said. “It’s very important we collect this data to assess where our students might be.”

I raised my hand. “But … we teach the subject. We already know the answers to the Regents. How will this be useful?”

“I want to see which questions you had a hard time with,” she responded in a clipped, annoyed voice. “I’ve never taken these exams before.”

“But we teach this and we’ll score a 100 on it. That’s not the same as our students.”

“This is not up for discussion!” she said. She was very offended. Her face turned as red as her hair. “Pick up the homework packets by the end of day today and have them ready by tomorrow.”

Teachers looked around. Was this for real? New Lady wanted us to take Regents in subjects we already taught in order to assess which questions students got wrong? Why not have, say, the Science teacher take a Global exam and vice versa? Wouldn’t that be more useful?

Another teacher asked “Do I have to write both essays for my exams?”

“Yes,” New Lady replied. “It’s very important we have this data.”

So on our way out we picked up our “homework” — the June 2016 Regents in our respective subject area. One teacher pointed out that all the answers were online.

“Shhhh. New Lady doesn’t need to know that,” another snapped.
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