Wednesday, January 29, 2020

No NY Teacher Should Have More than Two Co-teachers

It's tough keeping up with the geniuses in Albany. They have so many ideas, and they are so smart that each one must be followed to the letter. They are not to be criticized because they are the Regents, the closest thing NY State has to popes, or saints, or statues so sacred birds won't poop on them.

In their infinite wisdom, they rewrote CR Part 154 so that students who don't know English would get less English instruction. Though they gave them no more time, they decreed that if some ESL teacher sat his or her posterior in a subject class full of ELLs, the students would magically learn not only the subject, but also all the English and culture associated with it. If it takes 45 minutes for a native English speaker to learn about chapter one of To Kill a Mockinbird, an ELL can learn not only that, but also all the vocabulary, idioms, background info, and everything else a native American English speaker can learn.

How does that happen? No one knows, but since the Regents say so, that should be good enough for anyone. So people scream at me that I'm not kind enough to the geniuses in Albany, that they are experts, and that they know.

Here's the thing, though. On this astral plane, there are consequences. Yesterday I spoke to a high school teacher who had five co-teachers. I'm acquainted with an elementary teacher who has nine. Now how do you co-plan with five teachers? How do you co-plan with nine teachers. The short answer is you don't. You walk in those classrooms and hope for the best. You can't possibly anticipate what the teachers will do.

Even if you could, you're a third wheel. Teachers may think you don't belong in the classroom. After all, they're there each and every day and you aren't. Who the hell do you think you are horning in and demanding they share lesson plans with you? What? You want vocabulary words? When on earth am I supposed to figure out what they are? And do you think I'm gonna let you interrupt my class to teach them? No way. I don't let the paraprofessionals teach my class, and I'm not letting you do it either. Why the hell are you here anyway?

Well, they're there because principals, now that they no longer have to offer ESL instruction beyond year one, need to pay lip service to it so as not to be out of compliance. That's why they dump ESL teachers into classroom for the bare minimum time required. It's important they sit there and keep the principal out of trouble. Can students learn English under these conditions? Can a kid who got off the plane from China yesterday handle chapter one of To Kill a Mockinbird,? Who cares? The principal's in compliance and that's all that matters.

Since the geniuses in Albany are never wrong, there can't possibly be any issue with Part 154. However, it's pretty clear that it's ridiculous to use ESL teachers as scarecrows. It's time for us to stand up and say no more ridiculous numbers of co-teachers. Were my friends not running around like headless chickens, they could, you know, teach students English.

It's unbelievable, to me at least, that we put up with such blatant nonsense. It's time we forced principals to do the right thing and worked to limit the number of co-teachers we work with. I'd say one is already enough, more than enough in many circumstances, but no one should have more than two.
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