Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Magical Co-Teachers

I finally understand the DOE plan to conduct remote learning. I'm hearing details, and now it makes total sense to me. There will be no more Miserable Mondays and Torture Tuesdays, so all schools will be six hours and fifty minutes.

This way, you'll be able to spend the first thirty minutes of each day meeting with your remote or in-person counterpart. You'll also get a thirty minute prep and the end of the day and you won't even need to be in the building for that.

There are other details I've heard, but I'm going to focus on just a few here. One, of course, is that if you happen to be in a building like mine, with multiple sessions, your day starts at 8 and ends at 2:50 already. I guess if you have a first period class, you spend the first thirty minutes of it coordinating with your co-teacher. Your students will just have to sit and wait, I guess.

Who is your co-teacher? Well, if you are teaching remotely, your co-teacher is the person who teaches the other ten students in the building. And if you are in the building, your co-teacher is the person who teaches the ten students who aren't online that day. Let's examine this concept just a little bit.

First of all, the person in the classroom will have several disadvantages. One is the state regulation that says all desks must face in the same direction so as to preclude droplets being orbited in the direction of students or the teacher. I mean, it's good that the people in that room will have less chance of contracting and spreading a deadly disease, but nonetheless it's gonna be tough to communicate when everyone is social distanced, no one can approach anyone, no one can see the teacher's face, and the teacher can't come to any student to check work or answer questions that require knowledge of anything that is not apparent. Students won't be writing on boards, or even in a chat window.

So there's that. There's the fact that teachers have different voices and styles and may cover different material without actually planning to. There's the fact that students may like your style better than mine, end up hating me, and may stubbornly refuse to learn from me, demanding to be with you. Granted, that may be a stretch. There's a bigger problem, the one de Blasio and Carranza have failed to face ever since they made up this program.

The main problem is this--if I'm scheduled to teach five classes, and a hundred of my colleagues are scheduled to do the same, that means my building has five hundred classes. If we're elementary teachers, we have one hundred classes. Under this plan, our high school now has one thousand classes, and our elementary has two hundred.

Each school, though, still has only one hundred teachers. Where are the other one hundred coming from? Are they going to drag in people from Tweed? Are they going to hire tons of new subs, and assume the subs are capable of teaching whatever to whomever with no training whatsoever? Are they going to put every ATR to work? Because if they do, and if no problems whatsoever ensue, we still won't have nearly enough teachers to cover this plan.

Maybe we shouldn't have spent fifty years without lowering class sizes after all. Maybe then we'd have leeway to deal with this emergency. As things stand, though, teachers cannot handle extra students and provide anything like the services students need under any scenario, let alone this one. Given their utter lack of planning since April,  I'm not at all surprised the city now wishes to rely on magical teachers who don't exist.

This notwithstanding, with no qualifications whatsoever, I could do the chancellor's job better than Richard Carranza simply because I believe in verifiable reality.
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