Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Tweed Says Safety First--for Tweedies Anyway

 That's the Deputy Chancellor. He has three air conditioners and an exhaust system in his office. After all, it's Tweed and they do Very Important Stuff in there. I look at this photo and I think about the VIP pigs in Animal Farm who needed to eat the apples because they had to do brain work. They needed to fill in ledgers very, very carefully so they could be burned in the furnace. That's about my impression of the Chancellor's team right now.

Like everyone else in this meeting, the Deputy Chancellor was all by himself. You see, while you are supposed to sit with a dozen students in a classroom built over a hundred years ago, barely improved since then,  the VIPs need their own space. Perish forbid they should set an example by setting up a classroom, sitting socially distanced, and all facing in the same direction so no one would face anyone else. Instead, they set an example of what people do when they are actually concerned with their own safety.

In fairness, the chancellor and his peeps repeatedly said they were concerned with our safety. Safety first, safety second, and safety third. However, we would not be working under the conditions that they did. It's curious, because a group of adults can behave in a room a lot easier than a group of children or teenagers. Believe it or not, teachers often have to supervise children and teenagers. Sometimes they don't simply sit down and do as they're told. It's a little surprising that the chancellor and his peeps don't seem to know that, and just send us on our merry way.

Additionally, I couldn't help but notice the chancellor showed up five minutes late. I'm not particularly sure that's the tone I'd want to set if I were trying to demonstrate leadership. After all, I really want my students to show up on time. Also, if I arrived at my class five minutes late, I could easily get a letter to file. What exactly was so important that tens of thousands of staff members had to wait? Last I looked, lateness was considered partial absence and you could get docked for it. I've been at multiple meetings in which that very thing was threatened. (They can't dock you until your partial absences add up to an hour, FYI.)

In any case, I was pretty surprised when, five minutes before the meeting was scheduled to end, the chancellor announced he was taking one more question and that would be it. Evidently, when it's time to leave, that's important. I was even more surprised when he ended the meeting a minute early. I'm trying to recall just how many principals I've heard announcing we teach bell to bell. I guess that only applies to lowly teachers. VIPs do as they like.

The most curious statement came when questions came around to how the hell we were going to handle the co-teachers who don't exist. You know, if I'm teaching ten of my students in person, who the hell is going to teach the other 24? There are simply not enough of us to do that. Well, we're gonna ask people from Tweed to teach. Really? There aren't enough people in Tweed to cover a single large high school, let alone the 1800 others that need to be covered.

They followed up that issue with another solution--Let's wait a few more weeks and see what happens. So that's how you go into battle. You leave your weapons at home, see what will happen, and hope for the best. Next time your principal asks to see your lesson plan, why not say, "Hey, I'll get it to you in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I'm just gonna go into that classroom and see what happens."

Also, they recognize the calendar is very late. But when they do, it will have all the holidays in it. They appreciate our patience.

Try talking to your principal the way they talk to us. Tell your principal how much you appreciate her patience after you outrageously bungle deadlines. Let me know how that works out for you.

I sat through an hour of platitudes and heard very little new information. The chancellor promised to discuss things with us further, but clearly only discussed what little he did because Cuomo forced him to. These are the people running our school system.

Who trusts them to keep us and our students safe? Don't all jump up at once. 

(Thanks to Tweeter @WuTangGrippers for the photo.)

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