Thursday, September 29, 2022

They're Killing My Class

It's been an interesting year for me, so far. There's a lot of contrast between my first period class and the others. First period, I have six students, four or five of whom show up on any given day. 

We sit in a circle, go over the material, and talk about it, or whatever. I advise them to find opportunities to use English in their daily lives, and they listen, or they don't. But the experience is lovely, and all of them leave knowing whatever we covered that day.

My fourth period class, my next one, has been more of a struggle. Students want to speak in Spanish and Chinese rather than English, and I have pockets of students who, for whatever reason, are not motivated to learn the prime language of the country they're likely to spend the rest of their lives in. Some are lacking in formal education. I can tell this somehow. If I had Skedula, it would be on their records. Of course, what I have is the crap DOE system that breaks my five classes into twenty.

I've been told that this would be resolved two weeks ago yesterday, so I've held back on grading anything. I've assigned no homework at all. I'm lukewarm on homework in the first place. I usually give reinforcement exercises that should take no more than fifteen minutes. I'm well aware students copy homework, but I've been granting homework I don't carefully check a very low value. Of course the students who copy fail all other assessments, so they tend mostly to hurt themselves.

I'm hopeful that my DOE grading is consolidated soon. If it isn't, I'm using a paper gradebook beginning next week. I am not going to copy grades into the crap DOE system because that's redundant paperwork. I know, perhaps it helps someone, but I'm not sure who. I'm not inclined to support a chancellor and mayor who cry that reasonable class size is an unfunded mandate yet can't be bothered to give us the tools we need to do our jobs.

While my morning class would certainly not stay as low as it is now, I'm really sad they're killing it. Here's what I know--it's been very helpful to the few students who've been attending. They will be dumped into larger classes, and they will get far less attention from me. English will suddenly become a little less attractive, and distraction will become both more likely and interesting. There are good reasons why the children of people like Mike Bloomberg place their kids in private schools with classes of 15. The only reason our kids aren't is because people like Bloomberg don't like to pay taxes.

I'm very sad that actual high-quality education is something we don't deem worthwhile or affordable. My students will be dumped into classes that don't serve them nearly as well. Because I carry multiple certifications, I will be dumped somewhere I'm not needed anywhere but on paper, somewhere that will give a teacher who doesn't carry one license or another validity to teach classes he or she has already been teaching for at least a month.

Ostensibly, it's all about rules. But rules are made to be broken, and usually are. In the end, it's really all about money, and we can't afford to give a few kids a really positive and worthwhile experience. Instead, we dump them into classes of 34, and give them the same crap everyone else gets. 

Meanwhile, Eric Adams is getting Rachel Ray to design some vegan meals. He doesn't eat meat, so that's important. All the other meals will be the same crap as always. And while this program may be costly, it gets Adams press, so it's somehow worth it. It's got swagger!

Adams had us do a webinar on dyslexia, because he has it. Too bad for you if you have some other disability. For him, it's all about himself, and he'll fight reasonable class size tooth and nail. You'd best sit while you wait for that class size bill to actually take effect.

Now students can learn in this system. But Eric Adams and Chancellor Soaring Eagle aren't gonna make it easy for them. That's just not cost-effective.

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