Wednesday, November 08, 2017

To CTLE or Not to CTLE?

That's the question, but if you need the hours you really have no choice. The DOE dropped the ball early on while Fariña was focusing on what a beautiful day it was. After all, if Macy's is open, who gives a crap whether or not teachers are getting the PD the state requires? Not the NYC Department of Education, evidently.

UFT picked up some of the slack when the UFT Teacher Center became a provider. I arranged to create one in my school. If yours hasn't got one, I'd suggest you have your chapter leader look into it. UFT also had a whole bunch of people trained to offer services, and I was one of them. I'm qualified to give CTLE training in ESL, which pretty much everyone needs.

The state has this thing about standards. I understand that having the principal scream for 90 minutes about how people shouldn't be late is not particularly helpful. Maybe the state understands that too. Nonetheless, they've unleashed a monster.

Yesterday we were allotted a block of time to do online instruction or video. This proved difficult, because we were given a list of websites that provided instruction. Some were CTLE and some were not. However, most of them utilized YouTube video, and that is blocked in our building. We were lucky in that we found one that was not.

A colleague picked out a CTLE course, and I sat and watched it with her. I recall very little about it. The only thing I really remember is a glowing intro, and breaking to some woman who had some idea that she was selling. It was all about, and how this particular crap was the key to student reading.

It was clearly a sales pitch for whatever crap she was selling, but if you sat through this particular infomercial and took some quiz, you could have the CTLE credit. All in all, I'd just as soon listen to the principal scream at me about how kids shouldn't be late. You know, she had a revolutionary idea, and it was gonna change everything, but it was a blatant sales pitch. If this is why the geniuses in Albany changed the way teachers got PD credit, I'd argue that maybe it's they who need to have principals scream at them for 90 minutes about why students shouldn't be late.

I volunteered at a UFT ELL event a few weeks ago. A friend of mine was going to come, but she discovered a whole bunch of crap on the internet she could use instead of, you know, going places and/ or doing stuff. Why not sit at home, watch whatever it is, get the credit, and be done with it? I don't blame her.

I'm not a big advocate of PD, as the overwhelming majority I've attended has been a waste of time. But if you're gonna bother with it, you might as well make it, you know, useful. I went to the UFT training because I thought I could help people get the credit. It turns out, though, that a whole lot of people are so jaded they don't even bother to pretend to pay attention. I understand. I've been guilty of that too. Having the tables turned on me was illuminating. One guy was looking at his phone and quickly placed a paper in front of it, pretending to pay attention. Most people didn't even bother pretending.

I haven't got a great answer. My colleague on the Executive Board, Marcus McArthur, suggested that teachers in his school had a good idea what they wanted, and could help each other. Sadly, that won't get them the credits they need to keep their licenses. But still, that beats the hell out of the nonsense I saw online.

Whether or not we ever get PD to be worthwhile, it would be fantastic if we could work it into school hours. I don't know anyone who wants to spend an extra 100 hours listening to anything. Sometimes people who work for UFT tell me they want to learn more to expand their practice. Sometimes, I listen to them say these things and wonder why they stopped practicing if that's what they really want.

I think teachers just want an easier way to deal. The way to do that is for DOE, UFT, or both to arrange this CTLE stuff during school hours. If there are gonna be Teacher Torture Tuesdays, they ought to carry the credit the state demands.
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