Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Failure Breeds Contempt, and Less Work

I was talking to a friend from another school who was outraged that he had to write IEPs and one of his acquaintances did not. This was by instruction of the supervisor. Did the person have special privileges? Was he related to the AP?

Actually, he just did such a terrible job of it that the AP didn't want to bother. The problem, of course, is that once something like that becomes public knowledge, maybe everyone will do it. That didn't happen, in this case. What happened was everyone sort of began to hate this guy for not doing the work they all busted their butts over.

In case you don't know it, special education teachers have a whole lot of extra paperwork issues in the form of IEPs, which I believe stands for individual education plan. Kids with special needs are not all the same. Some need one thing, some need others, and it's up to special education teachers to write and collaborate on these plans. It's a big job, and it's generally the C6 assignment of all special ed. teachers. Of course, they have other issues as well, including co-teaching. A special ed. teacher might have two co-teachers, requisite co-planning and still have to write IEPs.

Years ago, I was assigned to do lunch duty, which I did for a full year. The dean who ran the lunchroom placed me at the front door to do all the work. He placed himself at the back door and did almost none of the work. It was one fun-filled year. I remember reading an op-ed in the Times saying how lunch duty is wonderful because you can really get to know the kids. I got to know the ones who had fake programs, the boys who brought in girl's programs, and the ones who'd lie to me and say they needed to leave early.

Actually it was perhaps the single most unrewarding experience of my career, on par or worse with proctoring exams of students I don't know in subjects I don't understand. Because I took the job seriously and actually challenged the students who didn't belong there, I was not much-loved by the more troublesome students. This job became the opposite of fun, and I really never wanted to do it again.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the good job I did inspired administration to reward me with it twice in a row. At that time, there was a regulation that you could only get lunch duty once every six years. Evidently the union knew how teachers felt about regulating food fights and wrote that in. While I wasn't chapter leader, and while I wasn't yet active in union issues, I knew the rule. I told them they couldn't place me there again.

They moved me to the dean's office. There was certain paperwork the dean didn't like doing, so he passed it off to the school aide assigned to his office. My job, evidently, was to assist the school aide. Why they thought that necessary I couldn't tell you. She looked at the work the dean passed off to her, and passed it off to me.

I dutifully filled in whatever crap I was asked to, but it turns out my handwriting is so awful no one could read it. People asked me what things said for a while. Sometimes I could read it. Other times I couldn't. After a while they stopped asking me to do the work the aide was supposed to do for the dean. I sat there the rest of the year and wrote lesson plans.

Sometimes I don't understand why we're placed in these situations. Other times it looks like everyone is in them sometimes. Why does common sense remain among the least common of all the senses?
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