Saturday, May 30, 2020

Idiots at Tweed Expect Us to Concurrently Teach and Take PD

Evidently Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have determined that teachers now have plenty of time even as we offer remote learning. That's why, just yesterday, after schools like mine had already begun planning for next Thursday, they decided that we could somehow teach even as we were taking whatever PD they'd placed on their website.

My students expect me to give them classes, and I'll be there doing so. Let them put a letter in my frigging file. I'll frame it and hang it near awards I've received.

I'm a language teacher, and verbal and aural interaction, for me, is non-negotiable. I have students who've studied English for years in China, passed, and arrived here unable to speak. It's my job to help these kids with what they need. Who knows better what that is--me, or the people in air-conditioned Tweed offices?

I won't set my kids up with busy work, which would be what not showing up would entail for me. Even if I could figure out how to make that click, the assumption that any teacher can somehow offer something of value that involves neither time nor work is insulting, demeaning, and astonishingly ignorant.

My students expect me to check the work they send in, and I'll be doing that too. The chancellor, evidently, thinks after doing whatever work he wants me to set up, I have time to read his PowerPoints, or whatever crap they have posted up at DOE. I'm sure it will be as useful as the sexual harassment seminar we all wasted our time with after having spent months trying to even get in.

Other teachers may not be offering live classes, but are nonetheless providing assignments, communicating with students, and checking and correcting their work. I suppose this is what the chancellor expects of us. For me, that model doesn't work. However, if it did, I'd still be expected to do not only my regular work, but also attend whatever crap the DOE has posted. Unacceptable, unacceptable, unacceptable. Despite what the chancellor may think, any worthwhile activity entails time and work from teachers.

It's ironic, because we could've taken the day off from teaching, given our students a much-needed break, and done something worthwhile. I'd been negotiating for some of my colleagues who are expert in Google Classroom to help teachers like me, who are not. I'm not a Luddite, but I pick up on computer programs via trial and error. For example, I've observed while grading submitted work that I can actually watch the students as they write.

This is a big deal for me, because if I could arrange assignments they could do within Google Classroom, I could recapture my practice of watching students do work in real time. I could offer tips as they write in my virtual class. I didn't even know that was possible until I stumbled upon students doing homework assignments in real time.

Some of my students have programs they use to type answers onto worksheets I give as homework. One told me she had to pay for that program. Are there free programs that enable them to do this? I don't know. Could our school sponsor paid programs? Could the DOE rechannel its gala luncheon funding and support a program like that? I don't know that either. Does the first year teacher who trained me in Zoom and Google Classroom know the answers? I'll bet he does, and on Thursday I could've probably got him paid to share his expertise.

Are there other teachers who know even less about these programs than I do? Certainly. I know one teacher who actually pays someone to help with Google Classroom. How many of us were trained to use these programs? I'm glad I stumbled into it, though I'd prefer it weren't accompanied by a pandemic.

What other things are available that I don't know about? What possibilities are there that my colleagues have never imagined? On Thursday, we won't find out. The DOE, of course, has no idea how these programs worked. They've never used them, and a whole lot of the geniuses in Tweed skedaddled out of the classroom the first chance they got.

Did they engage experts to support us in our efforts? Of course not. They tossed us to the dogs, and told us to hope for the best. On our scheduled break, they told us to work on. High holy days? Screw you and your religion.

That's the kind of support we know to expect from the DOE--none whatsoever. The best thing teachers can do is depend on themselves and one another. For myself, I'll be calling my first year teacher friend and asking him to help me out a little. I'm sure he will.

That's just one reason he'd never fit into the DOE and their agenda of sitting around their offices while we lowly teachers do the actual work. As the DOE plans for an entire summer of online education, not to mention almost certain continuation for September, actual training for teachers in dire need is of no importance whatsoever. I have absolutely no faith whatever the DOE has is of value, and in the highly unlikely event it is, they've given me no time whatsoever to use it.

It's criminal that de Blasio and Carranza are contemplating budget cuts to schools as their worthless minions in Tweed sit around, twiddling their thumbs and pulling preposterous decisions like this one from their overly ample hind quarters.
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