Friday, December 18, 2020

Bad Admin and Crickets

 Do you feel like the kid in the picture sometimes? An awful lot of teachers do. It seems, particularly with an evaluation system that bares its teeth at us, that a lot of supervisors speak to us like that.

I began as an English teacher. I ended up as an ESL teacher by happy accident. For one thing, I could never find a permanent job as an English teacher. By the time I did, I was already enamored of teaching kids from other countries. I turned down an appointment, took a job playing guitar in the worst Irish wedding band on earth (it paid well), and waited until I actually had the credits to teach what I wanted.

Nonetheless, I'm a lifelong reader, and my preference is fiction. Fiction places you in a position to see and feel other viewpoints, but it's looked down upon by the geniuses in Albany, not to mention the Common Core architects. NY State has dropped the Common Core name, but fiction is still devalued. Instead we make kids read tedious tomes that interest them not at all. I'd argue it would be better to have them read comics, like the kid in the picture, and learn to love reading, rather than dread it. Of course, I'm only one voice.

Still, there are a lot of crazy administrators. Look, for one example, at the large number of them who insist on enrolling as teachers in Google Classroom. There is absolutely no viable rationale for that. Most of us now place all our grades online. Anyone can see them. All of the assignments we give are available to anyone registered as a student. It would be one thing if administrators actually wanted to help us plan, or wanted to teach the classes now and then. Of course they don't do that.

The only reason admin should be listed as a teacher is if they don't trust your judgment. Being listed as a teacher gives them the right to mess with, edit, or even delete your assignments. It's unethical to do any of those things without consulting you. Ethics, shmethics, says the DOE, as usual. Let APs do whatever they golly gosh darn feel like and the empty husk that is the chancellor can still sign his flowery preposterous tone deaf emails, "In unity." 

There is a lot of fear, loathing and mistrust of administrators, and for good reason. Saying they need to be teachers means they do not trust you. And given that, it's not surprising how many teachers don't trust administrators. Would some of them sabotage your assignments? Absolutely. I've watched video of lessons in which many students raised their hands and the supervisor wrote only two or three did. I've seen outright lies on observation reports.

This notwithstanding, it's teachers who are regularly vilified in the press. Editorial boards pay no attention to the frequent tales of administrative malfeasance in the tabloids. Instead, they insist admin should have all the power. We should be at will employees, subject to losing our jobs for declining to pass a Wednesday afternoon at the Comfort Inn with a supervisor. 

And then you get stories like this one, about a principal who decided to enact a super spreader event right in her own school building. Let's put 150 kids in the cafeteria to eat lunch. It's bad enough that we insist on have kids eat socially distanced and unmasked in classrooms, but that wasn't enough for this principal. 

Remarkably, no one has so far contracted COVID as a result of this idiotic and astoundingly callous decision. But no UFT teacher is surprised by it. While not all of us work for a lunatic like this one, we all know of them. We've all heard stories about them for all of our careers. It's remarkable that we're all able to get up every morning and do our jobs, considering how many awful supervisors there are. 

And what do we get from "In Unity" Richard Carranza about this?


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