This day fired me up a bit. I wasn’t going to write today and instead take a break with the time that everyone else is interviewing with schools, but I wanted to get this out of me and reflect. I’m so glad that I am hired already and also have a place to stay. I think that right there is why so many people are so stressed out.
So today was all about transforming the problems of everything that happens in school into one of a positive environment. I found it mostly tedious. First of all, transformation takes time. And I’m okay with that. However, the transformation of a school usually takes more than two years, which is the minimum time that most people are required to be in the school district. Leaving after two years really just continues to shake up the students regularly. It becomes a “who’s leaving this year” type of thing which leads to more insecurity. So, it’s kind of “transform the school as best as you can in two years” and “decide to stay if you can”. Bah. It could be because we’ve been sitting for hours on end listening to people. I can handle it, but I don’t enjoy it. I’d rather do activities, just like our students. It breaks things up, makes time go faster, is more engaging. The people here are good at sitting and listening. However, one guy, who was talking about the transitional changes in communities was so dry, even though his information could have been interesting. Most people had checked out. I did. I really wanted to get my phone out, but I was doodling and barely hanging on.
Today wasn’t a waste. It was odd. It got people fired up about how bad the city report card is. We talked about the climate of the city. We then heard from a guy from “Build” who was a political proponent of education. That was interesting. He talked about the different people on the board and talked about who had power and what was power and how you got power. But he really didn’t talk about how you get power in a school setting. He asked about who you talked to to find out about the school, and no one mentioned teachers. I raised my hand to make sure that we included ourselves, which is important. He didn’t talk about the school family council, which I also raised my hand and suggested. It is one way to find out what is going on in our Baltimore city schools. He then stated that “If you have a council that the administration doesn’t give power to, you may want to find other ways to get what you want.” True, but it was a little off putting in that someone who is advocating for change wants you to march to the mayor and Dr. Alonzo before you go to your administration.
On a side note, I’m starting to see some people’s true colors and can take bets on how their first years will go. I won’t out anyone, but let’s just say that I’m taking bets that some people who have very specific agendas towards teaching are going to get a rude awakening. I imagine that at some point, they will find themselves unhappy at having to do something that they will not want to do. The students do see through those agendas, whatever they may be, and like to crap on them. I wish the best for that person.
Instead of listening and reflecting on what I can do in a school, I made plans for my classes for next year. I listened and worked at the same time, but I really think that the question should be, “What are you thinking of doing in your classroom to get to know your students?” Because that, in a nutshell, is how you bring change to your classroom. You make relationships with the students, hopefully positive ones that you both build on. We’ve been “listening”, “reflecting” for hours, and “asking questions”. I would rather see this information put into a lesson plan that we each could individually create (or groups even) to engage our students in TFA’s values. The values should be in the classroom, that’s obvious. But we have to have buy in by the students or it isn’t worth much. I like watching the videos and having a full group discussion to get our ideas thinking. But it doesn’t really help those people in the classroom. I don’t know, I’m in a different place than anyone here. I believe in transformational change in a classroom, and I believe that teachers are in charge of their classrooms. To make a movement, you need the one crazy person to bring things up and have followers to make a leader. Wouldn’t coming up with a lesson that would start your own movement in your classroom seem important? I understand that we need to look at the big picture and where our kids go. Those of you who have already done this, what do you think? Did you need the time to reflect on how to be transformational? Would it have helped to brainstorm how we do this in a classroom?
Please comment, I’m curious.