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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thinking

In the last week I've done a tremendous amount of thinking, sharing, and reflecting on my school, educational policy , and the sociology of school communities. I've gained some real perspective and can say that it's led to some incredible growth in my understanding of how education, people, and the world work. On that note, I have a ton of stuff I want to blog about. I've resisted the urge to blog every day, however, because I think putting these experiences into words as they happen leads me to different conclusions about them in the long-run. My perspectives are posted, and it's almost as if, because they're now public record, they must remain that way forever (or at least I'm less likely to reshape and remold them as new information and experiences come to light). So I'm going to do a little experimentation with my blogging, and gather my insights up, day by day, in order to make sense of them later, at which time I'll write about them. As a result, I expect to be doing a enormous amount of posting now that my break has begun. I don't want to start yet, however. The time's not right. I have SO MUCH to write about, I want to make sure I do it in a way that's as meaningful and organized as possible.

Also, it's come to my attention that it is really important that I be more careful about how many details I share about my work environment. When I began this blog, it was being read by three or four people only: myself, a co-worker or two, and my parents. I intended it merely to be a way for me to reflect openly and honestly on teaching and fulfill a desire I have to write about my thoughts and experiences. Now that it's clear that a few more people are reading, I need to be significantly more careful about what I say (especially in a city/environment as closely connected and as highly political as DC) despite my initial desire for this to be as open and as honest as possible. As a result, I've gone back and deleted/edited a number of posts I now feel are no longer appropriate for more than a few eyes.

So I have some thinking to do, and maybe/hopefully I'll be ready for all of the new perspectives I've gained to begin pouring out by Monday or Tuesday. I can say that some things have happened that have ironically recharged me and have me incredibly ready to tackle the rest of the year head on.

Right now, however, I'm going sit back and gather my thoughts while the snow pounds DC. I was supposed to catch a flight last night, but got all the way out to Dulles only for an airline representative to tell me that I never actually had a ticket reserved after I waited in line to check my bags for an hour. How is it that a person can receive a confirmation e-mail, solicit the admission of the airline agent that I did indeed book a flight, and receive a itinerary number, and still have the airline not reserve me a seat on the flight?

So I booked a flight for today, which was cancelled. And then I booked a flight for tonight, which was, of course, also cancelled. And now I have a flight for tomorrow night. Hopefully when I get home and physically remove myself from this environment, I'll be able to focus my thoughts more clearly concerning what's happened to me in the past week.

Until then, happy holidays!

5 comments:

  1. I have to agree. I'm not that hooked into things but I know where you teach and I'm pretty sure I actually know who you are.

    One of the things that keeps me from blogging myself is that very real fear that if you say the wrong thing you could be in trouble. I am a teacher in DCPS, and am pretty sure that if someone REALLY wanted to, they could figure out who I am from my posts, but if they are trying that hard I'm screwed anyhow.

    It's great that you are writing, but it is important to be somewhat discreet about where you are at.

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  2. Well, anon at 5:05, by your standards, the first thing he should delete is your comment.

    As for teachers who support Rhee - I haven't met any and I don't think that's because they aren't talking. I think some who used to support her (though with reservations)are no longer supportive after seeing how the RIF was handled. Teachers may support some of her supposed ideas, like the need for higher teacher quality and more teacher engagement with students, but they can't possibly support her methods or her management style.

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  3. anon @ 5:05 - the next time you want to give personal advice about personal information that that you don't think should be on a blog, please deliver it personally - not on a blog.

    regarding Rhee - if by accessible you mean returning personal emails and acting on them, then yes, I'd give her high marks too, but I don't think that's a role that the head of any large organization should have. I think that's micromanaging and done to impress people who like to be able to say they got a personal response out of the big boss - makes them feel important. I have also heard from many people that they got an initial response, but nothing more.

    Then there's the famous example of how she treated the Hardy middle school parents - cancelling a meeting with them, while meeting privately with non-hardy parents, regarding the fate of the Hardy principal and its Arts program. Quite a twist on the concept of being accessible.

    As for being "engaged in change" - I agree with that too, but the change she's engaged in is not good - it's plowing through the system with a tank, alienating her workforce in the process and using kids as pawns.

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  4. Glad to see you're planning to keep a better eye on watching your back. Was getting a little worried about you.

    - the once in a while parent commentator.

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  5. You mentioned submitting lesson plans to administrators. You are not required to do that. You are required to have them, if an admin comes in.
    Camcorder: good idea. Caution: don't share what you have recorded outside of the school with others, because you be accused of violating students' rights that require the parents of those on camera to give their signed permission.
    Fight right:
    1) File disciplinary referrals with your Pr or AstPr. Follow it with an email stating the facts. BCC all emails to your home email account.
    "But it's a waste of time; they never respond." Not the point: when you inform a pr or ap, you have transferred the responsibility for solving it to him or her.
    2) Request assistance from your AP or Pr., you know, "the instructional leader." Requesting assistance puts the burden on them to provide the assistance. Again: always email. Leave the paper trail and always be courteous and diplomatic.
    Anon

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