Thursday, October 18, 2007

Know your stuff and why you believe...

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
This week I was faced in a staff meeting with something that I just don't understand. Last year, because my corporation is on probation, I was forced to start curriculum mapping. I don't understand mapping and it wasn't presented to me in terms that I understand. This week we discussed our maps in staff meeting. My assistant principal who really is a great person and pretty great at his job had the wonderful task of telling teachers that their maps needed to not be copied and pasted but tweeked a little to reflect their own personal classroom. This is understandable I get this, but I raised the question...

"Can someone help me understand how this helps my individual students? I just don't understand the whole concept?"

Now, picture it, a group of teachers that have been dumped on when it comes to responsibilities, they have just accumulated tasks over the years and noone has removed any of them. They are weighed down, many of them have been here for years, they have never seen the point in raising their voices, they won't be heard. As I begin talking they are nodding, their body language is changing, they are ready to use their voice, they too don't understand.

Afterwards, when the uncomfortable is over, they thank me, they mention buying me shirts with "rebel" written on them, they say they wished they had the courage.

My mind is a haze, my thoughts are confused, when did asking for clarification become a rebel's cause? When did fighting for my students take courage?

I had a conversation with my assistant principal this morning, not to apologize for standing up for my own beliefs as an educator, but to just ask, "did you get what I was asking? Do you understand my point of view?" (disclaimer: yes he did and thanked me, even tried to help me understand)

I made a decision this summer, while discovering best practices, that I was going to be intentional, that I was going to stand up for my students, that I was going to expect the best...from everyone! That's what I expect from my students, why not expect the best from everyone else? If we set the standard, people can either fold, or step up to the plate and follow through.

Does anyone know where I can get a rebel t-shirt?

5 comments:

Jen Barney said...

YOU REBEL!!!! When I grow up can I be like you?

LiteracyTeacher said...

Bravo! I wish more people would stand up!

Ingrid said...

Heh, heh....we'll, I'm snickering to myself because you must have been dying inside when I mentioned curriculum mapping in this morning's session at the workshop. I feel like a shmo. Here's what I'm thinking, since I wasn't there for the brotherhood of rebels: It sounds like you were asking real questions, and others thought you were questioning authority (the authority, in this case is the State versus the district leadership.) I've had the luxury of a lot of training on mapping. Ultimately, it will make our jobs easier...eventually we'll stop reinventing the wheel (which, as a facilitator I saw a lot of). You and your compadres go above and beyond as it is AND you use all your resources, so I can see why you're questioning things. Not everyone is your caliber, girl. YOU ROCK!!!

Sarah said...

Sarah,

You would laugh if you came to one of my staff meetings. My staff has been asking this question about every new initiative, policy etc. My most recent frustration was posting my schedule with every single state objective footnoted. Isn't that crazy. How does that help the kids or me, for that matter. These objectives were to be visible for any "walk through" by the principal up to the super. This kind of top down implementation about little policies has created a terrible culture in our district. We are on the way to repair. This year we have a new super and a great new attitude. But there were about five years of decline that we have to recover from. I hope your district never has to go through this and you feel like you can always speak your voice.

Ruth said...

i'm soaking up your boldness by visiting your blog. it really is about standing up for our beliefs every-single-day, isn't it?

my mom said when she turned 50, she felt free -- like she could say what she wanted. When she told me that, I thought, why wait that long? I turned 30 this summer & decided I was old enough to stand up for the things I believe.

still it's tough. and sometimes i slink back to my quietness.

when you find that t-shirt, let me know so i can get one too.