Friday, October 21, 2011
My New Adventures As A Gypsy ATR - School #3
I just finished my weekly sentence in a large comprehensive High School targeted by the DOE for failure. This school is one of the 33 schools who are required to use the "teacher evaluation metric". This school has been getting an increasingly larger population of low achieving students who were not selected by other High Schools. Some of these students travel up to three hours, round trip, to go to this school since no other school will accept them. Many of these low achieving students are quite disruptive and the Deans have their hands full keeping the hallways quiet. In addition, every student has cellphones and do not hesitate to take them out and ignore the lesson or the teacher for that matter. Worse of all, the students look and act "ghetto", with saggy paints, underwear showing and wearing hats and hoodies Student disrespect is a very common problem in the school and adds to the low teacher morale. It is very obvious the DOE is targeting this school for closing in the near future.
Teacher morale is terrible as many as half of the teachers in the school have expressed a desire to leave the school for a more academic and safer learning environment. To make matters worse, quite a few teachers have already received their first "ineffective" observation, based upon the new "teacher evaluation matrix". A few told me how lucky I am that being an ATR and that I will be gone from the school next week. I guess it is "the grass is greener on the other side" syndrome. Of course, being in the school for a week is a week too long.
The Principal is not well though of and blames teachers for the many ills of the school. There is talk that the school is being set up to fail with an increasingly low achieving population and a demoralized teaching staff, it certainly looks that way. Thank goodness I am not teaching there on a permanent basis.