Friday, February 28, 2014
The school I was at for the month of February has quite a lot going for it. Screened and well behaved students, an experienced and friendly staff, an easy commute, and finally adequate parking. This would be an "A" rated school if it only wasn't for the administrators. The administrators are down right unfriendly, don't collaborate with the teachers, and use the Danielson rubric as a punitive weapon. While as an ATR they left me alone, it was very obvious to me that they enjoyed doing a surprise walk-thru at inopportune times to try to get the teacher. This group is the real "gotcha squad". In fact, its on chaz's "do not apply" list. The result is that many teachers took days off as they needed to get away from the administration and I found myself covering a class for each day I was at the school..
Except for the school administrators the screened students (mostly "3"s and some "4"s were well behaved, engaged, and cooperative. This was the school that my field supervisor did my observation in and the students were just wonderful. The experienced staff was friendly and in the teachers' room we had many discussions and helpful advise. Moreover, the payroll Secretary was very nice and helpful. Parking was adequate and there is no "alternate side of the street parking" in the area.
Like all small schools the students griped about lack of good electives, after school activities, and Advanced Placement courses. However, overall it was a great school, except for the administration. I would take a job there but I would need to be careful of the "gotcha squad".
Saturday, February 1, 2014
I found myself at the "fight club school" in Southeast Queens once again during Regents week since this school had my W-2. I had a very relaxing week, as all week I either read my book or slept in the teacher's room. They chose not to use me or the other two ATRs to proctor the exams or use us as hall monitors. Therefore, my entire week consisted of rest and relaxation, can't beat that.
My week of doing nothing helped me realize how much stress the school's staff is under. Unlike the ATRs the school staff had to prepare second semester unit plans, lesson plans for the next unit, and a twelve page questionnaire to be given to the Principal by Friday. Many of the teachers complained of having three or four preps and some not being certified in the subject they were being forced to teach. Others felt really stressed and affected their health. They were looking to take sabbaticals to recharge their batteries, while others were thinking of resigning and leaving teaching. It appears many of the teachers were not happy with the observation reports they received and are distrustful of the Administration they were once close with.
Its good to be an ATR than being a teacher in this school with or without the students present.