Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm kind of angry right now.

Not that it will do me much good, because there isn't really anything I can do about it. But I need to vent a little bit, and so I'm going to get started.

The principal of my school just screwed me over because the 2nd grade teacher wanted something she shouldn't have been able to have. What did she want? My 3rd grade position.

I have many concerns about this teacher's teaching practices, especially as they are related to teaching immersion, and also related to her ability to have students actually learn math and science content. The students who arrive to my 3rd grade classroom from her 2nd grade classroom are often lacking in basic skills, both mathematical and language. I have students in my classroom who arrived in 3rd grade immersion without the capability of asking permission to leave the room to use the restroom and without the capability of adding 1 digit numbers. This teacher, who voluntarily teaches in the immersion program, constantly uses resources in English in her classroom, speaks in English with her students, and allows her students to avoid speaking in Spanish (the target language in our program), all the while allowing them to "learn at their own pace" while not actually progressing in any content area nor in their language development.

Yet somehow this teacher, who last year confessed to me that she was barely passing her teacher evaluation, has become the golden child in my principal's eyes. When she suggested that she would like to move up with her class to 3rd grade, my principal, without hesitating, apparently told her that it sounded like a good idea.

I found out about this "good idea" through a rumor little miss perfect started -- she told one friend that she was moving, who told another friend, who told my partner teacher, who asked me whether I knew anything about it -- since according to the rumor, I had agreed to it and thought it was a good idea.

I did not know anything about it, and I did not think it was a good idea.

I still don't think it is a good idea.

I think it is a horrible idea.

Oh, wait. It's not just an idea anymore.

As of our hour long meeting today, during which little miss perfect sucked up to the principal some more, it was decided that not only am I moving to 2nd grade for next year, while I'll be out on maternity leave for the first 12 weeks of school, that little miss perfect will be helping me write my lesson plans.

You know, because she's so perfect and so willing to make this work, because she wants it so badly.

And because somehow she thinks that I will be convinced that it's ok to provide my long term sub with materials that are in English when they should be in Spanish, and that somehow it is ok for me to speak in English to my students (or have my long term sub speak in English), and somehow I would make a great teammate for working together as a vertical team with her and the current 1st grade teacher.

I'd rather peel my skin off with a potato peeler than have to sit in a room with her at any point in the near future and have her act like the expert on teaching 2nd grade immersion, when I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears the lack of success she has teaching immersion.

I'd rather pour lemon juice into a paper cut than listen to her whiny voice talking about "how wonderful it would be for the kids" to have the same teacher again next year since she "knows how they learn and where they are academically." It doesn't take long to figure out what kids know and what they should have learned the year before -- I'd prefer to be able to use the materials I've already created, translated, tested, and been successful with than to move to a new set of standards, needier children, more material creation and translation, and a new math curriculum on top of it all.

And this at the same time as I'm having a baby, becoming a mother, and missing the first 12 weeks of school.

If I weren't expecting the baby at the beginning of the school year, I would transfer to a different school, or break my contract and look for a job in a different district....But I'm stuck for this year.

I'm not going to be a good team player.

I'm not going to share all the hard work I put into 3rd grade.

I'm not going to share the resources I collected.

I'm not going to stay late or come in on weekends to get a 2nd grade materials collection started, like I did my first year with 3rd grade.

I will do the bare minimum. I will spend as little time at that school as I possibly can. I will speak in Spanish to those kids, regardless of whether I'm in the classroom, the cafeteria, or happen to see one of them at a restaurant one night. I will teach those kids the best I can for the little effort and time I'm willing to commit to the job, and when the year is almost over, I'll decide whether I want to stay another year -- supposedly moving up to 3rd grade again -- before moving on to another school, another principal, another set of people who might do a better job of acting like compassionate human beings who take other people's experience, opinions, research, and backgrounds into consideration.

My perception of these two people, both the current 2nd grade teacher and the principal, have been forever altered.

One day I'll forgive them. But I won't be forgetting.

I'm a teacher after all. I'm in the business of learning.

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