Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Teachers Behaving Badly

Third day of this textbook training I've been at. So far it is going, by my standards, really well. I'm learning more about how the program (which I've been teaching from for a year) is structured, and maybe more importantly, gaining some confidence. Most of this year I've felt awfully vulnerable in my classroom. I'm learning things that are validating some of my ideas and experiences, and will allow me to meet with my principal and say 'this is what will work, here's why, and I will do it'. I hope. Maybe. It's pretty cool. I just wish we didn't have homework.

It's being taught by a young woman who is, compared to past people I've taken program trainings from, a genius and a mensch. She's non-saccharine, direct, and will even say "if some detail of the script or planning doesn't work for you, you are the teacher. Teach as seems best." (The usual reaction is "If you deviate from the script, the children will never learn anything. You are a moron. The script is LIFE.")

She has not yet used 'diverse' to mean 'not white', or said 'when teaching THESE CHILDREN it's important to...'

She explains research to us, rather than dismissing criticism with 'the research says so'.

Anyway, nice gal. Today I ended up eating lunch with a group that included the two women who talk and laugh between themselves right next to me all through the training. I joined them because some of 'em are in my district.

The group was not nice about the trainer lady.

I think I need to eat lunch with the positive people tomorrow.

The funny thing is that at my teacher induction program, I am usually one of the bad kids making noise--but that's because those are STUPID.

Of course, I'm also miffed because I said I was getting a real sense of what the program did, and how it worked, and another teacher said 'it's not really rocket science'.

Without going into all the reasons this past year was so hard for me--I still appreciate getting trained in the bloody program!

Teaching is a new career for me. It has a lot of advantages, and I think I can become good at it. But one thing I've noticed is that teachers can be some of the snarkiest most hostile people I know. We put other people down a lot. (Kids don't imagine this.) I don't want to become someone like that.

Better start tomorrow by picking the company I keep a tad better.


Anonymous said...

Hey my favorite balabusta in blue jeans,

I feel like teachers may be more likely to be snarky, seeing how a large part of their job is evaluating people. If one forgets the reason for grading or empathy for the student, one may start snarking on everything. (makes sense to me at least)

Also, i've always imagined "el cerrito" as this rural town out in the semi desert or something. it seemed so scenic in my mind. i looked it up last night on google maps - it's right outside berkeley! i'm so disappointed.
-alan scott

AbleVaybel said...

Yikes! Welcome to the world of teachers. I wish you mazel and lots of patience. Unfortunately, having done a lot of research with teachers, the 80/20 rule seems to apply there. And if you want to see REALLY scary, go to the district headquarters. In at least one major city - not far from you! - it is an open secret that the really egregious screw-ups are sent there to implement policy for the entire district. Oy.

Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

Thanks to you both for your support--I'm having so much fun at this training, though!

Alan, I'm sorry my (new) town isn't as romantic as you imagined. I grew up in urban San Francisco, so it seems pretty rural to me--there are deer at the recycling station! But yes, we're right on the freeway, just north of the People's Republic of Berkeley.

Apparently it was once called 'Rust' after an early settler, but they decided that didn't have quite the right ring.

Mirty said...

Most of the women I know around here are teachers. I went to a party earlier this summer where I was the only non-teacher. Much of the talk was of school, principals, crazy principals, not-quite-as-crazy principals, and weird things that happen on school trips. A fair bit snarky, but funny to hear about. Glad you are getting a lot out of your training -- find those positive peoples and lunch with them!