Tuesday, May 17, 2011

End of School Countdown

It's that time of year again, when most teachers have the "days of school" countdown on their boards.  Each teacher has his or her own way of counting down.  Some include the current day, some only include instructional days (exam days don't count), and some don't count the "exam make up days" which most students opt out of coming to anyway.  Teachers choices also vary as to when they begin the countdown - some begin on the first day of the semester, some begin after Spring Break, and others begin when they are at their wits end and it offers piece of mind.  I never realized how a few numbers on the board could make the last few weeks of school seem bearable when I have little, if any patience left.

This year as the school year is once again coming to an end, I have found myself with so much more work than usual, that the countdown doesn't quite serve enough "help".  Coming back from Spring Break, our school implemented a new Intervention System - this caused teachers to rearrange their schedules because 6 minutes were shaved off of each class period, and we "gained" 30 minutes of homeroom/intervention.  For this to work effectively, teachers must do the following:
1.  Determine new goals to for each Course - Now, granted the state has its own Standard Course of Study, but why use that, when you can reinvent the wheel?
2.  Create assessments to show that students have mastered the above mentioned goals.
3.  Analyze these assessments to determine which students have not mastered the goals, and which part of the goal needs to be retaught (during intervention) to those failing students.
4.  Reteach each goal, in 30 minutes - I mean, if the kid didn't get it after 90 minutes of instruction, of COURSE he or she will understand in 30 minutes.

This is in addition to all other paperwork and duties that have been "requested" of us lately.

Do not get me wrong, I do believe that students can benefit from extra instruction; however, I do not believe that a new schedule and set of expectations should be introduced to teachers after a long awaited and much needed Spring Break (after all we taught for 10 weeks straight due to makeup snow days).

As you can imagine, there are many teachers needing summer "break" or "recovery".  As I look at the countdown each day, I gain a little hope that summer is right around the corner and I can spend many days and nights on the beach or by the pool soaking up the sun and drinking many ice cold adult beverages!

Until next time . . .