Thursday, October 29, 2009

an open letter

No offense, r180, but I'm pretty much done with you. Your curriculum and expectations of rote practice and limited teaching move-ability is confining at the very least. If you were a vegetable, you would be the one shriveled one in the bag that I'd rather throw away than eat. If you were a pet, I would never be your owner.

To be frank, you have squashed my dreams of being happy. You and, in conjunction with my administration, have ruined my first year of teaching by strict rules that adhere only to quality process and never to actual quality products. Because of my administration's obsession with going with previous year's plans for ease's sake, as opposed to updating old projects and making much more interesting, my ability to create an actual holistic experience in the classroom is floating terribly down like Icarus. Because of your unwavering attitude toward process and only teacher-student-whiteboard relationships, the ability for our students to experience the kind of guidance and human development research has felt necessary to include.

If you need answer, please tell me this: where do we, as R180 teachers, enter creative use of instruction within this systemic trap?

All in all, R180, I've learned that in the school I'm currently employed under, it is best to just follow the status quo, and never speak out. Best to just leave our work where it is, and push aside innovation, adolescent development and critical thinking in order to stick with the process.

Sirs & madames, I am sorely disappointed.


...and Enide said...

Wow! I am so sorry you've had such a bad experience! I wish there was something I could do to help! Want to go to Halloween party tomorrow?

DST1913 said...

Get out while you can. Farifax, Montgomery counties are wonderful!

Heather said...

Let's be clear. Before you condemn a research-based program that is successful in many schools, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Are you a fully certified teacher?

2) Do you have a degree in any form of pedagogy?

3) What specific training do you have in the components of reading instruction and assessment?

Most first year teachers in DC come from alternative certification programs, as did I. Nothing is wrong with answering no, no, and none to the above questions. But why should your principal allow you "flexibility" and/or "creativity" in implementing a reading intervention program if you aren't qualified to do so?

Reading the District said...

Heather, you're absolutely right. I think, however, that I should be clearer about who or what I'm directing my frustration towards.

I think, upon reflecting upon things, that I'm more frustrated with my supervisor's attitude towards things, and her utter refusal to allow changes toward the curriculum.

But, before I go on, lemme answer your questions:

1) In Massachusetts, I'm a fully certified English teacher...but because the inter-state agreement for DC required 3 years of experience, I am not here.

2) I have a Master of Education degree.

3) I was trained in Nashville at the beginning of the school year, but the data-retrieving and interpreting has been "learn as you go."

Last thing: the Read 180 teachers in my school are, in fact, all ESL teachers. Each of us brings a certain kind of skill to the table. What frustrates me is that the skills that I feel comfortable showing can't be exemplified...or at least not as much as I would like. The structure is too much for me, and I seem to be struggling a lot with investing myself in it.

I'm not condemning the program, just frustrated, is all.