There's No Time To Teach!
by Linda Schrock Taylor
by Linda Schrock Taylor
A SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR SPEAKS:
"Move those textbooks to the back burner! Worry later about INSTRUCTION!! Keep in mind what actually is important in public schools! Calm down, for goodness sake! There will be other times when you can teach.
When? Well…after the September testing which predicts how well your students will do on the SAT-10. No…wait! Better make that after the December testing which predicts how well your students will do on the SAT-10. Of course…hmmm….then we have the State Writing Assessment. Better wait until after that. THEN you can go back to the books…
…until time for the February testing which predicts how well your students will do on the SAT-10. Yes! There may be a window then of a couple-few weeks when you can do some instruction….that is after you finishing training the kids on how to handle the SAT-10 and how to record their answers and how to 'bubble-in' the right places, and after giving them LOTS OF PRACTICE.
Of course, remember that you need to get in all of those State Math and Reading assessments that are to be completed on the computer. 3—4 times a year; test in each subject;….that's not so bad! (Be thankful that you work in a middle school and don't have to give up instructional time for the graduation exams!)
That will bring you to about…Spring Vacation. That's Right! The last week of March.
As soon as you return from Spring Vacation, we must think about giving those State Reading and Math Tests inconjunctionwith the SAT-10, which also tests Reading and Math. As they say…there can't be too much of a good thing! Six days of testing…if we are lucky…plus all of the make-up tests. Yeah! It's do-able.
We must do a great job this year!! You know what they call it — 'High Stakes Testing'. Our funding depends on how well the students do. We must be sure that our school makes ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS. AYP!! AYP!!
We simply must plan well for this.
Now, Spring Vacation ends just 24 hours after the TIME CHANGE — Clocks Spring Forward, and all that! Back to getting up in the dark! However, the kids will probably have a very hard time getting to sleep at the 'wrong' time; then waking up an hour earlier than usual will be just horrible for them. I know that their alarms may 'say' 5:30 AM, but their bodies will still feel as though it is 4:30 AM! And, you know how kids are at 4:30 in the morning….asleep!
Yes, I know that studies have shown that teens are not physically at their best in the morning, and that schools would be wise to delay the start of school days in order to take advantage of the natural biological rhythms of young bodies. Too bad! Those at the TOP say we start school at 7:15 AM, so those busses need to collect those kids by 6:15! Whoever claimed that school administrators make decisions based on common sense; biological or academic studies; or, of all things, Wisdom?! (Oops! Tell me that I didn't say that…)
Ahhhh….let's get back on-task. Keeping the kids awake for the first few days following Spring Vacation is going to be a real challenge. It may even be totally impossible.
The other problem is that the kids will have spent 9 days Staring-at-the-TV-screen-then-sleeping-in-late. They will NOT be ready to apply themselves to schoolwork. Do not expect any of them to do their best — or even their near-worst — during the two weeks following Spring Vacation!
So…here is THE PLAN….drum roll, please…we will give ALL of the High Stakes Tests during those two weeks right after Spring Vacation!! Isn't it brilliant?! The kids won't complain about all the extra tests because….they won't even be awake and alert enough to notice where they are sitting, or what they are doing!!
It's a masterful stroke of administrative genius!!
In addition, the teachers will be so groggy, that they might not notice, either! Oh? You will? Well, let's see….I know what we can do!
We will kick off the testing weeks with a PEP RALLY on the first day back from Spring Vacation!!! Yes! We will have teachers act out skits; cheerleaders jump around; and we will encourage the kids to do lots of screaming, yelling, and foot stomping!!! Then…we'll send the students into the High Stakes Testing just Hyped out of this world!! (Who says that ADHD plays havoc on a child's ability to attend, concentrate, and learn??) It will be fun, FUN, FUN!!! Already, I can picture the costumes; the un-educational behavior; the…glaze forming over the eyes of many of the staff members…
Your job…should you choose to accept it… (joke…joke…you really won't be given a choice!) will be to unwind and unhype the kids in time to turn them into model on-task scholars by the second (2nd) day after the Great Time Change; after Spring Vacation!
Be sure to remind your students of all the practice time they have put in all year getting ready for these exams and…Remember….our students MUST do well on these tests! That means the special education students, too! It doesn't matter whether they can read, or not. They take the tests, too!
Impossible task? Hard, yes, but not impossible. We will even help you. We will provide each child with a ½ cup of orange juice! That should wake the kids up; get them going; and keep them going! You know what they say….A day without orange juice, is like a day without sunshine…
When will you finally be allowed to do academic instruction? Geesh! You really thrive on beating a dead horse, don't you? I'm beginning to suspect that you simply _are__not__a__team__player.
'Teach, teach, teach.' That's all I even hear from you. Well, here is a great opportunity for you — the district is hiring tutors to work after school for barely peanuts in an attempt to mollify those parents who have noticed that schools are failing to find the time to teach their children much of anything. Put in for one of those positions! It should be right down your alley, and hopefully it will satisfy that irksome personality quirk of yours…the one that drives you to set such cumbersome goals for yourself, and for your students!
My Gosh! I must tell central office NOT to send me any more teachers with such a Wish-to-Educate fetish. What are Teacher Education Schools doing in those hallowed halls, anyway? Have they forgotten that schools exist to fulfill a different function? Must I quote John Taylor Gatto to remind the professors, as well as the parents, that public schools are a 'jobs project'?
Can't parents just be happy that we provide the most expensive babysitters that money can buy? No one appreciates anything, anymore."
Linda Schrock Taylor [send her mail] is an educational consultant, homeschooling mom, and public school special ed teacher. She is available for presentations, inservices, and workshops.
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