Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I don’t do surveys, or poor classroom management

Note to all those that people that read this blog, including students, board members, administrators, other teachers, fellow educators, ladies and gentlemen;

I don’t do anonymous surveys.  Ever.

Every year we are asked all these questions for a “state-of-the-school” packet that is then given to all teachers.  I never fill it out.  The anonymous nature of it makes it sort of a joke.  Much of packet is a bitch session.  And while the intentions are just, the results don’t do anything but create a system of venting.  That’s not productive.  Therefore if I want to say something to someone in power I actually say something and attach my name to it.  Today we met with the Superintendent and discussed what qualities we wanted in regards to a principal, and some of the problems faced at the school.  I told the Super my thoughts as she stood a few feet from me and in the company of my peers.  Some in the crowd might not have agreed with me.  My Super might not have agreed with me.  But the only way things get out in the open and presented with solution is if there are people actually conversing about the issues. 

An example would be a survey that went out over this last week that was supposed to be a state-of-the-school/what-we-want-in-a-principal sort of thing from our Faculty Association.  I did not fill it out, and actually got into a little bit of a tussle about it with some teachers because I told them I wouldn’t fill it out.  Here was one of the questions on the survey:

What do you see as the major problems that need to be addressed on campus?

Fair enough.  A normal question that usually degenerates into a trollfest but it’s going to need to be asked in a survey somehow.  Let’s see an answer.

“The electronic addiction is affecting learning. We do not have to allow cell phones, ipads, ipods, iphones, etc. at school. What happened to picking up a magazine or book when we are bored?  Are all the teachers aware that some of us teachers allow students to charge their cell phones in class without thinking that maybe this kid is using their phone too much. Are we aware that kids are posting on Facebook during classroom hours and any school board member can verify this.”  (underline mine)

See, now this is where I would stand up in the meeting and say

“Hi.  I’m one of those teachers that allows kids to charge their cell phones in class.  By the way, my kids aren’t on cell phones in class unless we use them in class.  They charge them in class because they use them outside of class.  My kids also use iPads and laptops.  And they still read books if they are ever bored in my class, which is pretty much never because unless it is Silent Reading, we are doing something with my face time with students.  Oh, and students don’t post on Facebook in my class unless I’m not there.  Then they post a picture of themselves holding a bill they just wrote for Mock Congress just to prove that while I’m at a conference they are working on bills.  Now, what do we need to do to help you  with classroom management.”

Instead this just sits in the ether and gets ignored because someone anonymous put it out there.  And it’s a problem because it shows a lot that is wrong with the classroom; problems with management, a fear of change, a fear of technology, and most of all, the insinuation that real problem in all of this is hardware.  The problems have always been there, only now we can see them on an Instagram account or see someone’s six second snippet on Vine. 

Then again I sit here and some could call it bitching with out productive purpose.  But at least I have a name to it and I own my mistakes while fully wanting and willing to fix them.  At least I can create a conversation and respond in an attempt to collaborate to a solution.  All anonymous surveys do is make fun fodder.

Now where is that power strip…..

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