31 August, 2010

Initiative?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday. I went on ARIS to look at what I'm teaching and which students are in which classes. It was mostly what I expected- classes of 34 (and one of 35?) organized only by level. Not by grade, not by past experiences in the school, not by which students have failed the same classes 3 years in a row because they cut the last 2 periods every day.

Even though this is what I expected, I wasn't exactly thrilled. What do you do when you see 2 students in a class together who fought repeatedly last year? Seating charts, overplan so they never have time to fight, take their "temperature" every day when they walk in, know how to chose your battles, etc?

But I mentioned this situation to my friend and she asked why not just ask for one of those students to be switched to a different class? She views this as showing initiative to prevent a problem. I agree, but in my school such switches are almost never made. A teacher asking for a schedule change is looked at as someone who can't handle their classroom and has given up without even trying.

Maybe it's a different situation in other schools. I hope at my own the voice of the teachers reaches more ears during the school year than it has this summer.

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