24 January, 2012

Uphill, both ways.

As I listen to President Obama talk about the auto industry and the types of jobs American companies are creating, I am thinking about the students who I will soon be sending out into the workforce.
We're working on bringing technology into the classroom. But only on shallow levels- they're learning to hit the right buttons on vocabulary websites but not how to create the programs or troubleshoot difficulties.
We have smartboards in every classroom but use them as whiteboards and rarely let students touch them.
We spend huge chunks of the budget on technology that no one uses or that malfunctions and we have to outsource tech repairs (see: entering 212 grades 4 times because of website issues).
I'm studying education politics because I believe in public schools and public school teachers. I complain about the focus on 21st century skills because I don't think it should take over the school. I want my students to be innovators of technology rather than using it at a menial job and I want school to prepare them for that.

10 January, 2012

There's no software solution to this?

Well it has been a minute since I've been here and like any job, my teaching responsibilities have changed quite a bit in the 3.5 years I've been working. Oh, no? In other jobs they don't change your responsibilities and tell you about it the day before you come back from a vacation? One more bonus to being a teacher.

Basically, I teach foreign language and like some of my colleagues around the city and other states I am now required to teach foreign language with Rosetta Stone. Never mind that I can't troubleshoot a not-very-good pc. Disregard that Rosetta Stone isn't aligned to state standards or ACTFL standards. Forget that I spoke with several of my supervisors multiple times to express the reasons I, licensed foreign language teacher and student of multiple languages, did not believe it was the best choice for our students. Ignore that the decision was made over the summer and I was informed, by the computer tech (who has been remarkably patient throughout this situation) on the Friday before the school year started. Yes, don't think about those things and the changes might seem manageable and even exciting.

Unfortunately, I do think about those things. Especially because this is my tenure year, round 2. I will be evaluated on my ability to be "highly effective" while spending the year creating a curriculum for multi-level classes in one class period that I was in no way trained for and am only minimally assisted with.

What brings me back is that I have reached out to teachers I know, teachers I don't know and classmates and professors at my previous graduate school and current graduate school and not been able to find many other people dealing with similar situations. This seems like an ideal topic to collaborate on and I can't find collaborators.