Why should local teachers talk to the media? (rough draft)

I talk to teachers all the time, I would say at least a dozen a week. We talk about the curriculum, discipline, working conditions and a whole host of other issues. Most are frustrated with the direction that the district is heading but even more are afraid.

They are afraid if they to speak negative consequences will accompany their actions. They wont be reappointed, they will be put on a growth plan or they will just be messed with and I get it too.

Let me tell you about my last year at Ed White. I had two sections of VE science, a regular education research class and co-taught one earth space science class and two biology classes. My first period class was in Mod 3, a cluster of classes on one side of the school and my second period class was in Houston Hall an auditorium on the other side, though I also taught this class in the music room, a small classroom that sat 20 that my 30 kids would squeeze into and the library. One of my kids asked me why the admin hated me so much to move us around so much and I told him it was actually him they hated and he was the reason we were moving.   

After my trek across campus I would return to the room I was in first period for my third period class. 

The second half of the day were my co-teach classes but since I had my own preps and didn't have common planning with any of the teachers I would often learn what was being taught at the same time the kids did when I arrived. It was miserable.

Furthermore after five years at Ed White I had accumulated stuff, you know like teachers do, the four previous years I had my own room but now I had no place to put it. So I stored it in an abandoned office where I would also do my planning until I showed up one day and it was all gone, either thrown out or given away. I managed to get some of it back but it was very disappointing that my personal property had been so disrespected.

Though the most disappointing thing was when one day I returned home and my roommate called me to tell me about my dog, It was surreal I didn't understand what he was saying, something had happened to him, what, I said, whats going on. 

It turned out he had found my guy who was old and he had collapsed. He said he called me over and over at school and left several messages none of which I got and after a couple hours my dog died, without me. Just a dog right but he had been part of my family for 14 years he deserved to have me with him at the end.

That was my last year at Ed White as I was surplussed the day before teachers were supposed to report the next and the reason I was given was, "some data on Pearson" data they at the time couldn't show me.     

Later, months later, I learned that the data came from the 23 ESE kids in the three classes I "co-taught", something like six had improved, 7 either didn't or regressed and the other ten didn't have any data. I pointed out that I had done very little of the actual teaching but at this point I had moved on. 

So I get it when teachers tell me they are afraid and don't want to talk, the district can be bastarded coated bastards with bastard filling. 

Why tell you all this? It's because my last year at Ed White was the first year I started this blog. Us doing things the right way however, disciplined classrooms and respected and engaged teaches was more important than anything I personally had to endure, though I still get mad and sad when I think about not being able to be with my dog as he slipped away.

People have to know and I really believe that if they did they would want and demand better.

If only we had a media that was interested in informing them. I always encourage people to go to the media with their concerns and have passed along notes and information and even set up meetings too but I am beginning to think whats the point of doing that.

The Times Union did a piece today on the early grade curriculum that completely missed the point. Instead of talking about how developmentally inappropriate it is and how teachers aren't given what they need to succeed the reporter wrote mostly about the religion components in the curriculum. I was so incensed I wrote the reporter this note.

This is why I have a hard time getting people to talk to you.

I just read your piece and there were just a couple throw away paragraphs at the end about how teachers felt the curriculum was inappropriate but that was the story you should have told.

Nobody I am talking to thinks the district is trying to indoctrinate first graders towards a particular religion or that the teaching of religion in school is wrong. 

Teachers think whats the point of talking to the media when they just give the district a pass and their voices are ignored and how can I tell them they are wrong?

How can I?  

I really believe that if people knew more they would want and demand better, the thing is we can no longer sit around and wait for the media to do their job because they aren't interested in doing it and I for one am past sick and tired of them covering for the district. Rome is burning and like Nero the media is just playing the fiddle.


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