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Category Archives: Administrators

At one of the schools in my district today a teacher thought they saw someone peeking in their classroom window. She went to the window but couldn’t see anything. She mentioned it to the teacher in the next room. That teacher told her that she thought she saw movement outside her window earlier.

They told another teacher at lunch. The third teacher kept aware this afternoon, and sure enough, she turned toward her window and caught the blur of someone ducking out of sight. She pushed the intercom button and notified the office. The office sent the security guard out to catch the culprit.

Turns out it was the school’s principal. She wanted “to observe the teachers without their knowledge so (she) could get an accurate description of how the teacher taught.”

I’m just not sure what to say…

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A teacher comes to school today. While checking her mailbox she mentions to another teacher that she woke up with a headache and a little sick to her stomach.

A secretary overhears the conversation and tells the assistant principal.

The assistant principal goes to the teacher’s room and tells her to go home.

Perplexed the teacher asks, “Why?”

She’s told that if she feels sick she needs to go home. She insists that while she woke up and didn’t feel 100%, after a shower, a cup of coffee and toast she’s fine now.

The assistant principal says he doesn’t care how she feels now, if she woke up sick she needs to go home. “You never know if you got the swine flu.”

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’m the webmaster for my school’s website. I’ve been told by central administration to update the website. So, I have been.

For the library page I found a really nice banner. It is a picture of a library stack taken from one end with the perspective fading away. There’s a nice golden globe on the right and the word ‘Library’ in the lower left. Nice header. I was pleased as I put the banner on the page Friday.

Within 5 minutes, no exaggeration, I received an email from the librarian.

Please change the library webpage back to the way it was.

So I emailed her back and told her that I was told to update the page. Almost an instant return email.

Well, you can’t use this. Change it to something else.

I emailed her back and told her that I’d be more than happy to come up on my planning period Monday and look at some other options.

You have to change it now. I don’t want people seeing it over the weekend and sending letters to the newspaper.

So I emailed her back and asked her what the problem was.

Its inappropriate. That was the entire email.

I told her that I didn’t understand what the problem was and I’d see her on Monday. I went back and looked at the picture to figure out what was wrong. I couldn’t figure it out. She sent me another email.

The overall picture is great, but some of the books aren’t.

Hmmm. I looked closer. Then I saw it. One the end of the stack was a book with the title on the spine. If you looked reallllllllllllly close you could read it. “Encyclopedia of Islam”. And that offended her. I left the header alone and asked 5 or 6 other people what they thought of it. Nobody said anything. I came home and showed it to everybody in the family. Nobody could find anything wrong. I showed it to the principal and the head assistant principal today. They saw nothing wrong. When I pointed out what the librarian had a problem with they agreed with her and made me crop it out.

Teach tolerance? Not in this part of the country.

That strange noise you hear? It’s me banging my head on the table.

In our PLC meeting this morning…

Okay, let me backtrack. If you are an educator you may be aware of the newest fad sweeping the nation, Professional Learning Communities. Basically it is a weekly meeting of a group of teachers to discuss ways to improve instruction. Back in the day we called this LUNCH. Now, however, we take 45 minutes of instruction time every week to hold these oh so important meetings.

Today’s meeting. The district math coach is telling us about how she has found a great website with dozen of links to other great websites. She passes out a printed copy of the site she’s talking about.

Sure enough, there are maybe 35 links listed on the sheet. Links. No URL’s. Just the link. And the URL for the original page? Nowhere on the handout.

I believe in modeling the behavior I expect in class, so I raised my hand. She acknowledged me and I asked her what we’re suppose to do with this.

She said, in a sarcastic tone, “They’re links. You click on them and they take you to another website.”

Really.

So I took my pen and started poking the paper. Loudly. And each time I did it I said, “Click. Click. It ain’t workin. Click.”

I’ve figured out to solve so many of the problems in my school.

There are 5 assistant principals. We only need 4. The 5th one was the principal at another school here in town, but he pissed of the super and got canned. He’s definitely the best one we’ve got, and he’s the “principal in waiting,” unofficially of course. All of them have been in administration for 15+ years.

So here’s my idea. Each year rotate one of the APs back into the classroom for a year. Still pay them their admin salary, that’s okay with me, but remind them on a regular basis what its like to be in the room.

Of course, that makes too much sense, so it will never be tried.

The student handbook for my school states that any student with a grade of 69 or lower will be assigned mandatory tutoring.  The staff handbook states that any student with a grade of 69 or lower will be assigned mandatory tutoring.

The first 20 minutes of the school day is set aside as “mastery learning” time.  This is when students go to tutoring.  The math department can “reserve” a student on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We turn in a list every week with the names of the kids we’ve assigned to tutoring.

Most teachers have 25+ kids who should be in tutoring.  25+ kids/20 minutes doesn’t give much time for real tutoring.

I make myself available one hour before school and one hour after school every day.  If a kid’s grade falls below 70 they have to serve 40 minutes sometime during the week.  They can do one 40 minutes stretch or 10 minutes a day for 4 days, whatever.

Because of my flexible schedule for tutoring most of the kids who need the extra help spend a considerable more time in tutoring than 40 minutes.

 Not all teachers do any tutoring other than the mastery learning time.  They have complained that they can’t do any real tutoring with so many kids.  The administration told us last September to only assign mandatory tutoring for kids who are failing, maybe someday we’ll be able to catch the kids with D’s, but not now.

Whatever.  I still assign tutoring for kids with a 69 or lower.

I get a note in my box yesterday from my AP.  She wants me to stop by her office during my planning to discuss my tutoring list.

She starts the meeting by congratulating me on my failure rate.  First semester 8.3% of my students failed (the average for the math department is a little more than 25%.  I’m not sure if that is an indictment on the quality of teaching, or the quality of our students, but it is what it is…).  She wants to know why I have 29 names on my tutoring list if only 10 students are failing.

Because I have 19 students with D’s.

We don’t place students with D’s in tutoring.  That is only for failing students.

That’s not what the handbooks say.

You know we changed that.

I don’t know why though.  You do realize that a student needs to score 70 or better to pass the state tests, right?

There are too many students failing to worry about the D students.  [yes, that is an exact quote]

My failure rate is so low because I expect my kids to make a 70.  Kids work up, or down, to your expectations.  You used to teach, you know that.

It doesn’t matter.  Quit assigning kids who are passing to tutoring.

Really?  Lower my standards.  That’s what you’re telling me?

I’m telling you to quit assigning tutoring to kids who are passing.  You’re making the other teachers look bad.

 

God forbid I try to make a difference.

I’ve been trying to write a post to vent my anger at the absolute stupidity of the administration at my school for the last 30 minutes.

I can’t.

I’ve started over 4 times.

I guess I’m just going to have to go indulge in some adult beverages.  I promise not to drive.

My school encouraged all teachers to let the students watch the inauguration today.  All day.  The whole thing.  It is important to watch as history is being made.

Okay.  I agree, this is an important event.  An event that should be witnessed.  I don’t know how I can tie it into a math lesson, so we’ll just watch so someday these kids can tell their grandchildren about it.

Right smack dab in the middle of President Obama’s speech the P.A. system crackeled to life.

Somebody picked that moment to tell teachers that the photo schedule for clubs to get their yearbook pictures were in our boxes.  It was also important to tell the students that large posters had been placed in all the main hallways with the same schedule posted.

And then they repeated the entire announcement.

We’ve had mucho construction at my school.  One of the new features is a new mailbox system for the teachers.  These were the mailboxes they ordered…

If you’re a teacher, which the administrators supposedly once were, it is obvious these aren’t going to work.  So they ordered new ones.  For the last 8 weeks, this has been our mailbox system…

 

Its amazing what a $3,000,000 bond issue can buy…

So I’m watching the evening news.  Yesterday, in Tulsa, a student was caught with a gun at school.  Naturally, there is a story about safety in schools.  They were interviewing an assistant principal at one of the schools.  I had to rewind the tivo three times to make sure I heard what I though I heard.

Here is a direct quote from the story (http://www.ktul.com/news/stories/1008/558391.html):

As for walk-through metal detectors, only a handful of middle and high schools have them.  One of those schools is Nimitz Middle School. We’re told they use it three times a year.  “Why do you not use it every day if you have it,” we asked Nimitz Assistant Principal Jackie Tolbert.

“Well, our procedures are not to use it every day,” Tolbert said. “Because if the students realize that we are using it on a daily basis, of course they’re not going to attempt to bring anything in that they shouldn’t bring in. We’re trying to catch contraband that should not be brought into the schools.”

I’m speechless.  What the hell can you say after that?