Thursday, May 22, 2008

Give me your opinion!

I hate to return on such a foul note, but I'm angry and bitter and need some outside perspective to my situation.

TAKS scores came in on Monday and they were AWESOME! 94% of my students passed the 7th grade Math TAKS (97% if you don't include my inclusion students)... overall 7th grade had a 93% passing rate and a 36% commended rate. We raised our scores 5% from last year.. and that is with having 100 more students on our teams. So we are all on cloud 9 til yesterday. My principal calls in me and one of my other two teaching partners, T, and tells us she is moving us to 6th grade. Why? Because their commended scores were the lowest in the district and she wants us to move down and work with the other 6th grade teacher to raise them because our scores were so good as 7th grade teachers, we will know how to challenge the 6th graders to meet the commended standard. On paper it sounds reasonable right?

The problem is that the schedule was already ironed out (for the most part) and we were told that 7th grade math was not going to be changed... so we weren't worrying about it. In our school, there are a lot of strong personalities within departments and within grade levels, but me, T and K have NEVER had that problem. Not once. We all have similar teaching styles and personalities, we have this unspoken balance of who does what work and when, and we just get along. We just have this flow that is very unusual for a group of 3 people. Everyone pulls their weight, helps each other out, and we honestly like each other a lot. So now this cohesive group is being pulled apart for the sole reason of raising test scores.. forget the fact that we are being thrown with another teacher, a new adjustment for all 3 grade levels, and having to hire a new 8th grade teacher to fill in a hole. I'm sorry.. all of this to fix one thing? Where is the logic in that? I am angry because I was told one thing, and now am getting another. I am angry because I am having to move to a grade level where I do not like the curriculum, and really most of the people who work there. I am angry because she made this decision on a whim (2 days after TAKS scores were sent) without consulting our math coordinator or us. I'm angry because I am having to leave people that I absolutely LOVE to work with,.

Not only that, but we were basically told (by our AP who is leaving for a different school) that we are the ones getting the shaft because we all have very flexible personalities and don't wreak havoc on our other co-workers. So they chose to move us instead of having to deal with moving someone else who would put up a fuss. So basically if I'm a B at work, I get my way, but because I do my job and do it without whining that I get shafted. His response? "It's not fair but it's that way at any school." I'm sorry.. but I really find that hard to believe. If you have a principal that is good at his/her job, then that type of crap won't fly. None of this "I'm too afraid to shake things up because (insert reason here), so we'll pick on the ones who won't cause the problems."

I realize that I can only see one side to this situation, and I have no clue what goes into all the decisions that are made as an administrator, but this really seems low.

Now I'm afraid of next year. I am good at what I do. So if/when I do well this next year and raise the commended scores, she is going to want to keep me there but I do not want to teach 6th grade. Granted I may like certain parts of next year, and make friends with my new team members, but I am bitter now about being moved down and am probably going to resist any sort of pleasure from this change. The point is, I like the 7th grade curriculum better, I like the 7th grade students better and I like the 7th grade teachers better. Will she listen to me if I go in there and say that I'm glad to go down for a year and help raise commended scores, but when our numbers balloon back up to 1200 kids again in 2009 that I want to be put back into 7th grade? Probably not..

I am mad... and I'm going to be mad for a while. I've heard many different things from many different people, but they are involved in the same type of BS I am day to day working there... so if you can offer a fresh perspective that I can't see, please do. Just don't tell me it's a compliment that she is moving me. I've heard that too much and I don't view it as a compliment. She didn't do it because she thinks highly of my teaching abilities or cares about my feelings, she did it because she wants the TAKS scores to be higher.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Getting to know me!

So Mister tagged me to do a meme.. I'm very honored! It's my first one! :)


1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

10 years ago I was starting my first year of high school in Richardson. I was a 14 year old sophomore who loved school (NERD!) and was also in marching band (GEEK!). I wasn't your mainstream idea of popular, but I had a lot of friends and enjoyed every minute of high school.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

1. Finish this blog post.
2. Grade some make-up work.
3. Watch Grey's Anatomy and Lost!
4. Repaint my toenails.
5. Call my love interest :)

3) Snacks I enjoy:
Cashews/Almonds/Nuts of any kind, chips and salsa, string cheese, apples and peanut butter, popcorn

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Bribe the current president to do away with NCLB and allow education to be regulated by state mandates chosen by TEACHERS, not politicians.
2. Travel with my ENTIRE family around the world.
3. I have no idea.. I clip coupons and only buy things on sale, I can't even fathom having that much money!

5) Three of my bad habits:

1. My Carmex use, I use the stuff like it's heroin. I haven't gone a day without it since 2000.
2. Cracking my knuckles.
3. Not washing my hands as much as I should. I know, ew.

6) 5 places I have lived:

1. Richardson, TX
2. Waco, TX
3. Brisbane, Australia
4. Frisco, TX
5. --------

7) 5 jobs I have had:

1. Math Teacher! :)
2. Hollywood Video Customer Sales Rep
3. Daycare Teacher (my current diaper count is probably 20000+)
4. Cashier at CiCi's Pizza
5. Kennel Cleaner at a boarding facility (my mom wouldn't drive me home one day because she said I smelled so bad. Texas summer heat and dog shit don't mix)

So I know you all have been just as busy as I have lately. TAKS is over as of yesterday, but now it's on to our last units of the year in order to prepare them for next year! I swear every student practiced their whining today when they found out that we were actually working and that they had homework. As much as they deserve a day off, we just don't have time! Our field trip is next week, which should be fun as long as it doesn't rain. Which it is supposed to. Great. My social life turned on an upswing in the last 2 weeks, but lack of communication since then has me a bit worried. I'm hoping for the best, but have been burned in the past.