11/02/2008

LOSE-LOSE-LOSE

Just don't feel like working much right now. I'm in a muddle: in a new classroom, behind the district's pacing guide due in part to our trailer situation, and yet expected to jettison another Monday's classes for district-mandated CLAD training. At the same time, I'm supposed to administer the district's 1st-quarter benchmark exam before Wednesday even though my students have yet to cover all of that material.

It's a lose-lose situation for me. Either I blow off the training (risking administrative reprimand) to find time to prep and administer the benchmark, or else I administer the benchmark as is, leading to hideous scores that could land me under an administrator's scrutiny. In fact, it's lose-lose-lose, since every day I'm out of the classroom or doing anything other than the state standards my students fall further behind. In a just world, the district would not require me to take benchmarks now, or compel me to get training that isn't legally required, or put up extra hurdles to getting my students up to speed with the state standards.

I have to confess to a personality flaw. There are few things that bother me more than getting blamed for things that are outside of my control, and I just don't see how I should be held responsible for the (legal) hire of a teacher nine years ago without a CLAD certificate, or for placing that teacher for over two months in a 'classroom' without the ability to do laboratory science, or for the two unscheduled delays in returning that teacher and his classes into a real classroom.

Can I cite the administration for bad faith, poor planning and execution in these matters? Evidently not. Why, then, is it appropriate for me to face the possibility of a poor employee evaluation due to the quirky moves of administration?

2 comments:

Shelly D. said...

That does sound like quite a quandry. Pardon my ignorance, but what is CLAD and what makes it more important to the administration than the education of your students? I really dislike the turn that we have taken as far as teachers having to teach for mandated tests. Why can't we hire quality teachers and allow them to do what they love and do best. Get rid of the deadwood teachers. Only then will we see an improvement in our children's education. Someone's probably gonna blast me for my simpleton thinking. (stepping down now) May you find the wisdom to deal with your situation in a way that will be pleasing to everyone.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

CLAD is an acronym for Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development. It's basically an amplification of what are called SDAIE (Specially-Developed Assisted Instruction in English) strategies for ELL (English Language Learners). Wow, with this many acronyms you'd think I was still in the service! :)

Anyway, the idea is that the district wants all of its teachers to be CLAD-certified so that if some enterprising legal eagle examines the district, they can't sue on the grounds that 'x' percentage of staff are not CLAD-certified. Curiously, the district is not actually legally required to do that, but there is a law on the books (the Williams Act of 2004) whose provisions are sufficiently vague that any sort of systemic deficiency regarding services could in principle amount to a suit. So my district is being proactive....at my expense. What they should've done is offered this in the summer or out-of-session as an intensive seminar that would've given me either college credits or a stipend for my time. That way, I get something for the extra effort (I would take the credits) and my students wouldn't suffer. But that's not the way it's going down.