Thursday, August 04, 2005

Institute Directing

There is a woman training at our Institute this summer who doesn't get it. The list of everything she doesn't get is fairly long, but a succinct summary involves not understanding how issues of diversity will enter her classroom whether she explicitly welcomes them or not, why it's not a good idea as a newcomer to openly criticize the practices of your future colleagues, you cannot lecture for an hour to low-achieving students and expect success, what guided practice means, how to close a lesson, the interplay of classroom management and engaging lesson plans, etc. She also hasn't passed all sections of the CSET. Over the past three weeks I've spent as muchof my time on this one would-be teacher as all the rest of them combined. There's been endless documentation of her areas for improvement, as well as a cohesive action plan put into place. She did not complete the plan, went to the next step with the director of HR, but was allowed to remain in the program and will in all likelihood become a classroom teacher this fall.

On a surface level, the idea that I put a of work into an improvement process that ended with a recommendation that was ignored is mildly annoying (did anything change?) but the reality is this woman should not be teacher. It's not that her shortcomings are intensely grievous in and of themselves, but the underlining red flag here is her refusal to take responsibility for anything, to own her actions in any meaningful. The issues were documented were out of context, other people were late, her advisor has a personal grievance against her, the program is flawed, etc., etc.

This is the teacher personality that writes off student misbehavior as a function of their bad day, low academic performance as a result of poverty and poor role models, dismal school culture as the fault of the principal let's the veteran teachers do whatever they want. Nothing will ever be this woman's responsibility, nothing will ever be under her control. She will show up every day, deliver a lesson, and if the kids learn, great, and if they don't, their parents don't stress the value of education enough in the home. You can see it clear as day.


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