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Monday, September 3, 2012

Were These People Ever Classroom Teachers?


(Most of this I reworked from an old Facebook note from 3 years ago, but sadly most of it still pertains)

My summer vacation ends at 7:30 on Tuesday morning.  It is the day I have to report to a day of teacher inservice for my district.  It is a day I DREAD!  Not necessarily because it is the end of my summer vacation (yea, I know, I just had 2 months off, just because I want to spend more time with my family doesn't make me a bad teacher but an honest person), but because the day itself is turns into a big waste of time.

In fact, last week I told my principal flat out...

"The first day of inservice SUCKS!"

Let me describe the scene for those of you who aren't teachers...

For me, the teacher inservice is like when I returned to campus at college after summer break.

I enjoy the people I work with on a daily basis, you haven't seen them all summer and it is typically a festive reunion.  Laughter and smiles abound.  

And then...its time to begin, and all the smiles disappear and boredom begins to permeate the room as the speaker the school paid to enhance your educational practice begins to speak.

And as the speaker drones, on you wonder how they can possibly be an expert in the field of education when instead of teaching you anything, they are putting you to sleep.

Specific reasons why I hate this day...

-My first day at BRMS I knew no one. When I arrived no one was there (they were in the middle of a fierce contract negotiation and purposely showed up 15 min late as a protest). They placed me in a meeting with science and math teachers, that was about math. I learned nothing I could use in the classroom (I was a computer teacher). I sat in a group with 3 other teachers, no one said hello.  I bought Wendy's and ate by myself at Hacklebarney State Park. Not a good start to my BRMS career.

-Most opening days at my first teaching position at CHS. It was as if the teachers were the troops receiving the general's directions. We NEVER got done with everything on the list in one day although we were supposed to have one day of lectures and one day to get our classrooms ready. There was one year we took two days listening to administrative directives. I would choose to have root canals on all my teeth than have to ever do that again.

-The worst speaker I ever had to deal with was a guy from a counseling center. Instead of building us up and saying, you have the opportunity to change a kid's life for the better, we got a "I hear kids tell me all the time how you teachers screw up their lives" (ok that's a paraphrase). That's was a great motivator to start a new school year.

How it could be better

-Stop the horse and pony show by bringing all the teachers of the district together. Allow each school more time to meet with their staffs to discuss specific issues for each school. Have the superintendent plan to meet with every school to give a brief message.

-Don't waste time or money on a speaker. Instead actually give teachers the time to meet with each other and brainstorm and plan for the school year.  The key word of the 21st century is...collaboration, isnt it?

-One of the best opening day speakers I ever had was Neil Cavuto of Fox Business.  He spent about 40 minutes discussing teachers and how they effected his life, his own children's' lives, and the impact that we have.   Witty and motivational.  Not bad.

OK, I have to get ready in order to have my time wasted.

1 comment:

  1. Barvo. As a technician I do not look forward to the inservices either as the speaker is clueless in technology as well. I feel bad for the teachers since they are forced to sit in on this useless dribble. Have a good year. we will have to exchange notes.

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