Saturday, September 19, 2009

glorified babysitter

The new schedule has been made and my roll has been clarified in my mind. A very overqualified glorified babysitter.

Why do I feel this way, because they have re-arranged the schedule so that I only see the students for 30min for a time AND during that time I have to walk them to their next elective, take them potty and pick up the next group and walk them back. We do not have a small school. It often takes 10min to walk the kids from music to art. So honestly I will have the kids in the room for about 15-20min. 5 to get set up, usually 5-10 for clean up...wait that leaves 0-10min to work on our art. Does anyone else see an issue with this?

The librarian is also at a loss. The gym and music teacher could care less (both have told me so). They have WAY less clean up and are more than happy to either play a game for 15-20min or practice their two songs.

I don't want to complain in school too much because I clearly told the principal and my rep on the scheduling committee what I really needed to have a successful art program and they made a clear choice that did not take that into consideration. Instead the principal came back with the clear purpose of giving the homeroom teachers 2 90min Profession development periods a week where they can work on writing samples with each other.(?)

I several issues with this.
  • 1st this is a really long time for the students to NOT be receiving in-class instruction each day. That's almost all of the afternoon instruction. Yah for time for teachers to professionally develop but is that best practice for students to get daily practice and sustained time to work on subjects. Our students also need a stable schedule and this is not one of them. I predict an increase of students being absent on the days when they are "not doing school" in the afternoons.
  • 2nd. Who is going to oversee that the teachers are going to be using that time to do professional development and not prep and relax time. No one to be honest.
Fine. Whatever. Sure I get NO breaks during the day except a 25 min lunch but whatever right!
  • 3rd, the real reason I am annoyed is that we were asked what the point/purpose of the electives program was. The music teacher and I meet with the principal. We talked about improving our students skills, creating a program that builds our students skills from year to year, having students learn to focus, make intentional work, learn the mechanics of the skill, revise and improve their work. NONE of this fits into 15 min art making sections.
With that time period I might as well just choose a art material per week and let the kids do whatever they want as long as they are using the correct material. It is so important for students to have time to focus on their art and doing it right. Not only that but having sustained time to really focus and get individual attention is important. Frankly there is NO point in having an art program in this format. This is a babysitting/time killing/make and take set up. Not an art education format.

This brings us to the meat of the issue. I already get a strong feeling that the new principal doesn't intend on keeping art around next year. Maybe as a very part time position with the middle school but not as a full time thing. With this new schedule, and using us to make sure that the kids are watched while the teachers get sustained "planing and development" time just reaffirms this concern that I will not be kept around.

I'm tired of bouncing around from district to district. Principal to principal, schedule to schedule. I have the ability to be a really good art teacher that provides a excellent, well rounded art program. So really the principal and leadership team needs to decided if they want an art teacher and an art program or if they just want a place for the kids to go. I am not going to keep doing something that is really emotionally and physically challenging if I don't feel that is what is wanted by the school community.

At the end of this year, before I pay to renew my licence I need to decided do I stay put if the position if offered again next year, do I try to find a middle school job (there were NO jobs open this year) or do I stop teacher for now till a better fit opens up and do something else instead.

Is it better to be a very high paid babysitter that doesn't really like what I'm doing but I'm earning a lot of money? Or is it better to earn less and try to find something I like better.

It doesn't help that my pay is freezed and I not going to get a raise for a couple years under the current budget situation.

I'll report on the new schedule when it is in effect.

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