Blogs by Leslie P Garcia
Forests, Educators, and the Terminally Puzzled
10/12/2004 9:05:20 PM
Attendance in triplicate, voices no one hears...no time to teach, but points for show...who says our public education system has "issues"?
Remember that ages-old question? Not the one about the chicken—in fact not any of the ones about the chicken. This is the question about whether a tree falling in the forest makes a sound if no one hears it.
Came about because I was screaming in the forest again…no, I was in the classroom again today. The classroom wasn’t the problem. The problem is the forest, represented by bureaucrats, administrators…choose your poison. (And no offense to those mythical creatures of the forest, administrators who both listen and think.)
I finished administering another round of tests to my first graders. Although this verifies stuff I already know—like, they can’t yet read—I actually think this battery of tests, the Texas Primary Reading Inventory and its Spanish counterpart, Tejas Lee, provides useful information. Add to that a technological device that really worked—the whole test on a palm-held device rather than in a mountain of forms and manuals—and hey, I actually liked doing this test. It’s true that while I tested, I couldn’t teach, but this testing went quickly, and although the results are erroneously used to hold schools “accountable,” instead of just for planning instruction, I wasn’t fazed.
But I was absent yesterday, and hadn’t caught up on all the goings on of the foresty types. We now do attendance in triplicate. Why? Don’t know—it all goes to the same office. We have breakfast in the room, after the first bell, and it has been delivered progressively later for the last several days. We have a lengthy form to fill out listing students’ birthdays for the office. My beef? (Besides the milk spilled on the floor, that once would have been spilled in the cafeteria before the bell)
Well…practically none of my kids read on that marvelous computerized test. The office has four people—not counting the folks in charge. The birth dates are on the computers, as are rosters. No one can explain exactly why three different attendance forms going to the same place are necessary. Why the unnecessary demands on time already stretched too thin? Why is "instructional time" a phrase flung our way at in-services, and denied us by administrators and "support" staff the world over?
Sometimes, in grade level meetings, I make suggestions. Like, wouldn’t it be better to let the office staff do their job, and save time for teaching? Like, isn’t one attendance roster enough? And my favorite—if we actually were allowed to teach, instead of testing and filling out forms, wouldn’t the odds swing in favor of success, instead of frustration?
Now and then I hear the faint echo of my voice in the wilderness. My first grade colleagues agree, but point out that we’ve been screaming for years, more loudly this year than ever, and we’re never heard. On a recent walk through to evaluate high level thinking, the most pertinent point made was that the teacher had a beautiful desk. (She saw the walker coming and shoved everything in a closet.) When I protested—said stuff and nonsense—she shrugged. Reality, she said.
So, does the tree make a sound if it falls and no one hears it?
One of my former first graders came by to visit me today after school—she’s in sixth grade now, and is volunteering to help our school volleyball team. Her hug shut me up for a while. Didn’t think about trees…oh, for hours. But now, in just seven hours, it starts all over again. And those darned trees just keep falling around me.
Post a Comment new!
More Blogs by Leslie P Garcia
Happy Mother's Day - Sunday, May 12, 2013
Hi and Happy Mothers' Day! - Saturday, May 11, 2013
Random Acts of Thought - Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Irony of the Right Kind - Monday, April 02, 2012
Old Acquaintances We Shouldn't Forget... - Thursday, December 29, 2011
Calmer Moments - Thursday, November 10, 2011
Just...Tired - Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Not Famous or Rich, but... - Saturday, October 08, 2011
A Few Hundred Thousand More... - Tuesday, September 13, 2011
How It's Done - Sunday, August 28, 2011
New Again - Wednesday, August 10, 2011
As Always...and Never - Saturday, July 23, 2011
Forget You, Perry Mason - Sunday, July 03, 2011
Totally Country - Sunday, April 03, 2011
For Teachers --Mostly - Sunday, March 06, 2011
Borrowing from a Friend--More This and That - Saturday, February 12, 2011
Back From...Beyond - Monday, November 22, 2010
Groundhog Day? - Sunday, February 14, 2010
The New Black? - Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Okay, On Dream, Susan Boyle and Taylor Swift - Sunday, January 31, 2010
Blogs I Meant to Write and Didn't - Saturday, January 16, 2010
Beagleized - Monday, August 03, 2009
Heads, Heels, and Suing the World - Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Ahhh...Sunny Days and Glaring Glitches - Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Truth, Sweet or Bitter - Sunday, February 24, 2008
OOps! - Thursday, August 09, 2007
But DOES he love her...? - Sunday, June 24, 2007
A Betting Woman... - Thursday, June 07, 2007
How Many Days Now? - Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Following Through: The Piñata Debacle - Thursday, December 28, 2006
Should Old Memories Be Forgot? - Monday, December 18, 2006
Sisters and Lions - Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Honesty, Memories, and Assorted Life Stuff - Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Awww, Steve - Monday, September 04, 2006
Voices from the...well, not dead - Saturday, September 02, 2006
The More Things Stay the Same... - Sunday, November 07, 2004
Forests, Educators, and the Terminally Puzzled - Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Low Brows and Bare Feet - Sunday, September 19, 2004
Sour Grapes and Seabiscuit - Sunday, August 15, 2004
Derby Day, 2004 - Saturday, May 01, 2004
Braves New World... - Friday, April 09, 2004
Not Rose... - Saturday, April 03, 2004
Headshakes and Handshakes. . . - Monday, June 30, 2003