A Rant

It’s amazing.  The buzz word in the air is, once again, CHANGE!  Obama is running on the platform, and really everyone in the news is talking about some sort of change.  Change is good, right?  We can’t stay the same.  We have to re-evaluate, adjust, make things better, etc…

At my school, we are doing the same thing.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we are starting this new system called PLC.   The main idea is for teachers to collaborate together and discuss what we are teaching, why we are teaching it, and how it helps the students.  There’s other stuff, too.  So, we have these meetings.

At my last department meeting, the department chair got to thinking that we ought to have some sort of rhyme or reason to how we choose our novels.  Right now, we have a list of novels in our collection and we simply choose however we want to do so.  The chair had the idea that maybe we should organize our novel choices into some sort of categories.  We got to thinking that we could try something like this:  Classics, Contemporary, and Genre.  We had the meeting and tried to discuss it there.

It didn’t go well.

Teachers instantly went on the defensive.  Do we all have to teach the same novels now?  Are we going to be clones of each other?  No, we said, we just think there should be some sort of consistency.  Choose some sort of common thread in our novels.  Well, Teacher A complained, how can we have a common assessment if we are all teaching different novels?  It’s impossible!  This whole idea of common assessments and PLC is ridiculous, but I guess we have to “play the game”.  I replied, we don’t really need a common assessment.  Our first goal with the novels is simply to get them to read it, right?  We don’t need a test for that.  However, at the end of a semester, we might want all of our students to be able to identify literary elements in a novel:  mood, foreshadowing, writing style, etc…

Teacher A shrugged and sighed.

Teacher B jumps in.  “I’m afraid that in two years, we’ll dump this PLC plan and move onto something else.  We’ll be putting all this work into something and it won’t matter at all.”

Teacher C adds a personal story about a book that was really captivating for some of her students.  It doesn’t help the conversation.

Teacher D smiles and nods.  To everyone.  Regardless of whether they disagree with each other.

Time ticks by.

Eventually, I make a semi-angry remark, then leave.  I have no idea how much longer the meeting ran.

So, the point of my rant?  I’m upset with whiny, complaining teachers who are unwilling to try new things.  These teachers are not OLD, but they are just as set in their ways as the teachers who are retiring this year.  They want to sit in their classroom, shut the door, and do whatever they want to do.  Sure, lots of us want to do that, but not only is the school forcing us to collaborate next year, but to me it just seems like the best way to help students.

Isn’t that what we should be thinking about?  Grrr.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts. 


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