Monday, June 05, 2006

schoolhouse rock

As in most schools, 60% of the people that I work with are intelligent, proactive, and roll with the punches. The other 40% are disgruntled, passive-aggressive, and indignant at the slightest disruption to their schedule, to the point where you wonder if they stop their car at crosswalks and yell at pedestrians.

My school is getting a new principal in the fall. He came in today to introduce himself during a faculty meeting. He spoke for fifteen minutes and promised four times that he wouldn't try to change anything. Of all the things he could've said, this seemed like a fitting, albeit disconcerting, promise to make to educators, appealing to the 100-year-olds that are technically my colleagues but that I still feel weird not calling Mrs. We only have a few of these (and some that are elderly only in attitude) but they wear on the rest of us. Next I expected to hear him promise not to dissuade anyone from teaching an entire year's worth of curriculum out of a workbook that was written in 1972, and vow not to keep anyone a minute past 2:40 because it's not in my contract and I'm not staying I don't care I told you it's not in my contract.

I'm totally over the education system being the last holdout of non-professionalism (except for that tow truck place on Goodenough Street in Brighton, which is actually a gaping portal to hell). I've long thought, as I know many people have, that education should be as difficult to get into and as prestigious an endeavor as medicine, attracting the brilliant, innovative, and kid-intuitive, and, of course, pay accordingly. I'm fortunate because I happen to work in a district in which most of my everyday colleagues fall into that category, and I'm working to get there myself. I'm optimistic that a new generation can... wait, I'm sorry, this isn't a commencement speech. I'm hoping that the young people in education, who have had to go through more hands-on training and get more degrees and levels of certification and come into the profession armed with and having access to more cutting-edge information than their school marm predecessors, can shake things up a little bit (or at the very least eliminate the ridiculously long summer vacation, which is the most blatant disregard of children's intellectual well-being since GameCube)... or will the energetic fresh-outs of today just eventually get old and prune-like, silently pass out worksheets, and insist on every precious coffee break? Hard to say, I guess, but I'm holding out hope.

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