Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Can I make a ground breaking suggestion?

Please don't laugh at me, I'm only going into my 5th year....
But I happened to read Mr. A's post on the whole Master / Turnaround Teacher offers that the DOE has put out and, I just don't get it.

Are there not already school and district based coaches? And mentor teachers? And lead teachers? And cooperating teachers for student teachers?  And don't half of them end up assigned to areas they know nothing about? Does the DOE propose to eliminate these titles? Why add so many layers to an already convoluted system? Sounds like someone  who hasn't been in a school for a while had an idea in a meeting.

 This might be a bigger deal in D75: I can't tell you how many times a coach or lead teacher has walked into a classroom of mine with only a smidgen of special ed experience and told me NOTHING that i didn't know already. As if I never tried a graphic organizer before!  I've experienced behavior / classroom management coaches that refuse to observe the children - instead taking me through powerpoint presentations on how I feel about things like having a chair thrown at me. "Angry. Frustrated." "You have remarkable insight into yourself, Miss Rim, how did you learn that? " "Therapy." Colleagues of mine had coaches in their rooms to model lessons and outright refuse to teach after the first curse word.

So I'd like to make the groundbreaking suggestion that the DOE streamline these titles, but make the duties a little more specific. They could also make a cute little acronym and get good PR that way, say...M.O.M (Master or Mentor)....So a middle or high school who is very needy could have an school based  ELA MOM or 2, A math MOM or 2, etc, etc and with elementary sites there could be a K-2 MOM, 3-5 MOM, etc. on site daily working with teachers and admin, helping to design AIS,  assisting with classroom management, etc. For "less needy schools" maybe the MOM comes a few times a week.
For D75, I'd see it as a bit more specified, the MOMs would have to specialize in either standardized assessment kids, or alternate assessment kids, with grade levels and such.
Then I see these MOMs working at schools to select the right mentor / cooperating teachers and giving them support.
And eliminate the whole "turnaround " word- come on - can you imagine getting one of these jobs, having the best of intentions and then being introduced as the turn around teacher? (although I have the feeling the way it's set up, most of those teachers will be arrogant douches just off their 2nd or 3rd year)  If I may continue the lousy metaphor, these turnaround teachers will be treated like evil stepmothers by the existing staff.

Are you still laughing? That's OK, I know it's more complicated that what I've suggested, (especially the sea change that it would entail) but it's got to be more simple than this.

Wanna hear another joke? I'm going into my 5th year and will get my THIRD student teacher in the fall. That's right, folks. I've been a cooperating teacher since my 3rd year - most of the more veteran teachers where I work can't take it anymore, so the principal assigns some of them to me. Not that I suck at teaching - because I really believe in my bones that I don't- and I give my student teachers what I can, but it's a disservice to them getting such a newbie.

Let's all comment on the way other teachers mentor and model for each other!


  1. MOM,the acronym for Milk of Magnesia. MOM, exactly what is needed when working for the DOE.

  2. Well, Dearie, you display all the intellect, creativity, imagination, and verbal skills I enjoy in your sweet mother...with a bit more of a bite (guessing that's what I relate to)...YOU GO much of what you share is spot on and you are a voice for many I'll bet. I always hoped to have been a guide for student teachers but it IS an awesome responsibility and in your teaching situation I imagine daunting at times. Sorry I have no helpful suggestions today but think your "M.O.M" idea is worth exploring...