Saturday, April 28, 2007

Whats been going on around here

Life is decidedly busy these days.

School is, or was, in CATS testing this past week. I had students only in the afternoons. These students were wired after sitting and taking a 3.5 hour test. By the time they got to me, they were useless as education goes. Add to that, that two of our teachers were out at the New Teachers Institute Follow up and you have students that are not in the class they are registered for either. I had automotive and welding students mixed in with mine.

Then there is "THE BOX" ... The box is our program assessment box. It is the way the state proves we are doing our jobs. It has 21 files with 3 to 7 folders in each one. Every folder must contain some specific documentation to show a committee that we are actually teaching the kids, communicating with parents, utilizing community resources, working with an advisory committee, adhering to their recommendations, working with student organizations, using guest speakers, integrating with the academic teachers, writing lesson plans, both daily, weekly, and monthly, designing syllabi's, using technology in teaching, holding open houses, working with the community, teaching safety, technology, employability skills, and problem solving skills, along with dozens of other things that we, as instructors, are required to do.
The problem is, we are doing those things, but the documenting of all of that requires as much time as teaching. We are losing teaching time (we do not get a free planning period like the HS does) because we are constantly printing off proof that we are teaching the rest of the time. I understand accountability. I understand that the state wants proof we are doing our job (well, besides kids passing our classes and passing state tests about the things we are teaching.) Somewhere, however, there has to be a middle ground where teaching doesn't suffer for the sake of paperwork.

We have spent this week working on getting those boxes in shape for our 'self assessment' that has to be completed by May 1. The committee doesn't visit us until the start of next school year. The kicker: only documentation less that a year old is usable. So, half of the stuff we are doing now, will not be allowed to count by then.

The good news: We only had one funeral this week. Our next door neighbor that died on Thursday was buried on Tuesday.

Looks like my summer vacation (June 15 to August 1) is filling up with work. That work includes one week with a contractor (that the state pays me for,) one week in New Orleans (High Schools That Work Conference .. also state pays for,) almost a week in Louisville (State Education Conference .. mandatory attendance .. so they have to pay me,) and a few other small things that will whittle my 6 weeks off down to 2 weeks off. That will be nice.
That's some of what has been happening in my world.
Oh yeah, we traded the Bravada in for a Cadillac, so Tammy has a new ride. (Pics will be forthcoming.)

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