Chris Taylor in the movie Platoon writes home to his grandmother about how veteran soldiers don’t make time for new soldiers. The veteran’s reason the rookies will be killed in the first few days so what’s the point. Where I don’t expect anybody to be killed at Ed White high school (though I have been known to occasionally knock on wood), that’s sort of how I feel about the new reading teachers the school keeps hiring. You see one lasted two days, another three and a third less than a week. A colleague jokingly (I assume) suggested we make squares to bet on how long the last few survive.
When I say reading teachers I may be speaking a bit inaccurately. They are hiring teachers who agree to become reading certified a process that takes about three years to do. So even if these teachers can survive their kid’s behavior, the lack of books, resources and support they still won’t have much of an idea about what they are doing for quite some time.
When the year started many of the kids these new reading teachers will have were in art, home economics and health but after a state visit where faceless low level bureaucrats whose main jobs seems to be justifying their job, told our school these level twos needed to be in reading classes. The kids latest failure was not doing well on assessment number 1 million for the year (I exaggerate, some, but literally we have had about a dozen district and state assessments so far this year alone). So the school gutted its elective department and began the process, which is still ongoing ten weeks later, of hiring five new reading teachers.
Instead of leaving them in the electives till teachers could be hired and trained, the schools first solution was to pout them in the auditorium. Friends it was literally heart breaking to see sixty kids a period sitting around doing nothing. Next we hired subs, but for the most part failed to provide lesson plans or things for the kids to do. Then we started hiring teachers, the first two didn’t last, two more were soon hired and one quit already. The kids are out of control and why wouldn’t they be, it’s not like they have had much supervision or anything to do.
We hire teachers and I have no doubt that they are all dedicated and hardworking but unfortunately they don’t know what they are doing. The 200 kids at my school who were assigned first nothing, then subs and now teachers who are lost will without a doubt lose a whole year of instruction. Then at the end of the year the powers-that-be will point their fingers at the Ed White staff and ask, what’s the problem why can’t you make the arbitrary gains we have set for you? You must be terrible.
Once again the system sets teachers and kids up to fail and then scratches it’s head coming up with the only solution that seems viable to them and that’s teachers aren’t doing their job.