The classroom police visited me the other day. They said my board configuration was off. They said my classroom agenda was missing. The said my rules policies and routines weren’t posted and they said my word wall was non-existent. Then they said Guerrieri get with it! The last part they didn’t say very nicely.
I had several problems with this.
First, the kids don’t need those things above to learn and where is the proof it helps. In this era where data is king, where is the data that tells us having a complicated and time consuming agenda helps with the transfer of knowledge? Where is the evidence that shows that students in a class with a word wall do better on standardized tests than those that don’t? How do we know that massive data notebooks lead to kids going to college? Show me a paper, a book, an article, show me something, show me anything! Sure it might sound good on paper not that one exists but when teachers are just creating these massive volumes to get their principals and A.P.s off their backs it hurts the whole process. Just show me some proof, some evidence that any of this leads to success and I’ll do it. Like most teachers will I’ll go the extra mile for my students if it proves beneficial.
Now you might be saying, suck it up Guerrieri, when you are on the company dime you need to do what they say. The problem with that is that I am not doing it on the company dime; I’m doing it on my own. When I am arranging my room, updating my agenda and spending hours on cramming stuff I’ll never see again into data notebooks, it’s preventing me from doing other things like interacting with my parents, planning and grading papers, you know teacher stuff. What people are failing to understand is that teaching more and more has little to do with actual teaching and more and more with throwing time consuming and half thought out ideas against a wall like it was paint and seeing what sticks.
My second problem with the classroom police visiting my room and telling me to make extensive changes is I don’t have a room. Go ahead and read that again. Yes, that’s right I don’t have a room. I am either teaching or co-teach seven of the eight periods and in doing so I find myself in six different rooms. I am in one room twice, a room that other teachers use as well, well if they would show up that is.
I’ll cram stuff into a data notebook. I’ll also use the lesson plan format even though I only understand about half of it. Then as usual teach my ass off but configure a room, which I am in twice every other day? Really?