Monday, October 15, 2007

Teacher Workload

Our teacher team started the day today working with the district negotiating team on the norms we will follow as we discuss teacher workload and professional development. Together, both teams then identified our interests around addressing workload, what the current reality is around teacher workload, and what options might be relevant to addressing the issue. The district representatives were sincere in their interest to listen to all the workload and professional development issues brought up and ideas generated. While a lot needs to be ironed out, a lot of progress was made. We assigned ourselves some homework to continue thinking of solutions in preparation for a follow-up meeting with the district on Wednesday, October 17th after school.

In retrospect it felt a lot like the work you do as a teacher to build a classroom community. First you establish the sort of rules that will help you function, then you can introduce the interests that will guide your work. Most often in a class these are standards, with the implicit interest being the next skill or even grade level available, but at times the interests your students have and the interest you have as a teacher converge and are less tangible and more intrinsic. For me this would often happen when I had the chance to teach the elements of poetry by studying Langston Hughes. In the midst of a lesson about rhyme or meter or how he might play with space on a page, we would find ourselves lost in his words and discussing so much more. It almost seemed criminal to lasso the learning back to a mere academic standard when I had a glimpse of real-time learning blossom in front of me.

While we are going to have to be mindful of our January 15th deadline to complete our negotiating and all of the standards that pin-prick at our interests, it seems that we have a team that will look for every opportunity for real progress.

3 comments:

John said...

O.K. Mary Cathryn. It is apparent that your blogspot isn't getting a lot of response or at lease, comments. Are you ready to have your blogspot added to our website or do you want to use the website to update negotiations.

Kimberly's Blog said...

I think the Scheilcher presentation quantitatively validates your comments on workload. Why is it so difficult to systematically create the reality we know to be the best for educators and kids?

Kimberly's Blog said...
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