Sunday, April 13, 2008

Professional Issues

Ladies and Gentlemen:

There are reasons everywhere you turn for why our union needs to take central stage in tackling the issues in our profession. One of the latest I submit to you as further evidence that if we don't start controlling the direction of our profession and our working conditions, soon there will be no one left.

Exhibit A: An email sent to me by Kimberly Colbert at Central High School included this example: "Our secretary/purchaser was cleaning out leftover supplies and gave all of the staff some manila folders in their boxes. Staff response to her "gift" was a barrage of hysterical emails about whether or not we were supposed to "do something we hadn't heard about" with the folders."

Now I might be going out on a limb here, but no one freaks out over manila folders the first time they see them. No one. Imagine the years of conditioning and re-education that go into being startled by manila folders in your mail box. Empty ones.

Do I fill them with sharpened #2 pencils for the MCAs?
Are they for the photo-copies of the duplicate paperwork I copied in triplicate to justify testing that 2nd period student for special education services?
Did I miss the memo on using them to collect the time lines from our advisory lessons?
Seal the prom queen/king ballots in them to assure no voter fraud?
Do I self-label and file away my happy thoughts as a way to keep my co-pays down as part of the wellness plan?
Perhaps I file each year's 10,000 steps certificates alphabetically by each country I hypothetically walked to as a way to distract me from paying the sort of out-of-pocket costs for my family health insurance that will insure that I never actually can afford to visit one of these countries.

Regardless, it is a sad state of affairs when we are so dazed by the barrage of meaningless busy work, meetings for the sake of meetings, and directives at the drop of a hat that the site of manila folders automatically has us guessing that we did something wrong, that we somehow dropped the ball, or that we have somehow failed again.

We did not go into this profession to fail. We have not failed, but many outside of the classroom have failed at keeping the white noise of critics, fads, and red herrings at bay while we do our jobs.

Let's see what we can do about that.

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