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Saturday, December 20, 2008

IF: Listen To Your Inner Voice Even If It's Ranting

I started this journal page early in the week, in response to Crafty Amigo's heart challenge, (that's me, of course, the Queen, can you tell?) but it's evolution took so long that it also fits the Saturday Workout magazine challenge. I was very frustrated over my possible schedule next semester. I was told that the administration at my school is considering collapsing my writing classes because of the high failure rate among the resource students in the area of math. Apparently, they need to create more math classes for these kids to retake the math class and earn a math credit. I realize that math is important, but how many kids with learning disabilities in math are going to use math in their professional lives? Exactly. But they'll all need to be able to communicate effectively in writing. So, I stewed in my own juices a few days, hoping that good sense would prevail and these people would approach me to discuss the value of the Writing class, but then, big surprise, I was unable to keep my mouth shut. At least I'd had time to cool down, when I went to my department chair to present my case. She agreed to TRY to keep one writing class, but she couldn't guarantee me anything. At this point, I don't even know what I'll be teaching On Jan. 3rd, and I won't know until Jan. 2nd. How effective can I possibly be, if I have no plans nor materials for these students who already have enough challenges and need a highly modified and individualized curriculum? Sometimes I'm glad that I'm nearing retirement because I think we've gotten too far away from doing what's in the best interests of children in special education. What's "special" about imposing regular grade level curriculum at the regular pace, using the same teaching methods used in regular education classes, upon students who have clearly demonstrated needs for individualized instruction? I'm sorry for ranting about something that can't possibly interest you and for being so negative, but I am irritated!


Leslie Rubio said...

I don't think you're being negative and can certainly understand your frustration. I'm not a teacher, but have alot of admiration for all they do and the gift of learning that really good teachers inspire.
I do hope that your administration sees things differently. All of the tests and measurements have gotten so far away from what learning is really all about. I'm glad that I didn't go to school when these changes were made. When I went to primary schooland once a week we went to a trailor in the yard of the school where we learned about God and the bible- this was public school and all you needed was permission from home to participate in the class-times have changed so much since then, and I'm not sure for the better.

Hang in there and keep making your beautiful journal pages.


Anonymous said...

What a powerful journal page! I was also touched by your post - it sounds like you have a lot of challenges trying to do your best as a teacher. I have to say I agree with you - I am also a teacher and I feel frustrated with the direction education has taken over the years. Well - hang in there and do what you can. And - keep making those beautiful journals :)

Sandy said...

Wow what a colorful page.
This is very impressive.

Thanks Alberta for this brilliant entry to SaWo.

Have a peaceful christmas time.

indybev said...

Ah, but we ARE interested! And sad that all to often our most dedicated teachers are being forced into teaching "situations" that negate their creativity and passion. Your journal pages are wonderful, and your students so lucky to have you. Let's hope administration get their heads out of their nether portions in time to save your writing classes!

Unknown said...

Hi Alberta,
I love your journal entry. I wanted to offer an idea for your writing program. When I was teaching in the elementary classroom, the state wanted us to encourage writing in math class. We had some fun(?) developing lessons where the students would respond in writing after they solved a problem. At first it was a struggle, but gradually I modeled what I wanted them to explain. They caught on! They had Math journals and when we worked on a word problem in teams, they wrote about their findings. In another kind of lesson, we asked partners to develop a word problem for another team to solve. Most of these lessons were very successful. I realize that you have high school students, and that you want to have them do creative writing, but functional writing is sometimes neglected. Students with IEPs benefit from the modeling approach as I'm sure you know very well.
Could you offer a class in writing for mathematics? This is just an idea, but I wanted to mention it to you.
Good luck with all of this.

Gayle Page-Robak said...

Terrific card!!

Willy said...

Wonderful page, great! And yes...I can understand how frustrated you are. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with a lot of time for creativity and no time for irritation!

Janet said...

I don't think you're being negative. I have long believed that the school system does not do much for students who don't fit the general mold. If a child has any kind of individuality, either from learning disabilities or from a higher level of intelligence they are left out of the equation many times. I hope your school sees the light and allows you to continue with your writing classes. Math is important but it isn't everything.

I hope you have the best holiday season ever!

Faye said...

Great job on this challenge, Alberta. You are so resourceful and such an obviously caring individual that I feel you will have just exactly what's needed on Jan. 3. And really, how many classes function fully on the first day back???

Valerie Lorimer said...

Love your piece - and the message. I'm very glad to have found your blog!

Rosie said...

You know you are right to be frustrated (shows how much you care). The system sucks and always seems to fail those who most need it. If you'd like my input, I'd prepare 4 weeks' worth of writing classes, as if it were any other term and then you'll be semi-prepared for whatever happens next year. If you can't rant away on your own blog why have one??? Hehehe!
Lastly: LOVE your Queen of Hearts.

DMG said...

See, this is what I love about you guys. You listen and you care enough to give me great advice and moral support. This is what I'm going to do:
1. chill out
2. go ahead and prepare 4 weeks of lesson plans including some lessons based on responses to problems from my students' math classes
3. have some faith
4. keep journaling AND talking to you


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding! No need for apologies! You're not being negative at all. You are right in being frustrated. I totally agree that their supposed solutions are not solutions AT ALL! It's great that you did not stay silent. I hope and pray that they somehow have a flash of insight between now and January. Why do they keep trying to force square pegs into round holes (or vice versa). I'm with you all the way! xoxo Serena Pia

P.S. If I don't procrastinate it away and end up forgetting, like just about everything else I say I intend to do, I will email you my version of the Bull Durham creed as soon as I do it. I carry a journal around with me intending to write in it throughout the day, and it's STILL BLANK!! Bad, bad me.

roc said...

this is awesome!

Lisa said...

I think your rant is completely understandable. I'm glad my kids are finally out of the school system.