Posts Tagged ‘letter’
Part Three of Four in my series on my two master teachers.
My master teacher said:
I do not invite them over to my house; I do not let them sleep on my couch if they’re having trouble at home, or are kicked out.
Then she says:
I gave up being a counselor a long time ago.
I almost don’t believe it. She is dedicated to our students, even if as strictly students. She gets to know their family life, learns habits, prejudices and excuses. She keeps some notes on each of them in her computer, and remembers the other details.
She doesn’t go to sports, but goes to events during lunch. She congratulates students on their participation or success in either.
I wouldn’t know her room had walls if I were impressionable. Every square inch within reach of her shortish frame is touched by some poster, or project, or the butcher paper replica of the human body for her psychology class.
As far as I am concerned, she teaches her government/economics class, and she teaches it jointly with her English class. She keeps a library of books in her classroom, mostly of the Scholastic-published variety.
The books run the gamut, from The Odyssey backwards to If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, though the largest concentration of books is between the eighth- and tenth-grade reading levels.
This is senior English. This is about-to-graduate-and-never-go-back-to-school-again English. She considers herself justified.
These kids graduated from their intervention programs, and the best might scratch the cusp of achievement if they joined an Advanced Placement class. She’s more worried about teaching them to love reading than to spot a synecdoche at 500 yards, or to parse iambic pentameter.
In general, and paraphrased, her philosophy:
Maximum Ride teaches them more about reading than The Scarlet Letter for one reason and one reason only: They won’t read The Scarlet Letter. They’ll wait until the teacher gives them the answers. On the other hand, they’ll read Maximum Ride.
Are her priorities straight? I’m inclined to think that they are.
I received the following forwarded message, from my high school band director. As soon as I read it, it worried me:
This Thursday, the school board members will be seeking input and discussing a list of proposed budget cuts. On the list of proposed cuts for next year is all elementary music and 6th to 8th grade band.
If the cuts are approved the only band in the school district will be the high school band which will last only a couple of years as it dies away with the lack of lower grade participation. Please come to this meeting and voice your support for the music programs.
Please make every effort to attend. If you cannot, feel free to email or call any of the school board members.
We need to let the board know that the community feels music is an essential part of a child’s education and nothing less. I know we can muster support from board members, but they need to see that the community believes music is a priority.
I sent each of the board members an e-mail praising them for their judgment. The letter, of course, assumes that they don’t drop elementary and middle school band. I didn’t just say that carte blanche, though. I promised to send them a nasty e-mail if they did drop music.
To think I had thought my school district immune to this sort of short-sightedness. Alas, no more.
It’s a nasty word, but why don’t a few administrative types volunteer a temporary pay cut? It worked for Steve Jobs.
Something makes me think that ain’t gonna fly.
Moral of the story? In such situations, defer to Mel Brooks. “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”