Saturday, May 14, 2005

Accountability, Shmaccountability.

Okay, I believe I have at last recovered from the humiliation of Wednesday's Volunteer Luncheon. I am disappointed in my blog performance over the last several days, but the sheer amount of energy required just to maintain the minimal amount of control in my classroom is absolutely ginormous. I am so exhausted when I get home each day that I have fallen into a deep sleep as soon as I collapse on the couch.
Now it is Saturday evening and I've had the opportunity to detox from school for a full 24 hours and reflect on my week. After some analysis, I have hit on a few of the inconsistencies which are making my weeks so challenging.

1. Administration stresses the importance of not "ending school early." I agree heartily and continue running class much like I did prior to The Test, but incorporating some more challenging material that the kids will encounter next year. I continue assigning homework, though less than before.
Problem: Parents do believe that school is over and see no reason for their kids to be doing homework. They tell kids that it is okay not to complete assignments. I consequently take money from child for not having said assignment, parent calls administration, administration reminds teachers that checkbook system should be both positive and negative. Which leads us to number two.

2. I am very concerned that some of my kids are not going to make the end of year Super!Fun event because they are going to run out of money. To help them, I am creating endless inane tasks that they may do to earn money back. I look for ways to give them money; things as ridiculous as, "Billy! Thank you for picking up that pencil! Way to show some initiative! Let me give you two dollars!" Then Billy learns that he can get the money back that he lost when his mom told him he didn't have to do his homework. It's a vicious cycle. My colleagues and I feel that Billy and those like him do not deserve to participate in the event, as they have not met the criteria laid out at the beginning of the quarter. Which leads us to problem number three.

3. The administration does not think that anyone should be left out of the event, regardless of how they behaved or adhered to the system all quarter. Sigh. So the purpose of the system is.....Bueller? Bueller? This little game perpetuates this little community's comfort with no grades, no keeping score in sports, no losing teams, and no accountability. It just excites me to go to school each day. Smile.

What's a tired teacher to do? When I muster up the energy, I'll create a little sample of a typical ten minutes of a day.

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