Today in our weekly “content area meeting” I was directed to tell the group one objective I have for my classes next week. The expectation was that it would begin like, “The students will learn… and will be able to…” But all I could think of was when and how would I unstaple the 62 benchmark exams that I’m supposedly starting to give on Monday, and finishing on Tuesday. We have decided to make them take longer by only giving a little bit of it at a time, and having them answer in the test book first before they transfer it to their answer sheet. I guess that is so they will really think it over. I get slowing them down some, really. Some kids finish that thing in about ten minutes. So yeah, I get that. I’m not as sure about the transferring part. Seventh graders aren’t necessarily precise about anything, so the chances of their answers going accurately from a test book to an answer document are sketchy, in my opinion. However, now that I think about it, their transfer errors might actually be beneficial to the outcome of the test. I’m still thinking that one over.
So I stated my objective, ending it with, “I mean, we only have three and a half days left and two of them are already slated for the Benchmark Exam.” The kudos from the county office of education cheerleader did not go to me and my objective. So base it was. Honest and real, but base. (Really, how much am I going to get across about transitions and parallellism to seventh graders eager for Christmas vacation??) So, after we told our objectives our time was pretty much up. We were directed to the calendar of future such meetings, asked if we agreed with it (what’s to disagree with? We didn’t exactly pick this to do in the first place.), and then we were given a nice little loaf of pumpkin bread to take with us. That part was nice. Really.
The part about listening to everyone’s objectives for an hour? Not so much. I mean, it just doesn’t feel helpful or useful. I don’t see the purpose for it and I feel curmudgeonly for saying so. Last week, without the help of a cheerleader, we worked as grade level teachers and got our next week’s lesson planned and ready to go. It was useful and efficient. We did state our objectives at the outset of the meeting, but it was only among those who were teaching the same thing. That made it seem more useful to me because we have similar goals. We didn’t have a leader, we just did our work. We still timed ourselves, and took good notes about what we discussed. No cheerleader was needed. We just did what we had to do. Today we were told that for the rest of the year we will be meeting like we did today, for two hours every Friday. With the cheerleader. Every Friday afternoon. The rest of the staff will be working on other interesting school improvement and student focused projects, without a cheerleader, but because we are doing such great things, we’ll be only working in our content area. With help. The rest of them promise not to leave us out. To tell us what they did and said. Um hmm.
Is it Christmas vacation yet?