Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Do you Want to Keep the 37.5 Minute Small Group Instruction Sessions?

Randi reported at tonight's executive board that elementary school teachers are leaning toward wanting to keep the 37.5 minutes of extra time for the small group tutoring and they do not want to see it eliminated next school year. Is this true?

ICE would like to hear from members from all divisions (elementary, middle and high school) on how you would like the time used.
Please tell us the type of school you work at.

1. Would you prefer six hours and fifty minutes in an eight period day Monday through Friday with no 37.5 minute small group instruction sessions?

2. Would you rather have six hours, fifty seven and a half minutes Monday to Thursday spread into nine periods with the 37.5 minute small group instruction sessions and six hours and twenty minutes on Friday?

3. If you are in a seven period elementary school, would you prefer six hours, fifty-seven and a half minutes Monday to Thursday with the 37.5 minute small group instruction sessions and six hours-twenty minutes in a seven period day on Friday.

We would like to hear many comments so we know what to push for when we meet with the leadership.


Monday, March 06, 2006

The New Contract: One Month of Hell & Counting!!!

How much more can we take?
By Camille Johnson
Humanities and the Arts High School
Randi is not a real teacher, so she would not understand the enormous impact of what she gave away in our current contract. Because she accepted  an  extra 37 1/2 minutes small group instruction period and a plethora of other givebacks for mere pennies,  we are now suffering the ill effects of it in the classroom on a daily basis. 
In my single session high school, teachers are doing the mandated tutoring during period 1 which means that we start work at 8:05 A.M.

For the professional activity period, many teachers have still another small group instruction period. This then means that the teachers now have to teach their 5 regular periods per day  with up to 34 students in each class plus the mandated 37.5 minute period and the professional assignment, thus making it an interminable 7 period instructional day when it was five under the expired agreement.

To add insult to injury after teaching an arduous 7 periods, teachers still have to stay twice per month after school for an 8th assigned period in the form of Faculty and Departmental conferences.
The law of diminishing returns is totally in full effect, because there is no energy left for teachers to reflect on their practice or even to check homework, quizzes, projects or tests.  Consequently, a trailer-load of paper work lags behind which is a perfect recipe for hostility and burn out.  A hard working, conscientious teacher who cares deeply about students no longer has sufficient energy left nor the time to devote to do necessary outreach.
Therefore, there is less of an opportunity for teachers to conference with students, correspond with parents or to plan innovative and more creative lessons because we are simply over exhausted.  In addition, it will only get worse with the extended year as the 2006-07 school year will commence on the last day of August.