Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 10 2011

Climbing in the polls

My principal is very quickly climbing in the polls inside my head. He’s been such a do-er this year, which I really admire, and his “moments of greatness” are becoming more and more frequent. Maybe “do-er” is what others would call “impulsive,” but I’m a fan.

Today he suddenly decided, per the math department’s failure rates and comments from administrators, to basically barricade the math hallway with administrators for the entire school day. There were at least two support personnel and one administrator present in the hallway from beginning to end today, making sure kids got to class on time–and then stayed in their classrooms once they got there. THAT was the clincher–apparently (and we’ll see how this holds up), no student will go to the nurse/counselor/bathroom/water fountain/anything during a math class, for the rest of the year. Whoa.

It was not a popular decision with my darlings, of course. But my principal was the one who broke the news in every period, and he was there to take the heat. Other than one girl crying because she apparently was going to throw up and three people walking out of class, it went over pretty well.

I want to focus all my energy on my students, but I also want to focus all my energy on my department and making things work better. I wish I were good enough at one or the other that I didn’t have to choose between them.

One Response

  1. Ms. Math

    It’s great that your principal is trying to address math failure rates. It’s sad to know how much farther we have to go than just keeping kids in the classroom. The quality of instruction inside that classroom has to be high, and most math teachers don’t have the training to make that happen. I’m so glad you seek out so much extra professional development-I know you are making some real progress on making sure that the kids trapped in your class are learning something more than memorizing a bunch of stuff that doesn’t make sense to them.

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