Monday, January 23, 2006


Good news for me! I know everyone out there is really riveted to all the ups and downs of my life, so I wanted to tell you all about the newest development in my quest to escape mediocrity and self-loathing.

Today I met with the principal of a charter school in Harlem. It's K-8. She told me, "when I started 2 and a half years ago, we were a failing school. Now we've come up to mediocre. But that's not good enough, I want to take us to excellence." Yay! Excellence! I have not heard that word uttered once this entire year in regard to education! I have heard "diversity" and "collaboration," but never "excellence"! She says, we're always trying to improve here. That's what I tell my teachers. And I tell them that if they can't give me improvement or excellence, they're going to have to teach somewhere else. She even had the book Good to Great (an organizational management book popular in the charter school movement) on her bookshelf! AND she excitedly took my suggestion to read the Thernstroms' No Excuses! She worked at the DOE here in NY for many years, but somehow still came out like this! The best news: I get to student-teach there instead of at that crappy high school I described a couple weeks ago!

My program is giving me a lot of shit for switching so last minute. They told me that if I thought backing out would "jeopardize the school's relationship with the cooperating teacher" that I should "choose to do the right thing." My program director actually seemed really pissy about it. Not that he was willing to give me help months ago when I asked for it!!!! Seriously, these people don't care about teacher education at all! The way they pick the mentor teacher is seemingly random. The mentor teachers seem to be evaluated on whether they are "nice" or not. I can't tell you how many times I've mentioned the other cooperating teacher's name and someone from my department says, "oh, he's a really nice guy." That's good, I mean, I like nice people, but doesn't it matter more that he's an effective teacher? If he's not, then he shouldn't even be teaching, much less teaching other teachers! But the cooperating teachers are never judged on that kind of criteria.

Well off to economics class. Maybe there won't be so many rants this semester--maybe there will even be satisfaction and happiness! Can I even hope?


At January 24, 2006 6:19 PM, Anonymous Mike G. said...


At January 25, 2006 3:17 AM, Blogger Miss Dennis said...

"She worked at the DOE here in NY for many years, but somehow still came out like this!"

Ha! A rare find indeed. And she's actually sane and competent? Not full of bs? She left the DOE, right? It seems that all the sane, competent administrators do.

At January 25, 2006 11:31 AM, Blogger Carrie K said...

Congrats on the new placement! And phhht to your unhelpful program director. "Choose to do the right thing"? I thought that was learning to teach effectively. Silly me.

At January 29, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Ms. H said...

Congratulations! Looking forward to hearing about your experiences there.


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