Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Slice of Life: Meetings 8/5

Every Tuesday, a number of amazing bloggers write a Slice of Life. If you are interested in joining in, visit the Two Writing Teachers blog for more information.

Allow me a few seconds of your time to rant about my last two days.  I went to a district meeting with my school team in order to write our school improvement plan.  However, the district in its infinite wisdom decided to fill our days with presentations that gave overviews of initiatives that we have been implementing for at least two years.  I get that there is a possibility that a lot of schools had not been doing these things, but why do the rest of us have to sit through presentations that do not increase our understanding about anything and suck up the time that we should be spending on analyzing data and writing our plan?  It is so frustrating to be there for one thing and to end up actually receiving something far inferior and completely different from what you signed up for.  I think our team will come up with a good plan, but we would have been much better served having the time to work on it rather than having to sit through presentations that did not move us forward in our understanding.  I know many people bring this up all the time, but why are we expected to differentiate our instruction if the powers that be do not see the need or make the effort to differentiate theirs?  AAaaaaannnd, Breathe.  Okay, rant over.  

Now that I have calmed down a bit, I have started thinking about the way this day affected me.  How awful that the people planning this day did not respect our time as educators.  How awful that these people did not consider our prior knowledge in their lessons for us.  How awful that they did not recognize that there were many different levels of understanding in the room and that some of us were hearing this for the third time.  As a learner, I felt powerless and without a voice. I was not engaged and lost a lot of the motivation that I came with.  I came to work and expected to be given the opportunity to show what I could do.  Unfortunately, the people organizing this event did not give us that opportunity.  

This experience served as another reminder to be careful about the power structure in my classroom.  When students feel powerless and do not have a voice, they will become disengaged with the lesson.  I need to make sure I plan for the many levels of understanding that I have in the classroom, and I need to make sure that students are given enough time to work when there is a task that needs to be accomplished.  I also know that I need to make sure I have things organized. Wasting everyone's time by not being ready to present is so disrespectful.  

I will always strive to respect the learners in my classroom by making sure I know about their understandings and working to not waste their time.  I hope the next time I go to a district training I am able to feel more engaged and productive.  


  1. Love how you turned this crummy personal experience into a reflection about how best to work with students - you made lemonade from lemons! Terrific goal/aspiration - to respect the learners in your classroom. Too bad you had this goal reinforced in such a disheartening way!

  2. Oh Andrea, this post brought back memories of a terrible Thursday when our entire staff was frustrated by a district training. We still laugh (several years later) when we remember that day. I love the way you focused your thinking about the day to how our students can feel.
    We had some fun professional learning experiences this past year that included assessing our understanding about the topic and then determining the best group to work with on that day. I hope you had a chance to offer feedback to your district.