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MrsPhysics MrsPhysics is offline
 
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Annoying directive from admin
Old 01-29-2019, 01:46 PM
 
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About halfway through the day today, our district decided to cancel for the next two days due to the “polar vortex”. Yay! (Except we have to make the days up, and telling them so early got the student riled up for the rest of the day.)

At around 1:30 (mind you, dismissal is 2:20) we received emails from the principals of each building that said to make sure we assign two days of meaningful work and communicate those assignments with the students. Now, I would understand if this were a normal thing, and if we were 1-to-1 with tech devices, and if by doing that it would mean we wouldn’t have to make the days up, but NONE OF THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE!

I got the email while I was with my next to last class of the day, in a completely different building from my first classes, after my lunch and my planning period that was taken away today anyway. How on earth would I do this? Worse, the one principal (who is normally my favorite) commented that he knew that there wasn’t a lot of time left, but being the “professionals that we are” he was sure we could pull it off.

I would so love to assign all of my students something on my class website, give them all zeros when they had no idea the assignment existed, and tell their parents to complain to admin. (But of course I won’t.)


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snow days and work
Old 01-29-2019, 02:38 PM
 
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I don't live in an area with snow days, but I don't see why work would be assigned if you were going to make up the days. It's either one or the other.
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Eeza has a good point...
Old 01-29-2019, 02:56 PM
 
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Sounds like this could be coming from someone in Central Office who is out of touch with the reality of running a school and passing it on to the principals to pass on to the staff.

I like the idea of assigning something on your class website, but not penalizing anyone who doesn't see or do it. By assigning it, you are doing what you were asked, and it obviously is impossible for you to meet with classes who already had their class periods and give them additional work in any other way.If no one sees the assignment, it isn't your fault.

If your school is unionized, I would pursue this through them because at the very least, if the district wants this, it can't be a last minute thing, especially with no devices. And if the days are to be made up, what's the point?
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Illinois
Old 01-29-2019, 03:05 PM
 
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We were told to do this, as well. The explanation given was that Act of God Day’s don’t exist anymore. You have to make up ALL snow days if they are not counted as “instructional” days...and an acceptable way to do this is to create e-learning opportunities.

So for the last week, I’ve been getting on Google Classroom and posting a VERY short review assignment each day. If my kids have the internet, they’re expected to do it. If not, when we return, I’ll be expected to provide a paper copy + adequate time to complete the assignments. The adequate time will be equal to the number of snow days...so I’ll still be waiting on or collecting it two weeks from now.

I teach middle school, so I’m calculating 7 classes that are required to provide these assignments each day. I’m making mine as short and simple (but useful) as possible, bc I think the kids are more likely to complete them.

Do I like it? Not really. Did I feel unprepared/blindsided when I was told 3/4 of the way through my day last week? Yes. But...am I will to do it to avoid being in school until July? Absolutely.
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Old 01-29-2019, 03:08 PM
 
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If you're having to make the days up then that is just stupid. (I sound like my students.)

DH's district has non-traditional days, and they assign work online. The kids have 7 day to turn in the work after the missed day. DH has to be available via email to all students during school hours. The days aren't made up.

My district doesn't qualify for those days, so when we miss they are made up. And we do not give the kids work to complete. I always tell mine they can work on their Reading Plus assignments or other things I've put on the Google Classroom, but it's not required.


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Ridiculous
Old 01-29-2019, 03:33 PM
 
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I wouldn't do it. It's not what is best for kids. You were not given adequate notice and feel frustrated with this out of the blue demand. That is exactly how students will feel. They will feel just as overwhelmed by the unexpected extra work as you do.

If you have a union I would make sure the union leaders are aware of this and address it with administration. It is extremely unprofessional of the principals in your district to send that demand an hour before the day ends. Even sending that at the start of the day would be unprofessional. It should be discussed with staff and a plan put in place that all are aware of.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:05 PM
 
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My assignment would be have someone read a book with you. Boom--done. For older kids, they need to read a book themselves.


There's no way you can pull together HW with such short notice.
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Old 01-29-2019, 09:27 PM
 
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A family member who lives in Illinois told me that her school has digital learning days for the next two days. Thought that might be good idea, especially if it's a program that automatically scores assignments for you.
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:38 AM
 
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So with those of you talking about a class website, which we don't have, or digital learning (we have kids with no internet access or computers at home) how would that work?
Many years ago with the whole swine flu scare, we were told to put together packets with three days worth of learning in case we needed to close down the school system. I finally took those packets out of my cabinet and tossed them last year.
Telling teachers to put something meaningful together an hour before kids leave is ridiculous! And if you have to make the days up anyway, then what is the point??
Our packets were supposed to take the place of a school day so that we wouldn't have to make it up, but I'm not sure the state would have agreed with that and let us count it.
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MrsPhysics MrsPhysics is offline
 
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Thanks for all of the replies!
Old 01-30-2019, 07:03 AM
 
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I have worked at schools before where this whole idea of having digital learning days would be reasonable. My kids go to a school like that, because they all have laptops. Someone once told me that West Virginia does that statewide, so that the snow days don’t have to be made up. But again, we have to make these days up anyway, and this is something that our district has never even mentioned before.

Some things I maybe should have mentioned...less than half of my students (via my own surveys beginning of year) have a computer at home, and only around 80% have WiFi. I teach a computer course at the MS, so everything we do is on the computer. There are of course things I could have put together that would be off the computers, but I don’t just have those things sitting around to give to kids at a moments notice.

I was joking about assigning my math students stuff from the class website, because it would be wonderful if somehow this came back around to bite admin in the butt. As a non tenured teacher, I stress out when directives come from above that seem impossible. I worry that something is going to be the “gotcha” in a school where everything seems to sadly be admin vs teachers instead of everyone working together.

I put a message on my class website for the one class I have that uses it to practice for the upcoming quiz and linked to a Khan Academy practice exercise. I figured that would cover me if I was ever asked what I did. I would bet that less than 5 out of 31 of my Honors HS Math class will check the site. I’ll poll them Friday and see...

Upon reflection I have a suspicion that this directive was aimed at elementary level, and was probably trying to correct for a big portion of our families who unfortunately do not seem to give their children learning opportunities at home. I can imagine an elementary teacher telling each child to pick up a book on the way out and try to get it read over the two days, or a teacher sending some multiplication practice home. But admin should have thought about whether this blanket statement should have been worded differently so as not to put an impossible task on the already overburdened backs of teachers.


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