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heatherk heatherk is offline
 
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Nickel and Dimed
Old 09-05-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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We have a new P and AP this year. They seem great in a lot of ways and I know they are going to improve our school's instructional program, which has been mediocre. But they are implementing a lot of changes. I teach 2 half day K students (total of 45 kids). I am required to do a ton of individual testing and conference twice a year with parents. I feel like my time is being taken away from me bit by bit. Each change in itself isn't so bad, but when it all adds up, it sucks.
1. Teachers arrive 5 minutes earlier and leave 5 minutes later everyday.
2. Kids arrive 10 minutes earlier and leave 10 minutes later, so there goes my before and after school conference times.
3. Kids used to dismiss at 2:05. My assistant took them to the bus and I was done. Now my kids dismiss at 2:14 and I have bus duty until 2:25. Lost 20 more minutes.
4. Recess is only three days a week.
5. Weekly computer lab went from 40 minutes to 30.
6. I don't have my assistant for recess in the morning, so I can't use that time to test.
7. We have staff meetings 3 out of 4 Mondays each month after school (and after contracted hours), so no parent conferences then.
8. We have meetings after school the first Tuesday of every month after school (and after contracted hours), so no parent conferences then either.
9. We have to do weekly planning meetings for at least 30 minutes on our own time after school (and after contracted hours), so no parent conferences then either.
10. Oh and I am not to let my teaching assistant teach the class at all or even read them a book. So when am I supposed to individually assess all these darlings?
I am feeling nickel and dimed. Each 5 minutes of time they take away is really making me mad. Thanks for the vent.


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What is admin's explanation?
Old 09-05-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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Has your admin explained how they expect you to do this?

Do you have a union?

We've been given directives from the district office that have no feasible way of working given how our schedule works. So, we make a copy of our schedule (which has to be approved by admin at the beginning of the year), bring our lesson plan books, and ask the coach (or whomever) how they propose to make it happen. We shall we cut out? What type of support will be put in place to make it work?

I'm at a point in my career where I no longer am willing to just "figure it out" when it is clearly an impossibility. Even if I have to send an e-mail to the principal to document it, I will. Something like this, "I understand I am expected to test my EL students one-on-one by the end of October. Since I have 23 EL students, and the test takes on average 10 - 30 minutes per student, I will need to assign independent work, computer time (we have an educational program), and will show a series of short films from the social studies series for one hour per day beginning next Monday in order to make it happen. If someone is willing to take my class while I test, that would be even better, I have the lessons prepared."

Are you alone in your grade level? Can you somehow combine classes so one of you can spend a day testing and knock them out?
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heatherk heatherk is offline
 
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I wish
Old 09-05-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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My admin will not explain anything. "It is all for the kids," they say.
I am going to give it a couple of weeks and then talk to them. I don't think they realize how much the time adds up. They also expect teachers to come in early and work late everyday. We are all to afraid to complain to the new admin. No one wants to be labeled as a troublemaker or targeted for the year. My new P already said that she fully expects to see major staff changes at the end of the year.
I am in a non-union state. There is no one to complain to or to help.
She doesn't want to see worksheets, busy work or movies. Her solution--use parent volunteers. Umm, huh? Parent volunteers can't help test and can't be expected to classroom manage 23 kindergarteners while I test.
There are 4 of us on the grade level. We could combine classes, but I am sure that putting 40-50 kindergarteners in one room would "compromise instructional time," which is our new no-no.
I like your email idea. I think I may end up doing something similar.
Thanks for the support.
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Union
Old 09-05-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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Do you have a union? Changes like this would have to go through contract negotiations I would think... perhaps your union needs to be notified?
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time
Old 09-05-2011, 10:48 AM
 
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i don't understand how a principal can make all these changes in working conditions. Does your main office or superintendent allow this? None of this would happen in our district. I guess the non-union states really have it rough. You have my sympathy.


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I generally despise my union
Old 09-05-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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but, what you are experiencing would never happen here (in CA). Most schools here are union. Everything administration does has to be okayed by the union. Although, much of our planning time is taken now due to staff/grade level/commmitee meetings, or after school tutoring. So, I guess my school is sort of like yours. They tell you they want this and that done, yet they expect everything to be done on your own time.
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This is the item that stuck out to me
Old 09-05-2011, 02:15 PM
 
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"Recess is only three days a week."


This is so wrong. Elementary students really need to move around.

I would be very concerned about the testing, too.
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document
Old 09-05-2011, 05:04 PM
 
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Document everything you did here, but each day, in case you need to show evidence of what you did or didn't do and why.

Even though you are a non-union state I do believe you can still seek some assistance from NEA. I would call/write/e-mail them and ask their advice.

Is your district a large or small district? Do you have school board meetings that you can attend?

I can see not wanting to rock the boat, but sometimes if you can get a group of teachers together to go in as a group it is much easier.

Every second counts and you certainly have lost a lot of time during your day and are giving extra time at no additional pay.

There has to be some kind of recourse you can take. A grievance board or something. Of course, not wanting to be without a job next year makes one always careful about what they do.

I wish I had some suggestions for you, but I'm frozen right now with all that was just added to your day and what is expected from you and the other teachers.
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Dear heatherk:
Old 09-05-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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Yikes! That most certainly is a lot of meetings to attend each month! That would be the part bothering me the most.

Do you not have scheduled district dates for parent-teacher conferences?

I would start thinking how you are going to make your Kinders independent so that you are able to assess them throughout the year. Whether it be through Literacy Stations, Daily 5, or Choice Time, it is possible to get them to the point where they can work without you. It's just the beginning of the year assessments that could prove tricky.
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I know what you mean...
Old 09-05-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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I was teaching K for the last 3 years and know exactly how hard it is to do assessments. They can't write much, so you need to assess their thinking in small groups or one-on-one so you can write for them.
Luckily I had a TA who was great in monitoring the other students doing independent work. I agree with a PP that making your students independent ASAP is key.
For bigger assessments where I needed to be one-on-one outside of the classroom, I had permission from my P to get in a sub teacher for half days. I would prep their lessons and take students out one by one for their assessment (like our PM reading assessments).

Can your assistant do some of the assessments?


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