Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Building Walls

The Wall, Andy Goldsworthy, originally uploaded by wdelauder2002.

Being a teacher really gets me worked up. The teaching part I love. I was in a great mood all day today. We started new long-term projects in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. The students were excited to get started and I was looking forward to the ideas they would present. However...

Tuesday is faculty meeting day. The agenda stated that we would be over viewing the new "Gifted Education Program". I had questions before the meeting even started, but I waited until they did their dry Power Point Presentation (When will this get old?) while I yawned.

My beef...
1. The whole presentation was a justification for why we can't label students. Am I going crazy here. Through the whole presentation, they did nothing but label students. This is what we do. We put students into categories based on learning levels, economic status, color, gender, MSA scores etc. Students are a number.
2. I asked the question... What will happen to students that may be a discipline problem, but are extremely gifted in certain areas? The answer was political. I received answers that bounced around the actual point and seemed to mean... they don't have a chance.
3. I asked another question... What will happen to the students that are labeled average, but are extremely gifted in one or two areas? The same political answer followed by... "We don't know yet".
4. The first criteria used to "nominate a student" is their MSA (Maryland State Assessment) scores. The top 10% in the County will be considered for nomination. What about the students who don't care about their scores on this dry test, but are extremely gifted?
5. There will be a maximum amount of students selected from each school for this program. What happens if the school has more students that are gifted than the number allotment?
6. There was no mention of how technology/ Web 2.0 literacy's will play a role in these students altered curriculum. They mentioned "Junior Great Books". Man, I read these when I was in the "gifted program" in elementary school 20 years ago. They have nothing better than this today?

After all was said, the presenter stated that this plan is not final, and it may change. Thanks. You mean to tell me that I wasted valuable time to learn about a plan that may not even be initiated? I could have spent this hour doing my actual job... Preparing to teach my students. With all of this spatter, I still do love my job... the teaching part anyway :)


Doug Noon said...

I've always thought that Gifted Education should be open to anyone who'd benefit from it's methods, the same as we do for Remedial Education.

Jenny said...

You've described a couple of the things that I find most shocking about education. One is the amount of time we waste. I could easily spend six or seven hours a day planning lessons and grading, but those in charge feel that meetings like you describe are worth my time. The second is our need to label children. I understand the legal issues and the funding issues, but it still seems like there should be a better way to do this.

A. Woody DeLauder said...

@Doug and @Jenny, I agree with both of you. I guess you could tell that I was fresh from the meeting when I wrote the post.