MY HOLIDAY WISH LIST…YEAH ITS A BIT LATE, BUT SO WHAT.

As I arrived to class before break, one of my sweet, little students told me that they had a surprise for me. She pulls out of a shopping bag, a “Punisher” beanie! Tears nearly came to my eyes! That little girl warmed my heart. Every year, some of my students bring me an assortment of Peanut Butter cups, Starbucks gift cards, and cookies. One year a student brought me a set of “Harmon-Kardon,” speakers for my computer. I was amazed. Those are not cheap. I told the student that I could not accept the gift, but she replied, “My mother bought a set for all my teachers.” Well then, let me give your mom my list  Better yet, here is a holiday wish list I think every educator could live with.

early color photograph from the Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii Collection (Library of Congress)

 TAKE US OFF THE FREAKING HARVEST SCHEDULE:

There are not too many family owned farms around anymore that require the entire cast of “Little House on the Prairie,” to reap the harvest. Especially those students who live in suburban settings. Let’s do year round school. On for 6-8 weeks, off for three…works for me!

 STOP USING WORDS LIKE RIGOR, DIFFERENTIATION, AND OTHER PRETENTIOUS PHRASES.

I get annoyed when actors, and musicians talk about themselves as,”artists.” It just sets me off! Even worse, are the pretentious jack wagons that use words like rigor, differentiation, and student learning objectives. Take the pretentious buzz words out of education. You don’t sound better educated or professional, you sound like a bunch of perverted fifth graders trying to read Shakespeare.

 STOP PRETENDING EVERYTHING WE DO IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE STUDENTS.

Explain to me how stretching out school till three days before Christmas break, is in the best interest of the students. Explain to me how keeping school running till June is in the best interest of the children. Not many decisions made are anywhere near the best interest of the students. They tend to be more  about individuals egos than any grander schemes. Please stop justifying your incompetence and back door dealings, with what’s in the best interest of students.

 I WANT ALL OF MY WASTED TIME PAID BACK IN ROYALTIES

Anytime I sit in a meeting that has absolutely has no direct relation or merit to my classroom, I should get a royalty check for my time. Whenever I am called out of my classroom to address everything that could simply be asked and answered in an email, royalty check.  Think of just how much more efficient education would become if they paid us, not only what we are worth, but royalties for all the time that has been wasted. Talk about a well oiled machine!

 PEACE AND QUIET. 

Stay out of my classroom! If it is not necessary for you to be there or you do not have an invitation, do not just walk in and start burdening your educators with pointless justifications about what you are doing to raise test scores. We get it, you are a super hero! So, fly away. Prep time is for me to get caught up on my stories!

  A CHANGE IN MINDSET.

If what you’re doing in the classroom or on campus has not improved your scores from last year, why are you doing the same thing again?  Anyone? Bueller? Fry? Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is insane. Just as damaging is constant change. Some slack jawed moron read a book over the summer and now forces the school to abandon everything that previously worked. This is why education is a freaking mess.

 SCHOOL LEADERSHIP THAT LEADS.

Although, I have had the pleasure of working with very competent educational leaders, for each one that, there are ten who seriously need their heads examined. Leaders need to lead. If that is too difficult, then shut up and follow those who can and are willing. If you can’t do that, then get out of education.

 RENOVATIO.

That’s Latin for renewal. If anything needs a renewal it is an education. Our classrooms, other than the screens and over head projectors, definitely need a 21st century makeover. Get rid of the tired cabinets and desks that seem to be held together by bubble gum sticking to the bottom and let’s rejuvenate our classrooms. Here’s an idea, let’s ask the kids that we require to sit in these rooms on a daily basis, what they would like in the room to help them learn? I mean if we claim everything to be in the best interests of the students, so why not consult with them? What if we got rid of the walls that divide us up into “our rooms?” Think of the endless possibilities…

 AN END TO COOKING THE GRADE BOOKS

Suggesting to your staff that changing grades in order to give failing students a fighting chance of passing for the semester is an egregious ethical violation. When a child has done nothing all semester and has a 35%, how does changing their grade to a 65% help that child become a better student? We are positioning those kids for failure in life. I have wrestled with this my entire career. Students should earn the grade they worked for. Cooking the grade books or the “suggestion,” that doing so sets them up for future success is a lie! I under fellow teachers. If a kid fails, more work is dumped on you to prove they didn’t try, when it should be the other way around. Why should a student be held accountable for their own actions? Tommy showed up so why not pass him? Mold shows up and is more productive. How someone is not behind bars for this, is a serious injustice.

As always, thank you for choosing to read Tales From The Red Pen! Until next week, I bid you Adieu!

 

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