As this year is drawing to a close, I'm beginning to think about the things that I want to be different about next year (probably most teachers do this -- at the end of my first year, I recall thinking, "well, I don't want to do any of that again"). And one of my new-school-year's resolutions is to be more active in helping to improve my school. It's all too easy to sit in my classroom and not think about what goes on outside my four walls, but I don't think I'll ever see the results I want to see unless the whole school climate improves.
I'm also beginning to think about ways that I can engage with / challenge my administration at times. (For starters, I won't EVER do that test-prep baloney again -- and I've decided that if I'm asked to do it next year I'll simply refuse. It's not fair to me and it's not fair to kids.) I've decided that I'd like to write a memo to make some suggestions of things my school leaders can do -- little things -- that would really improve the quality of life for teachers and, by extension, students. Here are my thoughts..
First, I want a teacher work room. Do these exist in DCPS? It certainly doesn't in my school. I want a place where I can get some very basic supplies, without having to go through some cantankerous business manager who yells at me. Why can't there be a room with pens and folders and -- gasp! -- paper that I can just go and get when I need it. You know, like EVERY OTHER WORK-PLACE IN THE WORLD. When I have to spend my own time and money securing basic materials, it leaves less time for planning instruction, helping students, or calling parents. Or watching Law and Order.
Second, I want to use email (and not the intercom) to communicate. Seriously, is it 1974? Is there any adult that still hasn't mastered the technology of email? If there is, we work in a building full of people who have expertise in explaining things, so my guess is someone could teach you. The lack of email (and general communication) is really starting to get to me. I generally find out about meetings I'm supposed to attend when someone makes an announcement 3 minutes after they've already started.
Finally, I want keys to the building and the library. It sucks when I get here early but can't make photocopies because the library (where we keep our copier) isn't open. It sucks equally when I try to come in on weekends only to discover that the whole building is locked. When I worked as an accountant, I was given keys to the building on my second day. If we're trusted professionals, we should be allowed to have keys.
Those are my ideas for little things my school could do that would make my life much easier. Obviously, addressing these issues won't fix my school. But they would sure make me less cranky. Any other ideas?
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