The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 21 2012

Overdone Undermine

Day 72: I had to ask my homeroom to step outside and try coming in again today, because they all started talking once they walked in. I made clear that if they spoke the second time, they would spend recess with me. Only one did; LB was trying to whisper something to SB. Both are on student council, but can be bitten by the smarter-than-everyone bug. Especially LB.

At recess, LB admitted she was timing class, trying to figure out how much time we were wasting on non-instructional time. This isn’t new; LB hates structures and procedures, of which I have a lot. We had a very blunt conversation about how I perceived what she called “data collection.”

More importantly, however, she let me know the idea wasn’t hers. She’d been referring to a mystery staff member for months who agreed with her and others in my homeroom that our procedures were silly. Today, it finally came out that it was the English teacher. He’d had the idea to compare the two classes to see where more time was wasted. When I bluntly asked if he knew LB was timing my class, she said yes.

Now, I know this teacher hates our grade-wide procedures. That’s frustrating enough, because in not upholding them, everyone else is the bad guy who makes kids put their thumbs up and get in line order. It’s a different story when you actively belittle procedures; for example, I know this teacher has made fun of the hand signals I use. But it’s something else entirely when you knowingly condone a student disrespecting a teacher by presuming to time his class to compare teaching styles.

Maybe this is me getting into mudslinging. But I have never, ever told a student I disagreed with this teacher’s style. I say different teachers teach differently, and I mean it. I plan to find this teacher tomorrow and have a conversation, because, to be frank, I need answers. I hope I find out there’s some serious miscommunication. I need to know a colleague wouldn’t undermine me like this.

In the meantime, of course: One more day.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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