Friday, August 13, 2004

how it is

In response to a comment about parent apathy, a fellow English teacher said it may only look like parents are apathetic because those parents aren't acting like we expect them to act. That spoke to me. I'm always quick to believe that parents don't care. I need to rethink this.
It has already happened. A guy asked me where I'd taught before. I told him I didn't want to say because I knew what his reaction would be, but he pushed me and I figured I'd have to contend with something like this sooner or later, so I said, Mandeville High School, and he rolled his eyes. I got a little steely and he said, "I don't mean to be negative, but..." Then another teacher said, "Miss Plesh, soon you'll see how it is." And I now wish I'd said, "I do see how it is," and then changed tables. They just don't know. I guess in any new setting we have to prove ourselves. I'm willing. And anyway, I'm very clear about why I'm at Douglass, and it's not about making friends. Though I'm not averse to making friends.
Orleans is trying to incorporate something called Family Advocacy Groups. Each teacher will have about 15 students for whom she's responsible, children who will come to us as a group only once a week. Still, it could be good. The problem is, not all teachers want to deal with children in this way. Not every teacher wants to be involved personally like that, and I think they're absolutely in their rights in that regard. How many people at Mandeville High, for example, would be interested in facilitating the peer classes? It's not everybody's bag. But with this new program in Orleans, every teacher will be forced to take the bag on, whether she or he wants to or not. This could be a disaster.
Change is hard here, I see. Duh. It's always hard. It's supposed to be. When people have been immersed in a system or a culture or an organization for a long time it's hard to see objectively. Anything can become normal.
This training is mediocre. The workshop facilitators are employees rather than people in love with children. They're doing this for money, not love. The teachers in the audience need first to be appealed to. Too many assumptions have been made. I'll have to talk with Tony about that, haha.

Disposed of: a cap from the museum of modern art in NYC and a shirt I got from goodwill

Melanie Plesh


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