Thursday, July 19, 2007

Let's have a discussion.

What is the biggest difficulty you face in doing your job as a teacher? What are the issues you'd like PSS administration, or your own school's administration, or even parents, to address.

Here is mine: The classes are too crowded. This is the number one issue. This might be easier to deal with in a class other than language arts, but LA doesn't lend itself well to 34 students. We also are losing our prep period, which exacerbates this problem. Last year was the one and only year of four we even had a prep period. The other problem I have is staggering apathy. I have seniors and I find their lack of intellectual curiosity disturbing. Motivation is a trying aspect, and it wears me out immensely, but to not do it is to get nothing done.

I also have many positives. My building is relatively new, so I don't have those problems. Our photocopiers work well. I'm not micromanaged by my principals. I have extremely few discipline problems. I'm actually satisfied with the salary scale. I won't get a dime more for six more years, but I'm at a competitive level with the mainland right now.

Feel free to discuss and comment in the comment section, or submit your own post.


rogerc_96950 said...

Praxis, Professional Development and Pet Peeves

As a new school year begins, I will make a few comments and mention some of my PSS Pet Peeves.

1. The Praxis issues are still not settled. Only now are school administrators and program managers having pay cuts due to failure to complete their Praxis requirements - a number of classroom teachers have already had drastic pay cuts for a full year already. What happened to the concepts of "set an example" and "lead from the front"? Also, I observe that many teachers who have trouble with the American-made, English-language Praxis tests have been the CNMI teachers who were raised and educated ouside the USA system and who were raised speaking languages other than English. These individuals, many of whom are dedicated and competent classroom teachers, have been discouraged and punished by the way the Praxis requirement was implemented, but their pay cut was very drastic and started a year ago. These teachers should have been encouraged, not discouraged, by a PSS system that now claims to be encouraging the retention of indigenous langauages and strengthening of local cultures.

The Praxis requirement may well be helpful in setting a minimum standard of knowledge for teachers, but the way it has been implemented leaves a bad taste. It seems to have only saved some money for PSS while causing division and ill feelings within the teaching community.

2. Professional Development requirements and programs need to be improved. I have just completed Red Cross CPR/First Aid certification renewal at my own expense and on my own time. As a PSS science teacher, I feel that this training should be provided without cost to me. Next week, I will attend AP Biology training to improve my knowledge and skills (and for the free lunch at PIC) but I will not be paid for my time. I am quite willing to donate some time to improving professional skills with appropriate training, but I should not have to put out both time and cash to benefit the same PSS that forces me to purchase classroom materials out of my own pocket.

The Red Cross and Advanced Placement (AP) training programs are both useful and relevant. Too many other Professional Development workshops have been neither useful nor relevant. If teachers are expected to put in hours of training for certification renewal, the training should be appropriate, affordable and readily available.

I suggest that my Red Cross expenses should be reimbursed by PSS. The time I spend on AP training within my subject area should be part of my salary. Teachers should not be expected to put both their own money and their own time into professional development when any good teacher already contributes so much without compensation.

3. School is scheduled to start in less than two weeks, and repairs have not been made in classrooms. I have also not been told what classes I am scheduled to teach. This lack of preparation and planning will probably make it difficult to begin the year.


dreamweaver said...

I know it's a bit too early in my teaching career to be frustrated, but I am! My pet peeves?
1. Funding
My husband has drawn the line that he does not want to buy me paint ever again to paint my classroom. He has also closed our personal account at National Office so that I can stop buying supplies for my classroom. He is also a teacher, but I see his point. PSS needs to step up and provide basic needs we have.
2. PD's
I agree with Roger that if PSS expects us to have so many hours within a year, then they should provide workshops that further what we do in class and not just throw together a bunch of workshops that we have taken or even went through in college. Oh, and Roger that 5-day lunch at PIC was great - I too, decided to take time off my summer to take the AP US Gov. just in case I ever want to move up to the high school level.
As an elementary teacher - I'm lucky to even have a prep. Last year, we lost our prep at our school because we needed to be present in class while students were with their non-certified bilingual teachers. We eat with our students, we monitor them at recess and other breaks. When I had brought up the fact that I can barely find time to make copies - I was told to come earlier to work - how early can one get? I don't think I need to be camping outside the office at 6:00am just to beat 20 other teachers!