Detroitteach's Blog


October 14, 2010
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God bless the miners who made it to safety

God bless good news

God bless the children in Detroit Public Schools

God bless my early religious background that gives me these two words when I see examples of grace and beauty under extreme pressure and I am without words of my own.  

Students have been in school 27 days this  year. On Five of those days, the entire school schedule has been altered for standardized testing.

Let me get that calculator. Ok. If I am correct, so far 19% of the student’s school days have been spent measuring their progress. At the end of next week that number will increase to 27% of their school days being altered by state or district-mandated standardized testing. Hopefully, the odds will increase in favor of instructional days not lost to testing after that.

I am looking at my calendar. Joy of joys! Fifteen days of freedom until the next test. Somewhere in there we are to provide the students with a report card: 31 days in the classroom, learning, -vs- 7 full day long tests.  22% of their instructional days will have been interupted by a district or state mandated exam by the time of their first quarter report card.

In that time frame we have a chart of material to cover. Its breadth and depth would make you feel like you were drowning.

What does complicity look like for me? The last school I was at I spoke out against this testing, testing, testing. The administrator did not look at this as a sign that the teachers were behind them if we were going to speak up for the students who are being tested and tested and tested until there is no joy in learning anymore.

I was sent to another school with a stiff warning. Open your mouth, and you’re gone.


The Job Interview

August 29, 2010
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I had to interview for my job this year. Yes, my own job teaching for Detroit Public Schools. Little did I know, that regardless of my answers, 50% of the staff at our school had to go since we’d recently been tagged as a ‘priority school.’ There were four questions: What’s challenging for you? How do you meet state standards to improve student achievement? What type of people do you NOT like to work for, and Where do you see yourself in five years? These were not tough questions. And since nobody from the administration visited my classroom last year to tell me that I was doing a good job or a bad job, I was relaxed. It was a formality. I worked hard last year. I gave alot of homework. I love my students. I got books donated to the school. I patrolled the park and the hallways for truants every day. I had good attendance. I was a team player. And, I had the right qualifications.

But, I didn’t get selected. I ran into a coworker who said she had gotten her call a week previous. I heard a rumor that the best teacher in the school didn’t get called back. (Mr. H, a tough but fair teacher whose students just DIDN’T skip his class) I heard a rumor that women under thirty-five were getting preference. I heard nothing officially. And the principal of our school, who presided over the interview didn’t return my emails or calls. He didn’t say one thing to me the whole school year about my performance, and yet, I was ‘sent to the teacher pool’ without warning, and apparently without being advised. I know that was a long run on sentence. I know that many of my fellow co-teachers at that high school are now wondering where they are going to work this coming school year. And worst of all, I am being whisked away from my job like I am going into the Witness Protection Program. Nobody knows where I am going, not even me. I wonder what the students will think of all of this?


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