You thought I’d forgotten about continuing this one, huh? I tried to, but then there was another one of those district scoring sessions on Tuesday. Oh my. It’s taken me a few days to recover from this one, because of its epic-ness. Let’s just start from from the top with the latest one.
The original title for this post was going to be “I Hate Highlighters.” You’ll see why in a moment.
7:55 am: Five minutes early for the meet and greet over snacks. I’m the second one there besides our TOSA facilitators. I stockpile snacks (mini cinnamon rolls, tasty little triangular biscuity-with-fruit things, and actual decent coffee) for the long road ahead. I pick a seat based on proximity to the snacks.
8:00ish: I sign in. I look at the list, and there are supposed to be 40 English teachers here; every secondary ELA teacher (SPED included) has been commanded to show. The principals asked to make this mandatory. We be scraping the bottom of the barrel for subs today. As always I ask, “What if I don’t show?” Nobody has an answer. I show anyway, because the TOSA from our site that’s co-running the session is trying to be an administrator (I know…why?), and I think it’s so cute how she actually wants to help teachers teach better and all that, and thinks that she’ll get to do that as an admin. So I figure that if she really wants my advice and help with this, I gotta do my part in helping to create an actual good administrator. Plus, I heard there was going to be pizza.
8:15ish: This is when we are actually supposed to be talking about the goals for the day, but about half the people are just now showing up. I re-up my coffee and snack supplies; lunch isn’t until 11:30.
8:25: They finally get people seated in front of their binders. Gawd, not another binder. Raise your hand if you have about 100 useless binders of tabs and handouts and WHAT-Ever from a million of these in-service type things. My BTSA binders alone were responsible for clearing a forest and using up a barrel of oil for plastic covers and tabs.
8:30ish: We get to talking about goals for the day. I tune out, because it’s always the same. Well, not just because of that; I would tune out anyway, but they are always the same. They use educationalese, but basically it goes like this: they want to train the noobs how to use a rubric, they want the old coots to help them tweak the prompts (because they’re always lame in some way), they want to make sure that some rogue noob doesn’t start grading too hard or easy, and they want to make sure that they, the facilitators/trainers, don’t have any papers left over to read at the end of the day. They’re sort of dreaming there, what with all the nit-picking and arguing the HS teachers do about every little thang. They also have this fantasy that this is all about “informing our instruction” instead of “getting numbers for the board.”
8:40something: Already 15 minutes or so behind on the agenda. I go to the facilities (that’s what I call facilitating), and by the time I get back, it’s that most dreaded time. It’s when they say something like this,
“Let’s take 10 minutes and read through the rubrics, and I want everyone to highlight what they think are the key parts, words or phrases, of each part of the rubric.”
One: I hate highlighters/highlighting.
Two: This part is sooooo lame. Just read the rubric, read the first sample essay and let’s have at the calibrating part. WHY do they always want to waste time on this part. The learning part comes from the discussion of (read: arguing about) the papers, not from highlighting words like “adequate” and “logical” and “formal tone.” AAAARGH.
Three: See #1.
I know this part will be offensive to some (many?) of you, because if my district is any indication, English teachers LUV their highlighters.
I hated buying used textbooks where some moron had highlighted practically every sentence. Or even worse, seemingly random ones: “Have you ever wondered whether there are politics in an ant colony?” Why would you highlight the intro sentence? “I might forget about this one…I’d better highlight it.”
I hate the smell. Yeah yeah, they’re not supposed to smell any more. But they do.
I hate how people use them in place of actual reading and/or note-taking. They think that they can just go back and read the highlighted parts, and that’s studying. As Mrs. Krabapple would say, “Ha!” When you go back to reread or study, your eye is so drawn to those things you thought were important the first time you read this unfamiliar text, that it becomes waaay more work to read the rest of the book that you, in your infinitely perfect snap judgement of a first reading, have deemed useless simply by NOT coloring them in.
Speaking of which, I hate the multiple-color highlighter thing. What? “Pink for important stuff, yellow for really important stuff, and blue for realllllllly important stuff.” Is that it? What?
Sorry, I got off track there for a bit. At least this time I got all the way to 8:45.