Back when I started in this district in ’93, the kids went 180 days a year. As our motto says: “Five shows a day, 180 days a year.” Teachers went 183.
There was an extra day at the beginning of the year for meetings in the morning and, after free PTA-provided lunch, room prep and copy machine wars in the afternoon.
There was a day between semesters to get out the calculator to add up the columns of numbers in the paper gradebook and grade all those I-hope-this-saves-my-grade late turn-ins. Those I usually just recycled. It’s the thing to do to help save the environment.
And there was one day after the last day of school where you had to turn in your lesson plan book (really) and gradebook and get the check-off from the custodian for room cleanliness (no tape on the walls or doors) and prove to the crabby librarian that you (and every last kid) has returned every last book, videocassette (laserdisc), and overhead projector. (Remember those? I still have mine stashed in my room for the times I go old-school.) You had to get a sign-off from everybody and his mom and then endure either the principal or the vp looking over your list and issuing the final release.
Now the kids still only go 180 days. I think we are up to 186 or 187. And those extra days are all about “staff development.” Every time the union asks for more money at contract negotiations, for some reason management always wants to make it contingent on more “training.” We have had training in Google apps (gawd, it’s all about Googah and apps these days), we have had training in “academic conversations,” we have had training in our new teacher evaluation system (Teachboost), we have had training in creating “common assessments,” we have had training in “professional learning communities.” That’s just a sample off the top of my head. How about training in “pre, during and post activities”? Check. “Restorative Justice/Discipline”? (How do you FEEL about that?) Check. If it’s a modern educational fad/trend, we’ve been trained in it. I am surprised that we haven’t had a training that emphasized turning the kids into “independent learning units.” (I made that up. If you see it suddenly being used elsewhere… I made that up at one of our first trainings this year, I got copyright.)
At the one about that I think was about “academic conversations,” they had us all in “triads” and “quads.” Triad? Really? When did three people talking and snickering and getting shushed by the goody-goodies become a triad? Did I miss a training? Quad I can live with. In my class though, they are called power trios and 4x4s. (If I gotta go five, it’s called a five-piece, as in band.)
Anyway, one of the “teacher tools” (I am pretty much done with that metaphor) for academic conversations was something called a “Folded Frayer Model.” When I typed that into Google, the first hit was pretty much the handout we received at the training.
When I first looked at it, I didn’t have my reading specs on and I was briefly thrilled that we might make some sort of academic conversation cootie catcher. Picture it. I know you can.
But denial is not just a river in Egypt. It was just something I will never do.
BUT! In “researching” this post, I just discovered that cootie catchers are the one educational trend/fad that we haven’t been trained in. Really! It’s a thing! Try Googling (I invented that word too!) “teaching with cootie catchers.”
Guess I need to make a request to management for next year’s training slate.