If I was on Jeopardy, the answer would be, “Why don’t you go to a school board meeting?”
I had a mental struggle with myself today about several issues, struggling with why I don’t do some things that others do to make a difference. I just think that some people are better suited for certain settings, and I am not suited for slow-moving, full of talk and little action committees. Here are some examples of a few outbursts that I’ve had (in my well-meaning but not very tactful way).
- Media and Technology Meeting 2010: I whole heartily volunteered to serve on this committee of tech enthusiasts. As the meeting progressed (led by awesome tech savvy revolutionaries in our school) it turned into the airing of technology frustrations. Now, looking back, I know that it was probably necessary to get those issues out before some would be able to move forward, but at the time I was having a panic attack. I can’t understand educators who in one breath say that they want to make a difference, but in the next explain all of the reasons why they just simply can’t do it. I think I may have said, “I didn’t get here at 7:15 for a b!+@& session”… Whoops! I did apologize later for the outburst. But I think my sentiment was honest and once it was said, the meeting changed directions. I can’t imagine what I would say at school board meeting while listening to self-promoting education wash-outs discuss how things should be done in my classroom and the classrooms of the amazing educators in our county!
- STAR3 Faculty Meeting 2010: Actually there were a few here… First one happened when the presenter, Dr. Foster, was late and his excuse was that “he had to drive from Brown Summit” (which is about 5 miles from where I live) and that “there was traffic” (the same traffic there is every morning?). At that point I said (in my outside voice), “Hmmm, that’s why I leave a little early! That’s what professionals do!” Luckily, I think only a few people around me heard that one. Then I listened, heart racing, as Dr. Foster told us about “reform” and “the minuscule amount of money” that the incentives would be providing. No response. Trying to be open-minded. Then he laid out the reforms that we would be experiencing, which included Learning Focus and Single School Culture. I picked up my purse and bag and walked out. How stupid do they really think we are?!? So we’re reforming education by continuing to do the same BS that we’re already forced to do (which I don’t do because it doesn’t work for me)? Hmph! Also, please don’t look out into a room of educators and explain how $10,000 bonuses for some people (math, science, ESL, and EC) is minuscule! If it’s soooo minuscule, then give it to all of us or don’t give it to anyone!
- School Improvement Team, yesterday: Not an outburst, maybe I’m getting better… But I questioned the effectiveness of rewarding students for attendance and I swear I almost did a “is this mic on?” check because it fell completely flat! My point was that if you want to increase attendance, why don’t you look at why a student would choose to be signed out every day to miss a certain class AND why a parent would comply with this request. Also, I should have asked how we were planning to pay for these incentive programs! Please don’t tell me we don’t have money for my students to go on a field trip and gain invaluable experiences from the “real world” while you’re paying the pizza man for the pizza he’s delivering to our 4th ranked obese middle schoolers!
So, why don’t I go to a school board meeting? Because one of two things will most likely happen. Either I’ll die of a heart attack while trying to suppress the wealth of emotions that I will experience while listening to the meaningless banter of excuses and worthless initiatives OR I will explode into a tirade of magnificent proportions and end up on the nightly news and YouTube.
I wish I could say things more like this amazing parent
Or this Chicago Teacher Union President