This week started out as a good week, but then took a turn for the worse. I attended a math conference for 2 days for grades 10 and 11 mathematics. That was a really fun. Who would ever think that right? My math department is quite fun, and very animated, and they have a good perspective on things.
Right now in Quebec, there is a major reform going on in all the programs in the high schools. Math, the subject in which I teach is much harder, more difficult than it has ever been. Topics are being brought to students a year earlier than previous, and now they are evaluated on competencies. The largest problem teachers are having is in evaluation. How do you evaluate a competency of a student in math without the basics of math knowledge? One (the knowledge) leads into the other (competency). We as a math department are seeing huge gaps in information of students who are currently in the grades 9, 10 and 11 levels.
This year was my second year within the new reform, but my 8th year teaching grades 9 and 10 math. Even though I have a biology background, I have only taught math.
Upon my return from this math conference, my principal announces to me that I am being put in a grade 8 science/math/ethics course for the following year. 3 new preps! I had put in for a 50% workload, but the amount of back ground work and prep does not equal 50%.
I have to say that I am completely beside myself with worry for the following year, and have not slept well since he told me this. I did not put in for a 50% workload to work more. And changing my courses, it will not allow me the benefits that teaching 50% gives. You might be in front of the students less, but the amount of work that you are doing actually equals 100%. One thing that people don't realize about teaching is that, you are working all day on your feet, and most times you have take home work that can be upwards of 3 hours or more every night. And I teach at a public school! And then on top of that teachers are expected to participate in the school in afterschool activities, and sports.
I am not sure what I will decide for next year. What he told me was only a 'preliminary' notice and I have received nothing official on paper. Yet. So you might think that I am hopeful that my workload might be all math, but I have spoken with the principal on 2 occasions, and he reassures me this is how it is going to be. If and when I choose to come back at 100%, I can have my grade 10s back. That would be 3 courses at the grade 8 level and 2 courses of math. With that kind of workload coming back full time does not seem in the cards for me.
And you wonder why the system finds it hard to track students, or that students are not achieving in the classroom? Maybe the system should look at how much work is being placed on its teachers to do their job effectively? At what point in the day do you stop doing your job? 5pm? 6pm? 7pm? 8pm? Most are at school by 7:30am and do not leave till 5pm, grab some supper and basically keep working. How do you manage to do that when you have a family, or other responsibilities outside of your working day?
Is it not too much to ask to give the teachers a workload they actually will enjoy? Back in the day when there was an excess of teachers (this is not the case anymore), if you wanted to be a teacher you taught what you were given. However, nowadays, there are no teachers, there is no more excess. In fact, schools are hurting for qualified teachers. Younger teachers will not put up with the issues affecting the school system today. Most times schools will hire people who do not have degrees, in order to fill vacant positions.
So how did I deal with this blow to my ego? Being the resourceful person that I am, I went to the grade 8 teachers and asked them help me with books, and outlines at least for the summer. I have to now spend my summer preparing for next fall. I would have been preparing for math classes anyways, but the material would have been familiar and I would have known what direction to take when developing new assignments. Now, I know nothing about the program, the direction, how long to spend on what, etc. And a new part of my teaching will include science fair, and sex ed. Yes, now I will be teaching sexual education. (ok, that part might be fun, cause at least the students are interested in learning that).
I am trying to get over my feelings but it will be hard for me next year to trust those that make these decisions. This was a complete blindside, and a principal is under no obligation to give reasons for the change, besides professional courtesy. A principal is allowed to give a teacher whatever workload he feels there is a need. The funny thing is, there is a need for math teachers in my department and he is switching an experienced math teacher for those less experienced. This does not make sense to me. And I have to add, I have not had an evaluation. No one has been in my class to evaluate me, ever. Bottom line is the principal has the right to choose workloads for the teachers, and the teachers, well they can take the workload, or choose another option.
Anyways, I will be doing 'homework' all summer and due to my training for Nationals, this could be looked at as a positive thing. It will keep my mind and my hands busy.
I will update next week on fitness, but for now I just had to vent.