Teacher Teams and Me

When teacher teams were introduced into our school, it was via an SBO. We rearranged the day to accommodate one a week during the C6 period. (We also negotiated more prep time.) I was placed on a team with three teachers who did not teach my subject. 

My teammates were not particularly outgoing, and I ended up having to write up every meeting. I was very creative. Halfway into the year, I realized I was chapter leader, the school did not own my C6, and avoided these teams for a number of years.

Last year, I was not longer CL, so I was placed on a team with four teachers who actually taught my subject. We discussed classroom issues and resolutions. It was a surprisingly good experience. I was with colleagues I respected, and we bounced ideas off of one another. It was altogether a positive practice, and I’d hoped to do it again. However, this year we were presented with the following choices. I will spare you the descriptions in favor of my own commentary. 

Hallway beautification–I want to beautify the hallways like I want a hole in my head. I shall say no more.  

Cultural Acknowledgement–While this is actually related to what I teach, it speaks of monthly events. I have no time for monthly events, as it happens. Also, as a teacher of ELLs, I acknowledge cultures almost minute to minute. I am bone weary of being lectured on this topic by monolingual people who’ve almost never been anywhere.

Event Promotion–This appears to entail some monthly activity that I either cannot do or promote. When I’m not in school, I’m not promoting events. And if I were, I’d want to be paid for this. 

Teacher Care–I like this concept, but once again it involves some monthly event. I’m not an event planner. (However, one of the events was a book group, and I’ll get back to that.)

College and career–I can’t think of anything more helpful to the colleges or career of my students than teaching them how to use, and hopefully even to love English. I’m sticking with that.

Restorative Circle Mentors–This one is open only to people in the restorative circle program. I checked it anyway, because being ineligible, I have little chance of being selected.  

Bio-Chem with Algebra Geometry–I know little to nothing about any of it. I selected it. 

Physics with Trig/ PreCalc–Also not my area. I selected it. 

AP Physics with AP/ Calc–More advanced than the last, and about the same to me. I selected it.

APUSH with AP Language--No idea what that even is, but I wish the best to those who choose it.

Phys Ed Healthy Sports Medicine–Sounds good if you’re a PE teacher. 

Art/Music--Sounds good if you teach art or music. 

Freshman initiative–Help the ninth graders get involved in all the school activities I’ve never been involved in, and won’t be now either. 

New teacher connection–I’d have liked this if it didn’t say dealing with lesson plans and stuff. I think new teachers need to learn how to deal with crazy administrators, and I’m pretty certain my input would be less than welcome. 

Curriculum adjustment–I used to sign up in the summer to write curriculum for pay. I no longer do that, and I’m not interested in doing it for free either. 

Data analysis–Just kill me now. 

After having sent in the required form, I spoke to several supervisors. I suggested “Supporting English Language Learners” as a topic, and it seems like it might have legs. It would be good for me because, you know, that’s what they actually pay me to do. 

I also noticed that the teacher. care thing suggested book groups. I’d love to do that, but as part of this teacher team thing we do. Right now, I’m reading Beaten Down, Worked Up by Steven Greenhouse. It’s a history of American labor and it’s blowing my mind. I think every UFT member should read it. I think every NYC student should read it too.  I would be more than happy to lead or participate in a group discussing it. 

I hope it works out. Otherwise, it’s advanced physics for me. I’m happy to nod my head and pretend to understand it, if that’s what it takes

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