The Eagle Has Landed.
This meeting actually happened at the beginning of the week. The Chicken Knight initially had different dialogue, as I was drawing it…but it turned out that he skated on the meeting. Depending upon who you asked, a different reason was given. The common denominator was simple…he did not, in fact, wish to be there.
The meeting was mercifully brief. It turned out that the Antler King in fact made a real attempt to stay in step with us, although he did invert the structure of the lesson plans. That is a teacher’s priority, to make those kinds of educational decisions with respect to a plan. Ultimately, he IS in step with my class, and the ones being driven by Special Amazon when she isn’t co-teaching with me. This milestone marked the exact moment that the majority of the tenth grade was actually delivering a curriculum, as opposed to disparate lesson plans.
Unfortunately, the meeting degenerated into a spirited debate between Admin and Special Amazon on the merits of “in class” reading. Admin was posing a sort of “party line” about the value of instructional minutes, and that time could be better used doing the bulk of the reading outside of class. This makes a kind of logistical sense, honestly…college expects reading to happen outside of lecture, after all. Special Amazon, on the other hand, took the view that research indicates that higher levels of student understanding, comprehension, and appreciation for text occur with guided in class readings, on a regular basis. She’s not wrong, in fact…major researchers like Krashen and Chomsky agree with her.
Both sides have a point. To be honest, I usually fall down very firmly on Special Amazon’s side. I understand the logistical point being made by perhaps my favorite administrator, who is looking to maximize the use of any given instructor’s true expertise. It’s a delicate balance of priorities, which ironically, spilled into the next day’s staff meeting.
In that meeting, about the new ELD (English Language Development, or English as a Second Language) the Chicken Knight raised his hand. When called on, he straight up picked a fight about the need to do reading in class, and the idea that admin would openly discipline teachers who did it. It was bizarre…he was championing a point that was made in a meeting that he dodged. Immediately, the same administrator who fielded the prior day’s intellectual debate about the same topic, fielded the more hostile approach. He did a good job, mostly in the vein of shutting the dispute down before it escalated.
Still…I was amazed. A gentleman who had never seemed that interested in educating at all, championed a research driven point of practice. Aggressively championed it, in fact. It was like some sort of positive Bizarro duplicate took over that spot.
Right after his comment, I turned to my few teacher friends and said, “Whoa. The Eagle has landed.”
Hence, the title.
Next Issue: Cheesecake, Jawas, and Metal Bikinis!