A Voltron of One

That feeling that you are the only one who came prepared for the meeting.

That feeling that you are the only one who came prepared for the meeting.

It’s Monday, and our group of Tenth Grade English teachers are intended to meet once again and discuss our progress in the agreed upon lesson plans. We are nearing the end of the plans made in the “pull out” session, and it will soon be useful to either have another of those “pull outs” or have some serious productivity in the Monday afternoon meetings.

That being said, this situation has changed little. The classroom across the hall, which has the largest number of sections for Grade Ten English other than my “line” of classes still has a sub instead of a teacher. In fact, the subs are now day to day, making the class even less on task. My co-teacher has functionally taken over two of those sections, but that leaves some three other sections functionally without direction. Another member of the group (the Antler King) is more or less on point with the general idea of the lessons…but it’s unclear if the work product will be delivered, in the form of an essay. Or…it might be delivered, but outside the alotted time frame. As for the Chicken Knight…who knows if he will even come to the meeting? If he does, I couldn’t tell you what his two sections of English are doing, and I have one of his students in my homeroom.

This lack of unity, in fact, is what drove the art. Voltron is composed of five robot lion ships that combine to make one giant robot knight. All the parts need to work together, in unison, toward a single goal, or Voltron doesn’t work. Years ago, I used this visual metaphor with regard to CST preparation, which was done by combining time and effort from all of a student’s teachers, regardless of the content area, toward a common goal. Given that set of ideas, it was actually a better metaphor.

This school is intensely focused on teacher collaboration and common planning, so the metaphor holds to a degree. Still, with what I described above, it’s like I’m bringing a Voltron lion to the table, and someone else said, “Okay…I have a Wind Raider from Eternia. That’s the same, right?” They are not.

And more importantly, they can’t combine to do something bigger.

That combination and synchronization of effort toward a common educational goal is the point of common planning, and common assessments. Without a focus on that, meetings are just so much talk.

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