Lost In Transition.
Wednesday, the entire Tenth Grade English Team had a “Pull Out” meeting. That means that we were all pulled out of our classes (that’s where the name comes from, see?) and got together in a conference room, to plan content for roughly the next month or so. This time around it was a substantially larger group. The unfilled Tenth Grade position was liquidated, and the classes reassigned to other English teachers a period at a time as “auxiliary classes,” for additional pay. That means a group double in size, but in some cases, with a tiny commitment by comparison.
For instance, one of the counselors took a period as an English teacher. That counselor, then, was able to spend about forty five minutes meeting with us, and very little of that was involved in planning or content. with a student load of about forty kids versus my two hundred, that person has a substantially lower investment in the project of teaching the class than say..me. Also, dissolving that position renders me as the teacher with by far the largest percentage of Tenth Grade Students in English class.
Overall, the meeting was really, really productive. We planned, in considerable detail, the next four to six weeks of class…down to passages to be read, assignments, “guiding questions,” to whole ball of Edu-Wax, so to speak. The new teachers, by and large, really had a good deal of intellectual material to contribute, which was fantastic…a good deal of the time, I feel like I’m doing a large amount of the mental heavy lifting. Labor was divided fairly and intelligently, with some teachers making the vital documents needed to run classes, others writing the formal lesson plans, still others researching content, and myself generally providing ideas for debate. Unlike previous “collaboration meetings” at other schools, discipline of students just wasn’t a thing to discuss…it was all literature and the craft of writing.
Sounds great…but let’s not call the Mayor of Candy Land and have him annex the Edu-Mountain for sweetness and light just yet.
See…the LAST time we had a “pull out,” there was a discussion about a tentative plan for a unit involving Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death,” and some kind of historical connection. I wrote a large amount of notes on the white board regarding this, with the understanding that it could be somehow documented, and then I could come back to it at this meeting. I promptly then dumped the specifics from my brain space, since the human brain only has so much capacity, and I need to be able to think about other stuff, like Sharks fighting Werewolves.
So at THIS “pull out,” I asked after those notes. Let’s just say that those were just straight up lost….as well lost as the Arkenstone in the “Hobbit”. I must have asked for it five times, in different ways, getting increasingly mad each time that I did. The real kicker though was after I re-invented the Wheel, as it were, the Chicken Knight actually then remembering what I was talking about, and producing the initial notes.
Nothing is perfect. There has to be some issue, some fly in the ointment. If that’s the proverbial fly…I think I’ll take it. Even with that slow start, and frustration, we got a huge amount of real planning done in a short time…more planning than I have ever gotten done in collaborative meetings at other schools. In light of that…
…I’ll take a lost battle plan or two in stride.