We Need Teacher Blogs In Delaware!

As I look at my Delaware blogger list, I see fewer posts by many on the Delaware blogs.  I see very few from teachers in Delaware.  I keep wondering why this is.  My first assumption is they are afraid of retribution for what they write.  Which is why we need Delaware teachers to write anonymous blogs.  We need to hear things from their perspective, the good and the bad.  What is working?  What isn’t?  How are students REALLY doing in the classroom?  How do they do on actual classroom assignments?  What are the concerns and fears teachers have?  How do they feel about Common Core and Smarter Balanced now that we are waist-deep in it?  This voice is dwindling in Delaware and people need to hear it.

So I am calling out for any teachers in Delaware to start anonymous blogs.  I welcome all education blogs in this state.  Kilroy doesn’t post as much these days, but that is for a good reason.  Kavips will sometimes post 10 articles in 2 days, and then nothing.  Delaware Way used to write an awesome collection of education blog stories from the past week.  Transparent Christina rarely writes new material these days.  Where has Steve Newton’s voice been?  What happened to Minding My Matters, Fixdeldoe, and theseventhtype?  I understand many of these people have real lives with things going on, but an occasional post about different viewpoints and opinions is missed.  I saw many blogs start in the past year and then they disappeared.

Blogging is free and it takes time, but it is also an essential part of today’s media.  Bloggers are the Wild West, able to post stories along with their opinions.  The audience is there, but they need YOU!  State Rep. Kim Williams is one of the busiest persons I know, but she recently started an excellent blog called Delaware First State.  Christina CBOC member Brian Stephan of Those in Favor now writes for Delaware Liberal.  So what say you Delaware teachers?  Care to give it a whirl?  Please use WordPress so I can reblog your stuff!  And I would love to hear from Kent County and Sussex County teachers!

25 thoughts on “We Need Teacher Blogs In Delaware!

  1. retribution is a real concern. it’s not like i don’t want or need the job. there is also a growing realization that the system is so thoroughly corrupted- down to the local level- at least where i teach- that i am wasting emotional energy. that the battle is over.

    Like

  2. For me it’s time! I had to watch my fourth online video training this past weekend with Strep throat and a 101 fever!!! DOE is killing teachers with PD, trainings, Bloomboard, schoolology, IMS, and who knows what else. I haven’t even planned lessons for my students yet… We do that Sundays and I thought the kids come first!!!!!!!! My bad!!!!!!

    Like

    • we were trained in Amplify this week. If I had to teach only 4 days a week, then maybe, just maybe, I would be able to use some of its features. I, too, have very little real time to actually plan instruction of the assigned curriculum. They are constantly adding things for us to do, but the pacing chart remains the same. The ONE RTI class I have has become the greatest burden. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was asked to monitor the breathing of the students.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amplify is a corporation. What Amplify product were you trained in? Can you link to any materials from the vendor, the district, or DOE that were used in your training?

        Technology is supposed to make things easier to do, not harder. If the technology makes your job harder, it’s not working, and that is the story that needs to be told.

        I work in the private sector and we deal with streamlining and reengineering workflows all the time, applying technology when needed. I encountered many teachers who said they couldn’t do (some valuable thing) because they had too many other required tasks. But I have yet to meet a teacher who was able to produce even a minimal list of those tasks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I will give you a start to a list. Each year we have mandatory trainings to do. It use to be child abuse, we had a faculty, watched a video as a group and then signed off. Well that was computerized, multiplied, and the faculty meeting for ur; gone!!!! Now we have child abusers, gangs, bullying, OSHA, cyber security, DPASII, all with there own bodies and comprehension questions. AND the kicker, you do it on your own time. Total it is probably 20 hours of work that is not directly related to teaching. This is an example of how technology it used to get us to do more work not better work. Schoolology is more of the same…..

          Liked by 1 person

        • Do you have any actual idea what it takes to plan a week of lessons for 100 kids? Perhaps three different preps? Sure there are teachers who fly by the seat of their pants every day, but they are in the minority, and there is a price to be paid for unpreparedness, no matter how good that teacher thinks he is. The students pay that price.

          Most educational technology is designed to make money.

          here is the Amplify link – it was very easy to find. you can
          use Google.
          http://www.amplify.com/

          You want a list?
          1. Review standards to be taught.
          2, Plan instruction for those standards.
          3, Gather resources for those lessons.
          4. Prepare materials for those lessons.
          5. Teach those lessons.
          6. Evaluate and revise plans as needed.
          7. prepare both informal and formal assessments.
          8. grading of assessments, homework, classwork
          9. record grades in e-school
          10. Complete referral process for behavior issues.
          11. Contact parents regarding attendance, behavior, and academic issues.
          12. Respond to parent emails and phone messages.
          13. Record every parent contact in I tracker.
          14. Administer state pre and post tests. that I must copy. some are 12 pages long.
          15. grade state pre and post tests- including open responses
          16. Record student scores for state pre and post test.
          17. Grade Amplify pre and post test open responses. three times a year.
          18. Record Amplify open response scores for each student. three times a year.
          19. administer district bencmark tests for each unit taught.
          20. Grade every district benchmark test for each unit taught.
          21. Record on line the score for every district benchmark test for every child – multiple times a year.
          22. Teach Anti- bullying lessons. requiring reviewing the lesson, making copies, teaching the lesson, collecting student work and handing it in so that my name can be checked off.
          23. Taking on-line couses/presentations required by the state EVERY year. Printing out the certificate and turnng it in so my name can be checked off.
          24. Take attendance. Recording attendance.
          25. Prepare work for students who are out sick or out for some other reason for any extended period of time.
          26. check and record dress code violations every day.
          27. record every late and confirm that a conference with said late student has occurred.
          28. Identify cohorts for DPAS evaluations.
          29 Write goals for DPAS evaluations.
          30. Distribute, collect, and record every form sent home & returned signed for each homeroom student at the beginning of the year. There are at least 9.
          31. some of us have lunch duty
          32. All of us have hall duty.
          33. Most of us have bus duty.
          34 Many of us must walk our kids to lunch and pick them up from lunch – during OUR 30 minutes lunch.
          35. Keep Home work Hotline up to date.
          36. Keep Home Access up to date.
          37. SHOP for classroom supplies. with our own money.
          38. Collect, record and turn in student redemption of earned
          school “dollars”
          39. Prepare for evening Open House
          40. Attend evening Open House
          41. Present multiple times at evening open house,.
          42. Prepare for parent conferences
          43. Conduct parent conferences.
          44.. Attend PLC’s
          45. Attend after school faculty meetings
          46. Mentor specific students
          47. Prepare and submit emergency lesson plans for three days. Update as needed.
          48. Post an Essential Question on the board for every lesson.
          49. Post an agenda on the board for each class/prep every day.
          50. Test RTI students every 10 days. record.
          51. participate in the planning and execution of school wide events: Career day, Health fair, Book Fair, Concerts, Field, day, field trips, etc
          52.. Serve as Cooperating teacher for a student teacher
          53. Host methods students
          54. sponsor clubs, student government, newspaper, honor society, etc.
          55. one teacher just asked, “Don’t 173 students count as 173 tasks?”
          56. meet interim deadlines.
          57 meet report card deadlines
          58. maintain adequate professional growth
          59. develop and implement effective managment strategies for today’s classrooms
          60. Read & respond as necessary to pertinent daily emails from administration.
          61. complete daily forms for students on behavior plans.
          62. attend after school department meetings.
          63. Create and maintain a motivating and welcoming classroom environment.
          64. Prepare and Display Concept map for each unit of study.
          65. Prepare and Display vocabulary terms for each unit of study.
          66. make the investments necessary to establish relationships with students.
          67. Report appropriate concerns to DSFS
          68. Report appropriate concerns to school nurse.
          69. Report appropriate concerns to school counselor.
          70. Distribute textbooks, recording the # book each student has.
          71. Collecting textbooks in May and preparing forms for those who do not return the book. The form must be submitted to the main office, and the teacher must mail a copy to the home of the student.

          I could go on, but I have so much to do………….

          Liked by 2 people

  3. “What happened to.. theseventhtype? ”

    The short answer is that I changed jobs and also picked up some new family responsibilities, and could no longer attend the meetings that drove my blog articles. If that changes I will be back. Also the blog was getting less than 50 hits per day (but I suspect those were the “right” 50 people). If people really want to engage with me on blogs they can respond to my comments I post here and elsewhere.

    Like

  4. You also have to keep in mind that so many teachers are just burnt out. They have been demoralized and defeated. No one at DOE fights for them. It is just pile official after pile of crap.

    I miss the days when you could just teach, support and love your students. Education is not about that anymore. It is one initiative after another. Most teachers are awaiting for an admin change just to have the “next” great thing pushed down into education.

    Also, who has the energy to fight anymore. What is there to actually win? We have completely killed the love of teaching in most teachers. That is what the greatest loss is.

    Like

  5. I have not seen many teacher blogs about Common Core anywhere. I would love to hear more about what the teachers think because I think its probably split between them liking CC and not liking it. I would also love for bloggers to differentiate between CC and testing, which has been around for quite some time. Of course, I guess I could start my own blog! 🙂

    Like

  6. Hey so here’s a thought: Give educators the opportunity to guest blog here. Like how Kilroy got you started. Then you might be able to hear from more folks. I’d also reach out directly to individuals you know and see if they’d like to submit something.

    As far as a list of responsibilities, there is an excellent blog that I saw floating around on Facebook that really went into a great deal of detail about how teaching has changed over the 30+ years that person has been teaching. It is extremely comprehensive in terms of additional responsibilities.

    Prior to making a list of my own, I want to make sure folks understand that I’m not complaining about working in my chosen profession. I’m not interested in being attacked by someone who thinks I’m “just bitching”, and yes, that has happened, online, on MY blog. So…

    Educators are salaried employees, and that means we can be expected to work the job until our job responsibilities are complete. I’d like it noted for the record that, in my district at least, the union contract actually states this exact sentiment, that it is expected for educators to work outside the contractual hours.

    I teach 3 classes and an enrichment course daily. I have 3 different grade levels, plus the mixed-grade enrichment, so that’s 4 separate courses I’m planning for on a daily basis. Currently I have a student load of over 210 spread across those courses, and in my discipline (elective course) there is no support person available to come in and work with the students who have special educational needs. Approximately 20% of my students have individualized education plans, with up to 1/3-1/2 of some classes with those particular individuals. Additionally, there are students with behavior plans, emotional support needs, and 504 plans that include such medical diagnoses as ADHD (I don’t have quick data on that percentage).

    My courses are all hands-on, and I manage an 8,000 sq ft courtyard and have between 70 and 80 animals in the animal science program as well as wildlife habitat, vegetable gardens, fruit plants, and a small greenhouse. In my classroom I provide centers for students to work in when they finish early; these centers are in reading, art, science, and technology, and I created activities for each center that students complete as they work in the center.

    On a normal day, I come into work 30-45 minutes early to get my room set up, copy materials, etc. I’m on hall duty for approximately 15 minutes, then the first class block starts. I’ve got 40 minutes of individual plan, then hall duty for 30 minutes twice a week, 70 minutes of individual plan twice a week, and 45-60 minutes of professional development with an additional 10-25 minutes of individual plan on the fifth day. After school I have hall duty again for about 10 minutes daily, then meetings three days a week. One of those meetings is about an hour in length while the other two are around 20-25 minutes each. That leaves me with four additional hours on a normal week between the end of the school day and the time I have to leave to pick my pre-k student up at his school. In a perfect week, I have about 11.50 hours between 6:15 am and 3:30 pm where I am at school with “free” time to plan, grade, etc.

    I’m fine with my job duties, but it would be irresponsible to say that I have adequate time during the work day to get things done. Between the hall duties (good for the school), the peer learning time (good for the teachers), meetings (good for the staff), parent contacts (good for the students and families), and other things we get regularly called upon to do, it can be difficult to take the entire time allocated for work and give it to work. I’ve got IEP meetings, behavior plan meetings, TONS of emails to answer, guest speakers to arrange, trips for my student clubs to plan, evaluation system goals to write, lesson reflections to complete, student work samples to hang in the classroom and hallway, essential questions and standards and agendas to write on the board every day for every separate class, a positive behavior support system to maintain, attendance to enter into the computer (within the first 10-15 minutes of class, while also teaching), grades to update and enter electronically as well as back up manually, supplies such as books and paper and scissors to inventory and maintain, conversations with other educators about the students we share to help support them in our classrooms, missing and makeup work to track down, and data data data to enter into multiple systems. Heaven forbid I need to write a behavior referral for a student, because that entails multiple actions across multiple platforms in addition to calling home and conferencing with the student and all the things I did prior to needing to complete the referral.

    Many of these are things educators have been doing for a long time. And that’s fine. The difference really is all the initiatives that we now have to follow. I can’t just write down my lesson topic on a piece of paper and go. I have to show my bellringer activity, my activating strategy, 3-4 transitions throughout the class, how I’m differentiating for all my students, what in-depth questions I’m asking to evaluate learning, what my formative assessment will be, where the lesson ties in to the overall unit and course, what standards the lesson is based on (my content standards plus math and ELA common core plus any science and social studies), and the level of rigor. We have a lot of professional development on our own in addition to the ones we get in groups.

    So yes, over time the responsibilities have grown and the complexity of meeting the requirements have grown.

    A side note about Amplify: Yes, it is a company. However, that term is being used across the educational environment to describe a series of tests. There’s the Smarter Balanced test, the STAR test, SRI, etc. Amplify has a product that gets used, but instead of using its full name every time we refer to it, we simply say “Amplify”. Not trying to be touchy, but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone respond to an educator with that “Amplify is a company, not a test” comment.

    And now that my lunch “half hour” is over…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think several of the teacher replies misunderstood my comment, ” I have yet to meet a teacher who was able to produce even a minimal list of those tasks.”

    I’m not challenging that teachers have too much to do, or that much of it is repetitive or low-value.

    The point is, as a parent I can get in the principal’s face or the superintendent’s face or the Secretary’s face and say, “Why are you making my children’s teachers do all this busywork instead of teaching my child?” Many teachers would fear retribution, but I don’t. Teachers should enlist parents as allies. I guess you understandably aren’t familiar with my old blog posts.

    But you have to be specific. As a parent advocate I can’t just go to the district office or Dover and demand a lower teacher workload. Can you imagine? “OK, what work should we take away?” and I hand over a list of 72 items of mostly generalized ranting, and I say “Here, do something with this.” I would lose all credibility, and so would you.

    There has to be a plan. Somebody needs to take that 72-item list and turn it into an action plan. Each item has to be clearly identified and the source of the mandate identified. Then parents can say, “Look, you are requiring teachers to fill out this report, but he same information is available in this other system.” Or “That report is required by DOE, and it is of low value. Let’s make the case to eliminate it at the next BOE meeting.”

    If you want higher-ups to resolve an issue, don’t bring them problems – bring them a plan. A plan that you’ve thought out beforehand.

    It’s also time for a consolidation of technology. Amplify, eSchool, Insight, iTracker, Schoology… many of these overlap and have duplicated functions. And ALL of them would be more helpful with increased user support. But the vendors and the districts keep those systems out of the public eye. The vendors don’t even have a publicly available demo system. And once it’s installed, it is forbidden to see because it now contains student data.

    Like

    • “generalized ranting”? No. I believe the points to be quite specific, and it appeared you were looking for a list. I was happy to provide.
      Most ofthe data we are collecting is either ignored (the district benchmarks), or usedfor teacher evaluation, not to further student learning.
      it is the appearance of compliance.
      Parents? I had nine at this year’s Open House. That represents about 10%.

      Like

      • It’s a start, and it’s more than I’ve ever gotten from a teacher. The list leaves me with a lot of work to figure out where each mandate is coming from, what work is being done and what is its value, whether it is duplicated double-work, if there is a better system already existing to do the same thing, etc.

        I’m sure the sense of being overwhelmed is very real. Cutting through to the root of each problem is a lot of work, but you know “how to eat an elephant,” right? One bite at a time.

        Of course there is no point in me starting that analysis unless I know what district you are in and what grade you teach. Sounds like a job for a union representative.

        If only teachers were represented by an effective union…

        Like

        • Nope, don’t go slamming the union, and don’t go saying teachers haven’t come up with plans and presented them. I know for a fact that I have. And I know others have. When individual teachers AND their union leaders wrote letters and made public comment to the Delaware Board of Ed a year ago about legitimate concerns with a proposed changes to the evaluation system, and an alternate plan was presented, the Board of Ed went ahead with the proposed changes anyway. And guess what? It didn’t make the system better, and the need it was supposed to address still exists.

          If it’s an easy answer, like “unions don’t work” or “no one has a plan” it’s not an answer at all, just another way to sling mud, obscuring the real potential solutions and pissing people off so they won’t work together.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Proposals for “changes to the teacher evaluation system” is a completely different animal from proposals to streamline day-to-day classroom tasks. Here’s an idea – go through that 72-item list, and:

            1. Refine the descriptions of the tasks so parents can understand them in order to fight them.
            2. Eliminate items that are listed twice
            3. Identify the root source of the mandate for each item. Bureaucracy is a hydra, there is no silver bullet and you have to cut off each head one at a time.
            4. Identify items that don’t need to be done, and write down your reasons why.
            5. Identify how exactly each piece of technology is making your job more difficult instead of easier.

            The idea is to remove low-value work, not to show you how to cram more of it into the day.

            I understand if teachers are too busy or feeling too overwhelmed to do this kind of analysis. That is why somebody else needs to to do it. Until this is done, everything is just bitching and moaning, which is very easy to tune out.

            Delaware is full of people who understand technology and work processes, and improve them for a living, even (and especially) if they aren’t educators.. Reach out to them. When parents are offering to help, give them ammunition.

            In the end, there is still more work to do than fits in the day. That is where parents and voters have to demand (and pay for) smaller class sizes and additional aides and paras.

            Like

  8. the “list” is a response to “I have yet to see a teacher produce a list…”. It was done in less than 15 minutes. Off the too of my head, with input from one teacher who dropped by. It is not intended to be exhaustive, and it was not edited. I see each item as a separate task, some subtasks of larger tasks. The point is, that teacher responsibilities continue to increase, while time provided to perform them has not.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.