Monday, October 3, 2011

Less Work??

I was shocked to read that BC Public School Employers’ Association are meeting this morning to consider reducing teachers' pay since under job action they are doing less work.  Less work?  The teachers I meet daily are doing MORE work to ensure that the most important things – the things that make the most difference for kids – are getting done.  Here is a short list.

On Monday, I co-led a meeting of the professional development representatives from each school.  It was during the school day – funded by the BCTF in a twice yearly training session.  This is a group of teachers who volunteer to organize the three school-based days – polling staffs to see what they most need to learn to serve this year’s students, getting speakers to match the needs, setting up workshops and organizing resources.  Monday’s meeting was a chance to mentor new reps, to gather ideas from each other and to figure out ways to collaborate to share costs to maximize each opportunity.  Then they were off to organize the first PD day on October 11th.  When? After school, on weekends, during lunch, before the bell rings in the morning.

Teacher-Librarians at 5:00 on a Thursday afternoon
On Tuesday, I met with a group of Teacher-Librarians who had signed on to reflect on the role of libraries in a digital world.  We learned about twitter, blogs and social bookmarking and they left with a long list of homework to complete over the next month to practice learning these new tools so we can begin to use them effectively to gather and share resources for teachers to more effectively meet the needs of students.

On Wednesday, we had an Open House at the DRC to showcase the resources available to teachers, followed by a workshop from 4:00 to 6:00 to show our latest acquisition:  iPods and iPads.  We shared how these tools could be used to engage all learners and powerfully support our struggling readers and writers.  After the workshop (full!), they filtered out slowly (I pushed out the last one just before 7:00) filled with ideas and plans and organizing how they could continue to learn together.

On Thursday, I had a dilemma.  I could meet with Teacher-Librarians again – they hold five after school meetings to share resources, ideas, plans – or the Kindergarten teachers (monthly meetings and a large learning group that meets in-between) – or the Math teachers (monthly meetings). In the end, I went to meet with the teacher-librarians since they had some specific questions they wanted me to address related to our digital libraries initiative.  One item on the agenda was starting an additional learning group: a dozen people signed up immediately.

And this weekend?  I’ve answered dozens of emails from teachers who have been working on an application for Project Success – our year-long inquiry into how we can improve learning for vulnerable learners.  In fact, I’d better get back to the real work of the day.  I have a half-dozen emails to answer about the project (the application is due today) sent to me after 7:00 on a Sunday evening.  Oh, I see there is also a twitter follow from one of the teacher-librarians who did her homework this weekend.  Ah, another from a PD rep looking for a word sort on assessment-for-learning words to use on PD day - planning on the weekend, of course.

This is a tiny sliver of the kind of work that continues from my small circle - never mind the coaching and clubs and just daily beautiful hard hard work to ensure that each child learns.   If teachers are doing less work, my mind boggles:  how were they doing more?

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