A vent

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Aliceacc, Apr 10, 2010.

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  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Yesterday, BOTH my daughters had subs-- apparently there was still ANOTHER day of "teacher training"-- whatever that means. Their gym teacher was also out, so there was no gym.I'm not sure who else was out, but my 2 girls had none of their usual teachers.

    They've had LOTS of subs this year, many of them for the same "teacher training" thing.

    Given the state of the economy, I doubt that they're suddenly getting some new technology that will revolutionize teaching. (And if they are, then why is there money for that while my 7 year old has 30 kids in her class?????)

    Here's a tiny little suggestion: You want better standardized test scores?? How about having the teachers attend school with a little more frequency????
     
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  3. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I guess it depends when the money was set aside.

    I'm not sure if it is the same in most districts, but here there are separate budget lines. So you couldn't use the "technology" budget line to reduce class size or the food service budget line to supply paper towels to the bathroom.

    We have a grant at the school the grant was set forth before the economy totally tanked. Next year might be a different situation.

    That being said, MOST of our PD is when the kids are not at school or on the weekends.
     
  4. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I agree. It's a waste of money and instructional time. If they really want to have teacher training during the year, they should schedule a professional development day in the middle of the year, when students don't come to school, and all the teachers can go to whatever training they need to go to. The district where I first worked actually did this, probably because it was urban and most schools had trouble getting subs. The district I'm at now likes to pull teachers at the drop of a hat.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I have no idea about the technology thing; it was the only logical reason why teachers who are tenured and have been in the building forever might need that much additional training.

    But last fall, every time they had parent conferences (I think that's FIVE days) the school dismissed at 10:45 am. Nope, not a typo-- school lasted from 8:30 till 10:45 because the teachers had conferences, even when those conferences were at night. Couldn't the training have taken place THEN????
     
  6. myangel52

    myangel52 Comrade

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    Our school district has adopted new math curriculum (beginning next year), but they are pulling us math teachers out of school for training on how to use everything that goes with it. (One day of training, to familiarize us with the whole series and the tools.) But our "math coach" is pulling us out for two more days to align our standards or something... which I am not feeling good about. If I went to both sets, for the grade levels I am teaching next year, that would put me out of class 5 full days within the next two months, in addition to the one I have to take off for a doctor's appointment. I told her no... I am just going to one grade level group. That is more than enough. That still has me out, away from my students, for three days (thankfully, not consecutive days).

    Why couldn't they do this training in the summer time? I don't understand why they couldn't do that.
     
  7. CanukTeach

    CanukTeach Companion

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    I definately understand the frustration of having teachers out but I think teacher training is important. I don't think teacher training should be an "add on". I don't think teachers should have to do it on their own time. I think the best model is to build it into the school week (i.e. a late start once a week with students doing something else during that time - ie. having an artist come in to run workshops with the students, etc). I am one of those teachers who gets to school at 7 am and leaves at 5, often with work but I really still believe that PD is important and that it has to be built into the regular work week. So if it isn't built in then teachers are going to be out.

    My rant on this subject is why can't the board create a better system for supply teaching (i.e. actually make it desirable to supply when you have little kids for example) so that when we are out teaching is still happening.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 10, 2010

    I do not like to miss school for various and surely obvious reasons, but there have been a few instances where I missed a few days throughout the year for what I might simplify as "teacher training" for my students. Because I am on a couple of committees, and because I'm apparently so "innovative" and "creative", I've been asked to attend workshops and such and come back and present that information with colleagues. I can think of a few other teachers--veteran teachers--who have also been out a few to several days this year for what could be labeled as teacher training. I think veteran teachers can benefit from additional trainings as much as those fresh to the profession because of how teaching is ever-evolving.

    As to where this money comes from, I do not know, but Turtle has a point. And as to why they can't do it over the summer...I'm not sure, but I'm actually glad they don't.
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I have been pulled for training five times this year. I am piloting a reading program and so needed to attend three trainings on that, I went to workshop on handwriting, and was pulled for a grade level meeting that was all day long to align our science program with state standards.
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    This is true for my school as well. When we have our PD days the kids are off.
     
  11. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Apr 10, 2010

    Our PD is usally done right after intersession (fall, winter & spring)...Teachers come back on monday for PD and kids return on Tuesday. Teachers are also pulled during the year for various committees.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think teachers can benefit from training.

    But I think the most important aspect of learning is to have the teacher in the classroom.

    I'm vain enough to think that my being there makes a difference to my students.

    Am I alone here??
     
  13. beatlebug731

    beatlebug731 Comrade

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    Apr 10, 2010

    As my dad always says, "follow the money."

    It saves money to have PD during school time.
     
  14. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    We don't have the money to hire subs to go to training! Any PD days we have are when the kids aren't at school. We haven't really had much this year anyway because we don't have the money. We've just been working on PLC in our own building.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 10, 2010

    Of course not.

    But when you weigh your absence against what is being learned at an awesome professional development opportunity, a single thing or an entire program you can implement for maybe years into the future, it's worthwhile in the end. I'm also vain enough to think I leave worthwhile plans for the substitute and to think I've created and supported such a learning environment, especially at this point into the year, that my students can learn and grow without me if need be for a day or two. I would rather be there, but it will be okay...I learned that when I had H1N1, despite having some horrific substitutes during that period.

    Besides, I don't get to choose when the PD is being held...
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Apr 10, 2010

    I'm with you.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 10, 2010

    A day or two-- or a lot more-- of unavoidable sickeness is one thing.

    But someone choosing to pull teachers out of class for, I don't know, 5 or 6 days of PD a year, in ADDITION to those sick days, I think is excessive.

    And we're talking at least 3 teachers out of something like 13 or so in the building yesterday.
     
  18. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I am running into that problem this year. I have been out for 12 days of PD and have used 2 sick days with the TMJ for doctor's appointments. We are implementing some new programs this year and the training has been for a VP and a teacher. In the long run, our students are going to benefit greatly from the PD that I have received this year. By using technology, it has lessened the effect of me being out of the classroom so much this year. I have done several podcast lessons and was available to answer questions using SKYPE and e-mail even when I was in a PD.
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Apr 10, 2010

    I hate to break it to you, Alice, but this type of situation (teachers being pulled for full-day professional development) is the "norm" in my school district. Between professional development and other committees I'm currently serving on, I have been out for about six days this school year (so far). Unfortunately, I have also been out for a total of six days due to having strep throat and other ailments this school year. That adds up to about twelve days so far this year. Also, the month of May will be very busy because I have two more professional development sessions to attend! :dizzy:
     
  20. Mrs Ski

    Mrs Ski Companion

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    I have subbed more PD days than sick days. Many for one teacher. Her school was sending anyone who wasn't ESL endorsed to do so, and then also a rubrics class that most the teachers attended either the morning or afternoon session 2 or 3 days.

    It is cheaper to pay me $77/ day, (cheaper if i wasn't a certified teacher) to watch her kids, then extend her contract a few extra days for PD.
     
  21. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    Alone, no, but I think that there is a certain vanity there. Certainly you make a difference, but it's an unfortunate feature of our current system that your students or anyone else's should be so teacher-dependent in their learning. Learning is fundamentally an internal operation and I believe the best education is one that gives learners the greatest autonomy.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    We have five days built into the calendar for teacher in-service days. Students aren't scheduled to be at school on those days, but we come in for professional development, collaboration meetings, whatever. I like them because we don't have to get subs to cover our classes while we do PD.

    With the budget cuts, one of the things on the table is eliminating those in-service days. Basically it's a furlough situation, because they'll take 5 days away from our number of paid workdays. On the one hand, I'll miss the days because I think that they can be especially meaningful and useful. On the other hand, by cutting those days the district saves tens of millions of dollars, which is essential right now, especially if it means that they won't have to cut as many teaching positions. I am willing to give up 5 days' worth of pay as long as I'm not actually working those days--I won't work for free. I'll just think of losing that pay as having an extra long summer vacay.
     
  23. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Apr 10, 2010

    I almost fainted when I saw your subject line-you never vent Alice! :) Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    I agree with you and I also hate when we get signed up for trainings during the week. If I have the option to sign up for something my self, I would so much rather take a Saturday than have a sub come in and miss class for the day. We are required 45 hours every year to keep our certification-so we have to get them somehow.

    We are developing a new evaluation system in our district and one of the things the new super wants is to target PD for teachers based on needs. So if you are low in classroom management-you will be required to attend that training. Some of our teachers will probably have a lot of trainings :whistle:. But that was my thought when he shared the idea-more subs will be required. And you're right it's a waste of a day-no matter how good the sub, it's not like having the actual teacher there.
     
  24. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Our district is HEAVY into pulling teachers for PD. For example, our K-2 teachers have been provided subs for 9 days...yes NINE days just to do individual reading tests with their students. That's just one example...it goes on all year like this.
     
  25. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Part of the reason (IMO) for all the training days are that when students perform below expectations, people blame the teachers. Then the teacher's say they didn't know how to use the new curriculum. So ... training.

    About having the training during the school day using a sub... this means the parents don't need daycare that day. If the teachers work on Saturday so no one (else) is inconvenienced, would they get paid for that?
     
  26. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    PD is a thing of the past here - gone with budget cuts. I do a lot on my own time, because it's important to me. I missed two days to attend a conference, for which I used personal days and paid my own way, and I made sure that my kids wouldn't suffer because I was gone - one day was a test, the other a planned video that they wrote about.
     
  27. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I'm totally with you. I love worthwhile teacher trainings, just not during instructional time.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think I've earned that vanity. I have 2 parent emails received in the past 3 weeks, thanking me for making such a difference in the lives of their kids. They're most certainly not the only ones, merely the most recent.

    I'm good at what I do.

    Upper level math is sometimes difficult to teach yourself. Perhaps not for the prodigies out there, but certainly for the typical student.

    My kids are happy to get me as their teacher, particularly those who have had before.

    My own children, and certainly the other 29 7 year olds in my younger daughter's class, deserve no less.

    And I'm not talking about giving the kids a day off as opposed to having a sub; I'm talking about professional development at a time when my children aren't scheduled to be in school with their teacher, learning. We teach 180 days a year. That leaves lots of time for professional development... not to mention all those years getting your Bachelor's and Master's degrees.
     
  29. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Alice--I am in no way saying that you are not an expert in your subject matter nor am I saying that you are not a great teacher but PD is designed to make you a better teacher and nobody is perfect. I am certified to teach math, physics, chemistry, and all lower level science from 7th-12th grade. You can use technology to be in the classroom even when you are not in the classroom. I have worked with children via Skype while I was at a convention. I have also done podcasts and vodcasts to be shown when I was not in my classroom. My students cover materials in many different ways so my physical presence is not always necessary. I am not expecting my students to teach themselves Honors Physics but there is more to teaching than just lecture and written assessments. I attend many PD opportunities on my own time and am not getting paid by my school for those although most of the time they will pay any fees required to attend. I am considered a technology expert in my community and not only attend many PD's but also speak and present at them. Once a week at lunch the teachers of my school meet in my classroom and I teach a technology lesson. This has been a help to our teachers who have been in the classroom for a long time to change their ways and teach in the 21st century ways that our students learn. Professional development is a good thing and I would be very happy with my children's teachers getting as much PD as they need to be the most effective teacher that they can be even if it means they are out of the classroom for 12 of the 180 teaching days that they have (although in my school we actually have 186 teaching days).
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not anti- PD.

    I'm against taking time away from my children to offer it.

    Apparently my 7 year old should be less "teacher dependent" and teach herself.

    Yet her teacher is being pulled out of school to attend a class on how to teach her. Shouldn't she, the educated professional, be a little less "teacher-dependent"??

    I'm sorry, it still makes not sense to me.
     
  31. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    ....Plus, the field services, plus the student/intern teaching, plus the comp exams, and the many many teacher education and license tests.

    Why do teachers need so much PD to the point where it puts them behind schedule to do the job they were hired to do, which is TEACH? It's ridiculous. I am totally with you on this one Alice.

    I know Pharmacists who don't even need this much "training." What is so important that they need to take you from your class, which will put you further behind an extremely tight schedule in the classroom? There's not a moment to waste in that classroom.

    In my experience, most of the PD was common sense stuff that I would hope any half-way decent teacher would know or be able to figure out on his/her own.
     
  32. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I guess it depends on what kind of substitute teachers you have. I know that if I'm ever out for PD, I have a perfectly competent substitute who could easily be a certified teacher, but just graduated at an unfortunate time. My students do not have to teach themselves if they miss a day with me, and yes, I know their strengths and weaknesses and can work with them in small groups... but a day here and there with a someone different who has good classroom management and teaching skills is not an issue either.
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think some of you would be surprised at how unhappy parents are each time their kids come home and announce: "We had a sub today." It's not just me; it's a subject of conversation at many of the playdates and birthday parties. One of my neighbors, whose daughter is in the same class as mine, brought it up today.

    Not because there's anything wrong with the sub, but because the teacher is out AGAIN.

    It kills continuity. The sub doesn't know our kids or their routines, their personalities, their learning styles, their background or anything else about them. (OK, who am I kidding? Some subs have coverered the same classes often enough that they DO.)

    Are so many teachers here really so interchangeable???
     
  34. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I don't feel it kills continuity at all... I've had two different substitutes in for me. One did her student teaching in a kindergarten class last year, and in doing so taught the majority of my students when they were in kindergarten. The other substitute was a student teacher with my class (before I started teaching them in January), so she knows them quite well also.
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's difficult to find a sub for a foreign language class, which is what I teach. Since I can't count on my sub knowing anything about the subject I teach, any time I'm absent I basically have to plan a do-it-yourself day, where students do something outside the language. It's usually a culture activity or test prep or something like that. The material I leave for students is always educational and I know that my students benefit from doing it...but it still would be better if I were there to teach them the actual language (grammar, vocabulary, syntax, etc.). If the students are capable of doing the material themselves, then why do they need to bother being in class? It's usually a waste of a day when I'm gone.

    I'm with Alice on this one.
     
  36. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    As a (current) sub, I can say that maybe 50% of the jobs I have gotten have been due to PD. After Spring break, I was offered to work 3 days in one week, as the entire grade levels will be out of the classroom for those days.

    I'm used to it. At least I'll know ahead of time that everyone on the grade level will be a sub, so I can't necessarily ask them little details about the school that may not be in the teacher's plans.

    Plenty of times we're all asking questions about something, and then we go "I'm a sub"..."You're a sub too?"..."So and so is a sub too." "Where is a regular teacher?"...Subs on the entire grade level.:haha:

    I'm surprised so many teachers don't see a problem with this.
     
  37. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    I agree with the thought. Back when i was first hired, we came in over the summer to be trained on new materials. It was a nice check too. I think that is where the problem lies. The k-2 teachers are going through trainings for a new math adoption for next year and they are getting pulled out for it. Apparently its cheaper to pay for subs, than to pay us to come in over the summer. Its unfortunate, and I agree it sucks.
     
  38. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    No I don't think they are. I have 2 excellent subs (one is my sister) that know my routine, management style, and structure like the back of their hand, but I do still feel that something is missed if I'm not there. Sounds vain I know.

    My teaching partner (a great teacher) has missed numerous days this year (since December one grandparent and three cats died) , and if I were a parent in her class, I would be upset. I absolutely think that her class is affected by it. Maybe not "suffering", but certainly affected.
     
  39. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    I think Alice was pointing out that it seems to be more than a day or two.
     
  40. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Alice, I think we agree that it is best if we are in the classrooms. Certainly. And am I interchangeable with a substitute? I like to think not. My principal would certainly say I wasn't. But I'm not going to panic if I need to be out, especially when it's beyond my control anyhow. My first year, I did. I was outraged when I learned my first year that all language arts teachers had to be out one day to review how portfolios were to be scored and another couple days actually scoring. You would have thought by my reaction they were asking me to be out for two weeks. But it wasn't two weeks, and all was okay.

    Regarding sick days specifically, although I know that really isn't at the heart of this debate... I know many teachers are beyond annoyed by those who take what they consider to be an excessive number of sick days. It is my opinion that if a teacher is given twelve sick days per year and a teacher uses twelve, even every year, I cannot complain. I roll my eyes when I look down the hall to see a sub by her door yet again, but the system gave that teacher those days to use at her discretion. (ETA: And if a parent takes issue with this, they know where to go.)
     
  41. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Parents also need to realize that by law their children need 175 school days (at least we do) and we have 186 school days. This year we missed 2 days due to weather so that leaves me with 184 days. I missed 12 days due to PD opportunities so that leaves me in the classroom 172 days. I have only gone 3 days over what I should have been in the classroom. I have also spent many hours after school NOT getting paid to tutor a child who needs extra help because they should not be taking physics but most of our state colleges will not admit a student with mediocre grades in without physics and an upper level math course. I have also spent time away from my family at a coffee shop in the evening to tutor kids in math for an upcoming ACT because they have to have a higher score to be able to get into a state college or to get TOPS because that is the only way that they can afford to attend college. Do I feel guilty about being out of the classroom for 3 extra days for PD? No I do not feel guilty about missing 3 extra day for something that will help out my students in the long run. Also, I must be a bad parent because I do not know when my children have a sub in their class. In the big picture, they have had great teachers who missed lots of school and horrible teachers who were there everyday. My oldest daughter is a graduating senior in elementary education with a 3.4 gpa and my younger daughter is a chemistry major with a forensics concentration with a 3.9 gpa and my son is a junior in high school with at least a 3.5 gpa. They have learned from some teachers and they have not learned in some classes. I also cannot ever remember having a discussion with other parents about how many days a teacher missed for PD. Maybe I am just too laid back with my kids but they are turning into wonderful young adults despite having a laid back mom and dad.
     
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