Discussion in 'High School' started by Brendan, Feb 9, 2008.
Feb 9, 2008
What rules does your department head/entire department set (both unoffical and offical).
We are a very small department with a very, very laid back department head. I actually do more on my own than my department requires. We are supposed to collaborate once a month but it really is a joke. For myself, I have aligned all my units to state standards and created a curcirrulum map for each subject area I teach, have essential questions for each unit, and teach the only AP course offered in our department. We are adopting new textbooks this year and my department is moaning and groaning about changing the chapter numbers on old lessons. I mentioned to them that my units are planned around the standards and not tied to chapters in a book. They looked so puzzled, I didn't even try to explain. Sorry for the long post that doesn't really answer your question, but this topic hits a nerve with me. A department head, that gets paid extra, that does nothing
Our DC doesn't really have any rules for us, and he's not our supervisor or superior. He's more of a facilitator and views his role as that of a liaison between us and the administration.
With that having been said, we make all supply requests through him. We also request the credit card through him when we need to make big purchases or pay for a conference or something. He handles all aspects of our budget, and typically he just divides the department budget evenly by the number of teachers in the department (6). He asks that we bring all potentially problematic issues to him first so that he can attempt to resolve the matter "in house" before bringing to the administration.
My department head is a dictator. We are not allowed to breathe without her permission. She is also a very close friend of mine. I would have never thought she would be like this with a little bit of power. She says who can collaborate with who and what should be happening in our classes. The only good thing is that we only have 1 more year of her because they switch department heads every 2 years to keep things fresh.
Feb 10, 2008
Setting the limit between dictator and fellow teacher is very hard becuase as a department head you really are the supervisor of the teachers in your department. I am responsible for their actions in regards to curriculm and teaching. I also have to evaluate each and every one of the Middle School and High School teachers with a full class load. Not to mention basically do all the work for the Elementary School teachers and plan. (I also get to listen to the what you didn't order the textbook tests?")
We do not change the department head unless one retires department chairs are appointed by the to the position by the supt. as we are responsible for not only handling the social studies curriculm in the High School, but Middle School and Elementary School often. Do you know how hard it is to get Elementary School teachers to move away from the textbook in my district? I also serve as the liason between the admin., SPED department, all other departments, other schools, etc. Oh ya and the budget--fun, fun. Is it really worth the extra 10 grand?
The rules I have made so far:
1. Submit a weekly lesson plan to me by Monday morning just so that I will have an idea of what you are doing in class. Please also hand this out to your students, omitting pop quizzes and the like.
2. Please remember to sign out all shared materials from the Social Studies office.
3. At no time, are text book made quizzes and tests to be used for assesment purposes. (MY PERSONAL PET PEEVE)
*Each teacher makes their own quizzes/tests, however all other materials may (should) be shared.
4. Department meetings will be held every 2 weeks.
5. Teachers teaching the same course(s) will meet every 2 weeks at a minimum to collaberate and insure their classes are of equal difficulty, curriculm, etc.
6. Courses must be taught from more than one textbook and be supplemented heavily. None of our texts even cover half of our curriculm, we therfore must supplement heavily.
7. Final Exams will be made by the individual instructor not by the department as our course content may vary by instructor.
8. All Honors 9 classes must complete at least 2-3 major essays per term.
9. All Honors 10 classes must complete a substantial (6-10 page) research paper. This grade must count as 2-3 test grades.
10. Note cards may not be used on regular announced objective question exams. The use of notecards on ESSAY tests is up to the teacher's discretion.
11. At the beginning of each semester each teacher musts submit their course syllabus and expectations to me for approval.
12. Course websites and grades must be updated weekly.
13. The Use of a notecard is permitted on all CP History class final exams.
14. The Use of a notecard is permitted on the Essay portion ONLY of Honors/AP final exams (if applicable).
15. IEP, Sports, and other progress reports are due in my mail box every FRIDAY by 2:00.
16. Any assignment, test, or quiz that is taken for an accuracy based grade MUST be graded by the teacher and/or aide. Student's are not allowed to graded accuracy-based assignments, tests, or quizzes.
I think that is it, but one great thing we are doing as a department for each course is assembling a huge binder filled of handouts, worksheets, ideas, old quizzes, tests, readings, projects, etc. for each unit of each course. EVERY teacher contributes and every teacher is welcome to use the binders.
Tests and qizzes
Just curious: Do you not permit ANY part of textbook tests to be used or do you just mean as the sole method for assessing? I use the primary source and graph reading sections, I use the majority of the multiple choice section and add my own based on objectives not covered in the book but taught. I write my own essay questions connecting them to the CDVs and my own essential questions. Our tests are on a CD that allows editing. I would never use just the textbook made tests, but I also see no point in reinventing the entire wheel if a portion of it is still good.
I am in strong agreement with your #6 and 16. Those should be rules for every class taught (MY pet peeves :haha: )
As for the rest, I am my whole department, so my "rules" are what I consider to be common sense.
PS: Are you the district department head? If so, do your ele teachers teach SS daily? Is SS one of the state assessments?
Yipes thats alot of rules! (good rules though) I teach on Long Island and my boss is a little more laid back. Each teacher is a little more independent (for good or bad). We meet once a month and discuss any issues and there is a research paper requirement but thats about it. My director doesnt teach any classes but isnt quite adminstrationized yet so we will see how much that changes in the future!
That sounds like a lot of work, Brendan! It sounds to me like your role is more like that of a supervising administrator rather than a DC. Our DCs out here don't handle our curriculum, make observations or evaluations, or have anything to do with IEPs and progress reports. As I said earlier, they pretty much just handle the budget and advise us when we need it. Our DCs don't even get paid any extra money! But they do get an extra prep period....
Do you teach in a small or private district? How many teachers are under you? I can't imagine handling that sort of workload for even as many as two or three teachers.
Most of our department rules for ELA are district made:
1. Give the reading assessment on time and submit the results, than analyze the data with our collaboration groups.
2. Follow the portfolio requirements (that pretty much writes the classroom curriculum for us).
And then a lot of them are school requirements:
1. Meet once a month as a department.
2. Meet once a week with your collaboration group.
3. Observe two classrooms a month, one in your department.
And then some we made:
1. Late penalty for work is always 20% off the first week and 50% off after that.
2. Unexcused absent students automatically get 50% off all work missed.
That's all I can think of at this point.
Brenden, I'm curious... did you create the rules (and if so, what role did the other teachers have in assisting you), or did your principal? Are the rules the same in the other academic areas?
The rules were created by the entire department and vary GREATLY from department to department.
For tests/quizzes I do not mind if teachers use part of a textbook made test/quiz but not all of it.
We as a department use very much supplementation and our text just goes over the basics so I guess the textbook made questions could be used as basic questions.
To be honest though I know that all the HS and most the MS teachers don't even use the book tests as a guide or a source. All of the teachers create their own tests/quizzes. We use so many sources to teach and our primary textbook may be one of the lowest used sources during a paticular unit, so often it wouldn't make too much sense to do it that way. Our classes also rely heavily on notes, primary sources, teacher made readings, websites, and other texts. Wig: Our textbook made tests do not have graph or primary source documents I wish they did.
Personally, I use the textbook test generator and provided tests as a guide and use some of their questions. Sorry I should of been more specific on that one.
I guess you could say I am the district department head as I collaberate with all Social Studies teachers 1-12. We have a medium sized district with a 1500 kid HS, 1 1200 kid MS, 1 1200 kid k-2 school and 1 1200 kid 3-5 school. I wouldn't really consider the Elementary school teachers under me because I do not do their evaluations and only work with them in the area of planning and on certain social studies commitees. Counting the MS/HS teachers I have 30 teachers under my supervison, who I have to mentor, assit, and evaluate at least twice per year. (More for beginning teachers). Yes, it is alot of work, but to be honest I have given up on the Elem. school teachers and just let them do their own thing as they don't like any of my suggestions.