Thursday, August 16, 2007

Teacher Talk

Being at training all week has been OK. It's been fun to sit and gossip with some of my favorite coworkers. And we're all getting paid our hourly wage, which is super fantastic. I even have a brand new laptop computer, thanks to Bill and Melinda Gates and their 25 million dollar contribution to CPS.

We spent a lot of time looking at the website for The Champion Foundation, You can search for the salaries of any school teacher in the state. We now know how much our principal makes, all our coworkers, and various and sundry administrative staff. Many people make way more than we do -- there are two idiots in our department who make WAY more than we do. Life's not fair.

We've been training for High School Transformation, which is CPS's new plan for improving our high schools. That $25 million is going to "transform" low performing schools and create high school graduates who are on grade level and are prepared for college level work. That's the idea, anyway.

I have to say, so far the curriculum seems interesting. It's not as scripted as I was afraid it would be. Our school had the program last year, too, so I've been working with teachers who taught this last year. There is some concern that our kids will still not be able to do everything the curriculum wants them to -- we'll have to do a lot of modeling. And the pacing is a concern -- they expect freshmen to read the novel Speak in fifteen days. My juniors last year didn't read any novels at all, so low-performing freshmen reading a novel in fifteen days seems extremely unlikely. But we'll see how it goes.

The best part is we get classroom libraries -- with tons of books, laptops, mobile laptop labs, overhead projectors, LCD projectors. Stuff I've never had access to before. So I'm willing to try anything -- Bill Gates, I'm on board!

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