Thursday, November 17, 2005

Inflammatory Answers to Your Burning Questions

1. When do we get our retroactive money?

I don't know, but if I worked in the DOE, I would time those checks to fall just before the holidays. Makes good political sense.

2. How is your school going to use the 37.5 minutes in February?

We haven't figured this out yet. I am in the process of putting together a proposal to pilot Schoolwide Enrichment Model "Enrichment Clusters" during that time after the tests are over. I suspect that before the tests we will probably do targeted test prep. I'll share my proposal here when I work it out - hopefully by the end of the weekend.

3. Can you teach your students how to graph the dependent and independent variables and what makes them dependent and independent?

I introduced variables to the sixth graders in September, and we've been graphing distance and time for the last week or so, looking at how the shape of a graph can tell us something about a person's speed and acceleration. So, I'm doing my best. I've found in the past that the meaning of those variables is something some kids get right away and others struggle with, but if we keep going over it, their little brains eventually mature and they suddenly understand completely. Piaget should have included variables in his work....

4. My high school has an opening for a full-time Living Environment teacher, know anybody interested?

Believe me, if I knew any unemployed Science teachers, I'd have hired 'em by now. We still have a vacancy, don't forget!

5. How did you vote?

That question will have to continue to burn. But in the end, I was still on the fence, and had to make a decision. I think the contract is a mix of good & bad. I wasn't ever an advocate of one position or the other; if I had been, you'd have read about it here.

6. Is there anything good that comes out of the DOE?

I'm not sure this question was asked in the spirit of really wanting an answer, but I'll take a stab at it.

Most of the changes that have happened since Klein & Bloomberg came in have actually been good for my particular school. Of course, I realize this is not a popular statement and not true in many, many other schools, and in no way do I mean to dismiss the astounding disrespect shown to teachers in many, many schools. Nevertheless, in my Region, two former districts were fused toether. By and large, people who were doing a good job (ie, making smart decisions, keeping the big picture in mind, facilitating rather than standing in the way) kept their jobs or were promoted, and most of the people who were micromanaging or always seemed "out to get you" were demoted. Can't argue with that.

I'm extremely frustrated by certain things right now, and angrier than I've been in a long time, but I don't think that every policy coming out of the DOE is bad. I think many (most?) of the policies are very poorly implemented, and that's why my answer to the next question, "Would your school change for the better or worse if all the educrat positions did not exist?" is probably for the better. They could cut some layers of middle management and empower teachers and schools to figure out the best ways to implement reforms, and it might make a positive difference. But teachers would have to be willing to take on very different roles within their schools. There would be no one else to blame, and a lot more personal responsibility for the functioning of the whole school, not just one's own classroom.

7. Do these educrats really think their jobs matter or are they just playing the part for a nice six figure salary?
Call me naive, but I think most people think their jobs matter, and most people think they are doing the right thing. Especially in education. How else do you live with yourself?

8. Three questions about the universe: The universe is, by definition, all the energy and matter and time and space that exists, right? So, if the universe is expanding, what is it expanding INTO? How do they know the universe is expanding? Perhaps it's staying the same size and everything inside it is getting smaller. How would they know the difference?

Okay, so the question about what the universe is expanding into.... well. That's one of the more mind-boggling ones. I don't really "get it" myself, but I think the idea is that outside of the universe, the idea of space doesn't exist, so there doesn't need to be anything for the universe to expand into. Sort of like the idea of time didn't exist before the Big Bang... Someone a bit better at advanced physics might be able to do this one justice... Anyway, apparently the string theorists are proposing that there are way more than 4 dimensions, perhaps more than a dozen, some of them "curled up" - and if you can wrap your mind around that, you're doing better than I am! I've been wondering whether string theorists really believe this stuff they come up with. I mean, it's fascinating, the math works out, it explains some stuff that we see and maybe predicts some other stuff, all very good science, but when they go to bed at night, just before they are falling asleep, do they feel in their guts that there are 13 dimensions? That's my burning question.

9. And what's the point of those funny looking letters I have to type in to post on these logs?

Comment-spam protection. Otherwise the comments would be full of non-sequiturs inviting you to visit gambling sites and the like. Sorry.

10. Are you hot?

Nani thinks so! And hopefully not too many pre-adolescent boys.... LOL

11. If you could say anything to the dean of the school of ed at a Research One, top 10, serious school of ed, what would you say?

Let me think about this one for a little while, and I'll get back to you.

4 Comments:

Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I'm glad you got a new contract :)

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to answer the burning questions.

It lifts my spirits to know that there are good people and especially good teachers still around!

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was fun!

5:28 PM  
Blogger Jules the Crazy said...

very cool, great job! :)

this reminds me of the UW main library: there was a wall--i don't remember what the 'name' of it was--and it was a place to ask questions. there were forms and a box and you could ask any kind of question you could think of. and some of the librarians researched and posted the question and answers on the board. it changed weekly. i used to love coming in and just reading all the questions and answers.

there were science questions and logic questions and "what is life" questions and even questions about trivia tests or email forwards. seriously, everything. quite awesome and entertaining AND educational!

someone (not you obviously; your plate is full enough!) should start a wiki or something called burning questions and do this all the time.

10:46 PM  

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