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School and Culture

First off, Happy St. Patrick's Day.... a day for some to pretend they're Irish, wear cheesy green, and get really drunk. Not my thing even though I am a good portion Irish. My job at the school is going well. I had my annual review last Wednesday and it went well enough. Janet told me it was a bit tough reviewing my work as I had only been on the job since November, and she doesn't see me most of the time. But from what she's heard of me from others that do, she liked and was able to give me a Basic+ rating, almost a Proficient. Not too shabby as I probably would have given myself the same thing. Coming from a corporate setting it has taken me some time to get adjusted to a school setting and how things are done. For yes, it is different.I have not been in a high school setting since 1988, and charter schools are different than most regular schools to begin with. With that in mind I have found schools or at least the students to have changed in the past twenty years. Not really for the better I must admit. The kids come across a bit more punkish than they were in '88. They have less respect, less class, just less courtesy. Oh I am sure this does not hold for all kids today but I will say a good 75% of the student population. Bullying seems more prevalent than it used to be. True we had bullies back when I went to school but they were also handled differently. At some point the bully was stood up to and fought. You can no longer do that for the bully's parents may just file a lawsuit, for what parent believes their "little Jonny/Mary" is a bully? So with that in mind they are treated and punished differently in school. Learning is also different in schools. They are allowed calculators in their Math classes, something I was never able to do. They are allowed to use them on their SATs, something I would have loved as I suck at Math. Teaching now has been geared towards results on testing and nothing really else. So, the teacher is restricted in what he or she can teach and how things are taught. I will admit that I have found charter schools to be a little different in these areas. The school I work at is not restricted by the state curriculum. We still have to give out the MCAS (state testing) however the teachers can prepare the students differently, and can also teach off different books and such. I do like the idea of charter schools. They are non-union and with this the teachers are held accountable to I think a higher degree, for they can not fall back on a Union to help keep their job if they are lacking in performance. From what I understand charter schools are created in cities, larger towns, and are geared towards helping those in poorer districts. I'll have to ask as I'm not sure if they would be available in smaller towns like mine. However it seems their district/reach is larger for kids from surrounding towns are welcome. They are much smaller than regional high schools or big city schools. My school is allowed only three hundred and sixty students from grades 7-12. Right now we have about 340. The students at my school also come from other schools because of numerous reasons... some were bullied, some have discipline problems, some perhaps came because their parents like the thought of smaller classes and a more "hands on" approach the students are given. I have found that two female students have kids and this is generally accepted. Something that was not done back in '88. Heck, I find the students today to be a bit more sexually active today. Not something I really like. Talking to the nurse one day I found that we are one of the few schools in MA that does not hand out condoms. I have found cliques surviving in school, but with the smaller population I find the students somewhat forced to befriend others of differing personalities. True, at lunch they sit apart, forming their own tables. You can see them, the "cool kids" the geeks, the one girl sort of sliding from table table looking for acceptance and popularity. I have found some of the kids to be more punkish than they used to be, perhaps in accordance with lack of discipline found in today's thinking. I have found them to be coddled more, less punishment for doing wrong. There is no afternoon afternoon detention at the school, and I think generally students are less disciplined than what their was. I think this partly stems from parents being too lenient on kids. I have seen some students, especially from this sentiment, who are truly looking to learn. From what I have seen at this school, is that the teachers come here truly looking to teach. I'm sorry but I don't think this is the case in most regular schools. I'm not sure if some teachers have just become lazy, uncaring, or beaten down, maybe a combination. The schools have a tight budget, something the public always rails about, yet when offered to help by raising taxes, well that all flies out the window. Well, I think that is enough from me today...

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