Noticings and Wonderings from the Fringe
It appears that central administration groups have been coaching administrators to use a certain language of nebulous buzz-phrases in their interactions with teachers. Maybe such language was adopted to soften the perception of criticism. I decided to ironically borrow the touchy-feely language in vogue with many districts to pose some of my own noticings and wonderings. I speak, of course, more specifically with regards to urban districts. The ‘you’ I am speaking to is more likely an admin type, but, hey, if the shoe fits feel free to walk in it a bit.
- I notice that when I write “noticings” and “wonderings” that the spell check goes on alert. I wonder why a school district would so enthusiastically adopt words that might not really exist in the dictionary, yet.
- I noticed there is an inverse relationship between a person’s salary and said person’s direct contact with students. What can you tell me about that?
- I notice that the system is broken and the same types are in charge as usual. I’m wondering why aren’t we fixing it from the top down just like all the other dumb decisions you make?
- I notice that the people who are most likely to engage in noisy self-portrayal as desperately wanting to help narrow the achievement gap (read: help the poor kids of color) are least likely to have any direct contact with poor neighborhoods and, more importantly the residents of said neighborhoods. I’m wondering who appointed them spokespeople.
- I am wondering what you understand about the differences between socioeconomic groups. Are administrators aware that they might do well to understand and appreciate some of those differences before they impose their shining visions on the huddled masses yearning to be free? I am noticing that more often than not, they don’t.
- I notice that you seem to be from a privileged background. I wonder, do you have any genuine personal relationships with people who are struggling to make ends meet? Do they come from a different cultural or ethnic background than yours? Are any of them laborers or recipients of federal aid?
- I am noticing that districts frequently play the shell games of closing or revamping low-scoring schools. I wonder how many experienced, skilled teachers are typically hired to replace the ones who have been displaced?
- I am noticing that I, and a number of my colleagues have had our personal items stolen or damaged and that we have, on occasion, been menaced on some level by family members or residents of the community. I also notice that there is hazard pay for certain other workers. I wonder why teachers don’t qualify for that type of pay when we choose to work in certain neighborhoods.
- I notice there are schools with grave environmental woes, such as leaky ceilings and vermin skittering around. I wonder, where exactly does all the money go? How many people are on payroll that really don’t perform essential functions? How many of them make more than I do? How much more? Do they have to worry about rising insurance costs too?
- I notice that I refused to vote for Colorado State Senate District 33’s author of SB 191 Mike Johnston and did not wish to vote for the Republican candidate either. I wonder, why was there a write in option for that sole category? Who should I have written in?
Since I’m on a local politics tangent, for a laugh, and perhaps some more wonderings about the political process, look up Initiated Ordinance 300 for the City and County of Denver. Oh, nah, let me link it here.
- I notice that I have deemed it more prudent to disguise my identity in the context of speaking up here. I wonder, why, given the presumption of freedom of expression that we like to associate with democracy, that should be a concern.