Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An Insider Joke Outed, Part 2

Teachers crack jokes that are other teachers, but we wouldn't want parents to hear them. Here is one of those jokes. Please, please, try not to take this too seriously. It's a joke. Just try to remember that you can only get INSIDER JOKES right here at lostinkids.

The fourth and fifth grade staff at my school were in a meeting discussing placement of next year's fifth graders with teachers. Placement is a sensitive and important issue. Which teacher would be best for each student? A good question, right? All of you parents want to hand pick your child's teacher, but there is a tragic consequence of such a policy. One of the many problems is you will chase away many of the male teachers. I was at a school where parents could pick their teacher. If you read some of my previous blogs, you will remember that I left that school. Here's one of the reasons why. All single mothers with a troubled son wanted their child in my class because I was a male teacher. I also developed a reputation for being strict, despite the fact that there were female teachers AT EACH GRADE LEVEL that all the teachers agreed were more stern than I was. A male sternness is different, and I had been typecast. That means every year I received the toughest, most troubled kids, especially boys. One year I did not have a single, traditional family containing a father, mother, and children in my class. All the students in my class were being raised by grandmothers or single moms, yet this wasn't typical of the school community. It was typical of who I was expected to teach. I also taught very few girls. "My child needs a male father figure" was a mantra that caused me consternation, and many female teachers would say to me, "I'm sure glad I don't have that boy in my class." I'd reply, "He fits right in with all the other troubled kids." All staff members agreed with me that I was getting tough classes evry year, but that was the system.

I transferred to another school in a much nicer community. Not only was this community more stable and supportive, the staff and administration did not let parents choose the teacher for their child. The parents were, however, given a survey to fill out and suggestions could be taken from the surveys to accomodate their child's wants and needs. No specific teacher could be requested, but suggestions could be made. However, does anyone out there realize the immense job it would take to read over 745 surveys that would be carefully scrutinized and used as placement? It is an almost impossible task. Remember, every second grade teacher would have to read every first grade student survey, and there are 140 surveys.

So this year, the fourth and fifth grade teachers took it upon themselves to discuss the possibility of advising the administration of dropping the idea of the survey. It was a waste of time for the parents because actually using them to place students with next year's teacher was a formidable and daunting task that could take several weeks of the summer to properly accomplish. In the middle of this discussion, one of the other teachers whose name will be kept anonymous said, "I think we should keep the survey. It serves an important purpose for our school community. It gives the parents a false sense of input."

I roared with laughter, and that pretty much ended our idea of eliminating the survey. I bet there isn't a single parent out there that laughed.

Maybe the Supreme Court said the same thing after the 2000 election. "Let's keep the voting system intact. It gives the voters a false sense of input." Is that funnier? Probably not.


Jack said...

I was thinking that you should keep the surveys because taking it away would make the parents feel like they had no input, but then that turned out to be the punch line, almost. So seriously, you should tell the parents that it is overwhelming to make use of such long surveys, and shorten them. Then, you aren't wasting as much of their time or paper, and they still have a false sense of input.

Laura said...

Having been in Human Resources for a few years, I have to say that I have never felt that any survey, in any industry, has ever served any purpose other than to give the group answering the survey a false sense of input.