Too many crossed signals

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One of my administrators recently formally criticized me for doing activities not specifically in the whole-group lesson plan. The whole-group lesson plan refers to the plans for the week, supposedly the same for all classes whether they are regular, special education or bilingual classes. We are all supposed to be doing the same thing at the same time. This latest criticism is a perfect example of finding myself yet again in the garbage compactor, watching the walls close in. I find myself defending myself for activities that I have been told were acceptable by other people.

In bilingual group meetings, I was informed that I have about 20 minutes per day for remedial instruction. I use those “extra minutes” to go over diverse skills not specifically found in the whole-group lesson plan, such as vocabulary practice, division, or graph interpretation, for example, depending on student needs and interests. I also rearrange parts of the whole-group plan because the time-allotment will not always work for my students. If I am given 31 minutes to teach a class how to add integers with different signs, using an activity that will take a minimum of 10 minutes, such as making a human number line, I may have to change the plan a bit because we are absolutely for sure going to fall behind schedule. Enough of these 31 minutes blocks and I end up triaging, asking what matters most, what I can slight, and what I can take out entirely so I can somehow catch up. Since my students need to learn almost everything in the plans, this triaging almost never results in my catching up. We can’t drop any topics. Instead, we move on before we are ready. I try to catch students up with tutoring. This works for some students who go to tutoring. Other students who go to tutoring are not catching up, but they are at least making mathematical progress. Students who resist tutoring or who can’t go for transportation reasons… well, they are the truly triaged, the ones we are letting go.

Eduhonesty: Can’t win. Can’t not play. Feeling sick. Being blasted by admin for deviating from the plan last week contributed to or even caused this illness, I think. On my way to tutoring anyway. I love my kids. I love to help them figure out what they are doing. So I will tutor while I am able.

I wish my life felt less out of control, though.