Thursday, January 31, 2008

Resource Redux

The next big crisis (according to the ptb) involves Resource classes in our school. Review: a resource class (at least in our high school) is a 'for credit' class for those students with an IEP, who are struggling in their coursework. The IEP team for each student decides at the annual review of the IEP if a resource class is appropriate. Then, each core class teacher (English, Math, etc) and the resource teacher communicate regarding what assignments the students need to be working on. Good concept, I guess, but here's where it breaks down: 1) the students have not been told about the concept, evidently. They, for the most part, view resource class as a time to do nothing. 2) Even when I email the core class teachers, asking for assignments or suggestions for work for the students, I get no response. 3) This is an assigned 'duty' period, not a class I'm supposed to teach. I'm not supposed to have to prep for it. So, when a student has no work to do, he does no work in resource class.

The ptb are just now realizing that resource classes, across the board, are not working. About a month ago, we got spreadsheets that the resource students were supposed to fill out each day. They were to fill out what assignments for which classes were worked on during resource, how much time the assignments took, whether or not they needed the resource teacher's help, and any anecdotal comments they cared to make. We (resource teachers) were specifically told "Let the students fill these out, this is their responsibility'. These spreadsheets covered 10 school days. Needless to say, the data was crap. One student (not in my class) filled in everyblank with the initials 'BS'. One of my students, after working on a crossword puzzle from his History class, put in the comment section "Easy peasy, lemon squeezy'. Pretty funny stuff. Except...our principal announced to the school board during this 10-day 'data collection' that he was on top of the resource issue, and was, in fact, collecting empirical data about how the program was utilized. The very next day, he collected the spreadsheets. He had a heart attack. A new crisis begins....

So, for the last week, my principal stops me every time he sees me in the hall and says, "I need to talk to you." Never talks to me - just tells me of his need. Finally, on Monday of this week, I see him after school, and he says, "Can we meet during your planning tomorrow?" Sure, I say - I'll be in my room. He gives me a look, and says, "I'll be in my office. Come there during 8th period." Ohhh Kaaay. So I do. Go there during 8th period the next day. He's busy, can't meet with me. Says, 'Go on back to your room. I'll come to you when I'm finished here.' Which is what I suggested IN THE FIRST PLACE. Did I meet with him that day? NO. He never came to my room.

The next day, he informs me he wants to meet with me and several other resource teachers during planning. Now that there are other people involved, we actually get to meet. In the meeting we are given new, revised spreadsheets for the resource students to fill out over the next 10 days. This time, however, we are responsible for the information put on the sheet. We're also told that not working during resource class is no longer an option for the students. If they don't have work to do, we are to find work for them. Good concept. This is where it breaks down: 1) I don't have copies of the relevant textbooks in my classroom. When a student walks in to my resource class with nothing in his hands but air, I don't have the resources to assign him something to do. 2) I don't have copies of the relevant pacing guides. If a teacher does not let me know what they are working on in class, I can't come up with a pertinent assignment. and 3) the students don't get why they should have extra work to do in resource, if they truly are caught up in all their classes.

In any case, starting today, my resource students are put on notice that no work is a no go. They are happy to hear that the ptb and their teachers are looking out for their best interests, and are eager to begin this new chapter in resource class.

1 comment:

Karen said...

If you can't bitch on a blog that you're basically writing to yourself, where can you bitch?