Prologue: I promise to make the posts shorter. I promise to make the posts shorter. I promise to make the posts shorter.
Observation #1: When a blogpost starts with “Prologue” it’s probably going to be way too long.
Finishing up on yesterday’s point about the number of school days spent testing, a commenter beat me to the punch line. I mentioned that between the infamous SBA tests and the under-the-radar A2L testing, and the totally invisible NAEP kids lose about 12/13 days of classtime. In a 180-day school year that might not seem like too much (okay, it already sounds like too much), but, as the anonymous commenter noted
“Sounds like one almost one day out of 10; especially when you take into account all of the non-test related interruptions…”
So yesterday, the first day of school, while trying to get a read on my new students and struggling to get my throat back into “teacher voice” mode the back part of my brain tried to list as many “wasted days” of a school year as possible. You know, those events that tend to decimate the learning process and remind us teachers that we’re really only here for the babysitting when it comes down to it.
Observation #2: Some items on the following list are truly important education opportunities and are worth missing math class for…others, not so much.
Wasted Days List
- “We have this speaker coming to talk about the Holocaust and he’s really good and can your students attend his presentation in the Library,because he’s good and this is really important. Huh, can they, huh?”
- “Teachers, there will be a surprise fire drill 3rd Period. Remember…a surprise, totally unexpected fire drill later today during 3rd Period.”
- “Look, it’s snowing outside! Wow, it’s snowing! Hey, Mister, Miss…can we go outside and play in the snow, can we, huh?”
- “An important announcement: Teachers and students, today we will have an extended Zero Hour assembly featuring the “Don’t Do Drugs Because They’re Bad And We Will Do Magic Tricks For You As Long As You Promise to Never Do Drugs” Magic and Mime Troupe of Silver City. This should be really exciting. Students will be able to make ‘I Won’t Do Drugs Ever’ pledges at booths set up in the Big Gym and will receive a free pencil for making such a pledge.” (btw, this one also includes “Promise Never To Have Premarital Sex” at Catholic schools, as I understand it.)
- Attention: 8th Grade Students, you’re invited to a special assembly in the cafeteria. Folks from Albuquerque High’s athletic programs and ROTC will be on-hand to answer questions on trying out for the AHS football team, the “Bulldoggies” cheerleading squad and, uh, the military. So, if you’d like to throw a football, dance suggestively in a creepy outfit in front of people during breaks in a basketball game, or hold a fake rifle while walking in fascistic pattens through the school portables, please attend this very special assembly.”
- The first week of school…which is pretty much a waste because it’s the first week and, on top of the general chaos of opening a school year, roughly 1.25 million schedule changes will occur moving students in and out of your class to the point that you stop bothering to take attendance or assigning work of any kind.
- The last week of school…because it’s the last week of school.
- Speaking of the last week…there’s not only “Going to Cliff’s Amusment Park Educational Field-Trip Day”, there’s long, long, long announcements about who is eligible and ineligible to go to Cliff’s and why and how we have to behave on this very, very educational field trip…blah, blah, blah.
- “Students, as you know we are on an Abbreviated Day Schedule today because there were a few snow flurries up in the Northeast Heights and the District freaked out and put us on a two-hour delay. Yes, I know it’s currently 48 degrees and sunny. People are sunbathing on the roof of the school…but we are on an abbreviated day.
Okay, that’s a decent start, I guess. If anyone wants to chime in with other “wasted days” causes, feel free to comment below.