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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Visited by the classroom police

The classroom police visited me the other day. They said my board configuration was off. They said my classroom agenda was missing. The said my rules policies and routines weren’t posted and they said my word wall was non-existent. Then they said Guerrieri get with it! The last part they didn’t say very nicely.

I had several problems with this.

First, the kids don’t need those things above to learn and where is the proof it helps. In this era where data is king, where is the data that tells us having a complicated and time consuming agenda helps with the transfer of knowledge? Where is the evidence that shows that students in a class with a word wall do better on standardized tests than those that don’t? How do we know that massive data notebooks lead to kids going to college? Show me a paper, a book, an article, show me something, show me anything! Sure it might sound good on paper not that one exists but when teachers are just creating these massive volumes to get their principals and A.P.s off their backs it hurts the whole process. Just show me some proof, some evidence that any of this leads to success and I’ll do it. Like most teachers will I’ll go the extra mile for my students if it proves beneficial.

Now you might be saying, suck it up Guerrieri, when you are on the company dime you need to do what they say. The problem with that is that I am not doing it on the company dime; I’m doing it on my own. When I am arranging my room, updating my agenda and spending hours on cramming stuff I’ll never see again into data notebooks, it’s preventing me from doing other things like interacting with my parents, planning and grading papers, you know teacher stuff. What people are failing to understand is that teaching more and more has little to do with actual teaching and more and more with throwing time consuming and half thought out ideas against a wall like it was paint and seeing what sticks.

My second problem with the classroom police visiting my room and telling me to make extensive changes is I don’t have a room. Go ahead and read that again. Yes, that’s right I don’t have a room. I am either teaching or co-teach seven of the eight periods and in doing so I find myself in six different rooms. I am in one room twice, a room that other teachers use as well, well if they would show up that is.

I’ll cram stuff into a data notebook. I’ll also use the lesson plan format even though I only understand about half of it. Then as usual teach my ass off but configure a room, which I am in twice every other day? Really?



  1. Why is it so difficult for an employee to perform his job the way his employer wants him to perform it? If you don't like doing things the way you are paid to do them, then find another job . . . oh, but wait . . . your new boss will probably have guidelines that you'll have to follow as well.

    Do you really expect to be paid a salary for doing whatever you want in any way that you want? Student performance was on a downward slide long before the "classroom police" as you call them ever started coming into your classroom. But I guess that doesn't bother you. Stop whining and do what your employer wants you to do.

  2. We obviously disagree and fair enough but you should know I typicaly work about an hour and a half past the hours I am getting paid for. I don't mind working hard, I don't even mind sacrificing some. Teachers are working harder than ever before but we're not allowed to work smarter.

    Student performance does bother me, but I and my fellow teachers did not decide to gut discipline, put all kids in a one size fits all curriculum, destroy rigor and push kids along without the skills they need to be succesful.

  3. Try being productive while hauling all of you necessary materials from one space to six others. You have no desk, white board, or bulletin board. Do you create one for 7 different rooms??? If Mr. Guerrieri's school is like my with 50+ portables, he is probably roaming far and wide. What if it is storming? He still is required to be on time, ready to teach when the bell rings, and have all the necessary paraphernalia the "police" think is necessary for quality teaching. The only thing REALLY required is a good teacher who has his students' success foremost in his mind.

  4. Ah, so now it seems there are two of you who need to find other employment. Good luck finding a job where the employer will let you do the job any way you want to regardless even if the results of your labor are sub-par.

  5. The answer should not be or dedicated, hard working individuals to leave, the answer should be to make things better. Though lets be honest, the first poster thinks teachers are lazy and nothing will change his/her mind. There solution and snide comments benefit none.

  6. I am Anonymous,the fellow teacher. I actually teach in an elementary school, but I have a teen in high school. I have never read your blog before today, so can I ask...what is up with your hater (anonymous #1)? Too funny, sneaking around just to write those, go get another job, type comments. Really? Cause who else but the people who teach, would put up with the BS? :)

    Anyway, this year will be the first year my school may get visits from the classroom police, yikes! It is crazy that a room you don't really use could possibly be set up wrong! I wonder when it will be realized that all of these "fixes" just make it worse?

  7. I want people to comment and where I would love people to agree with me they don't have to but you are right, let's debate, lets find some middle ground, let come up with some solutions to make education better and anonymous number one is about being snide. I hope your teen has a great year and thanks for the note...