Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A New School Day?

Changing Our Schools to Meet the Needs of Today’s Kids...

I feel that we could make some big changes to today’s schools:

1. We need to incorporate PD into the regular day/week. It NEEDS to be scheduled. Some teachers may want to read journals. Some teachers may want to blog. Some teachers may want to work on the University classes. Some teachers may want to work with math manipulatives, or plan a unit of team teaching. This PD needs to have a point or a personally created portfolio – something for accountability, as long as the teacher has input into this.

2. Teachers/administrators need to leave their work at work in order to maintain healthy lives. This could mean an 8:00-5:30 or 7:30 – 5:00 work day. Perhaps there should be one or two evenings scheduled for two hours. Weekends are for self and family. I feel that this is important for health and longevity. Change and initiatives do not usually come from overworked and tired staff.

3. Students could be at school from 7:30 to 9:00 and 3:30 – 5:30 if they or their parents need them to be. This is crucial. Kids need our support. We can schedule this into the work day. For example: The average teacher would teach 4 hours/day, prep and correct for one, lunch and breaks – one hour, PD for one hour, supervision/extra curr – 2 hours. This extra curricular might include supervising kids in the gym, lab, resource, tutoring, playing games, talking, counseling…Our day needs to support our kids. Today’s kids are on their own and this is often for hours before and after school and lunch hour. Why can’t they be at school, just like they are at home. Have a large common TV/computer/games room – multifunctional room. Provide breakfast and snacks… Let’s face it – much of the best times at school for teachers and kids are all of those informal times.. These kids with two working parents, single parents… they need us.

4. Let’s invite parents to have a cup a coffee when they get off of work when they come to pick up their kids. Kids ages 14 and up could come and go, and perhaps kids ages 11-14 could too, with parental permission and/or guidelines. We (staff and parents) could create this outline together. Maybe this is happening.... Let me know...

Any thoughts?

2 comments:

Shareski said...

In general no doubt our schools need some major overhauls. I like many of your suggestions. The one I may question in practice is #2. Not that I don't think balance is important but one of the beauties of technology is its ability for us to be flexible with our time. For students especially. Part of the push towards distance education is the flexibility it affords students. Students with extra curricular commitments are able to postpone work when it's convenient. Teachers need to do the same.

Certainly much of what you describe represents a learning environment that promotes relevant learning. Your idea about parent interaction is interesting. I see the use of blogs as one way parents are being included in their students learning. Certainly the opportunity to engage in face to face discussions outside the formal interview process would be great as well.

Job embedded PD is critical. This is something different than prep time. We need to provide the time and possibly the structure to allow teachers to learn. Teachers need to be learners first.

So the question is, who has the will to make these changes? I would encourage you to pursue these changes

C Hiltz said...

Dean,

I agree that teachers need the same flexibility as students, but many workaholics need to be "strongly encouraged" to try to separate work and home. (I'm thinking of myself and those who post at 2:00 am). Perhaps this strong suggestion of boundaries could keep our professionals vital and excited about learning, or did some just learn to love learning somewhere along the way?