Fordham U and Me
Last night I was honored to be included in a panel at Fordham University discussing mostly the welfare of our students. There was great discussion from both the panelists and the audience. In retrospect, it probably would've been smarter to write about this before it happened so more people would know about it. But better late than never.
I had an interesting experience in listening to a Leadership Academy Principal who seemed passionate and sensible. He started to talk about how the system was designed for adults rather than children. I was thinking about disagreeing when he gave examples that kind of turned my head around. He said his teachers had a lot of trouble parking and it affected their jobs because they had to focus on nonsense rather than what they needed to do. It was the first time I heard that line used with explanations that actually supported working teachers.
A man in the audience complained that teachers used to call him when necessary, but now they called him all the time for no reason at all. Several of us on the panel were able to explain that teachers were now required to do parental contact, and that it was entirely possible they were sitting around on Tuesday Teacher Torture forced to make calls whether they were needed or not.
There were several questions about what we could do to change the system. Moderator Mark Naison made a plea for being crazy, and actually asked the students who the craziest teacher they knew was. I was struck by this, because I always pride myself on being the craziest teacher my students know. But I also believed that being crazy was a great motivating factor. It's what's helped me to help my school in a number of ways. You also have to be crazy to run for chapter leader. You have to be crazy to oppose the Unity Caucus. You have to be crazy to love your job no matter what the geniuses in Tweed, Albany, and DC toss at you.
There was also a lot of talk about overcoming fear and perhaps placing your job at risk. I don't know exactly when I stopped being afraid. When I first started this blog it was anonymous. I later started writing elsewhere under my real name. At some point I realized it didn't really make any difference. Maybe it was the day my principal walked up to NYC Educator: Fordham U and Me: