19 August 2010

The Most Ridiculous Thing I Have Been Asked to do as a Teacher

In my 9 years in the classroom, I have been asked to do many ridiculous things. I have been asked to change a grade for a student, because the principal had promised the parent that the child wouldn't fail. (nevermind that the student couldn't read). I have been asked to show up at 5:45 AM for parent meetings, to stay until 9pm for parent meetings.

I have been asked to make the College Board exam "more fair". I have been begged to take late work. I have been cried at, screamed at, pouted at, and had trash-cans thrown at me. (ok, technically I've only ever had one trash can thrown at me, but that's a story for another day). I've had principals I like get fired, and ones I hated kept around.

Long story short(ish); this job is full of humiliation, and so, for me to title something The Most Ridiculous Thing I have ever been asked to do as a Teacher, it must be pretty bad.

You won't think that it is. You'll think that I'm over-reacting. You'll say, "that seems like a decent idea" or "why are you wasting the valuable real-estate of the internets with this drivel?".

So what if I am? This is a decision, made by some joker who makes 3 times my salary, who has probably never worked in a classroom, let alone taught in one. So naturally, the district has put him in charge of school security. And he has instituted an epically stupid idea. Epic like Gone with the Wind, not epic like The Odyessy.

And frankly, my reader, I give a damn.

Here's what I'm so upset about

I know this seems like an innocous little magent. Here's how the "security guy" thinks I should use the magnet:

1. Lock my door at all times

2. Put the magnet over the latch on the door

3. Now, the door is locked, but people can enter and exit as though the door were unlocked.

4. In case of emergency, as you can see on the magnet, remove the magnet, and the door can re-shut and be locked, no keys needed!

Let me address the problems one by one:

1. But what if I don't want my door locked? Or better yet, what if I do? With the magnet in place, I can't actually shut my door and have it locked.

2. When the magnet is over the latch, my door doesn't stay shut. Neither does my next door neighbor's, or her neighbor's. This would be great, if all classrooms were silent little cloisters. They aren't. So now, it's like the world's rudest movie theater, all of the time. That seems like a good plan

3. Since the door doesn't latch, people enter and exit as though the door were unlocked. Even people I don't want entering, since my door is constantly open.

4. In case of emergency, I now have to open my door, take the magnet off and then reclose the door. Do you know what I did before the magnet? I locked the door from the inside. Now, I open the door, to the place where all of that danger is, remove the magnet, and shut the door. I think I just got less safe by writing about it.

I'm not even going to talk about how ridiculous it is that these things are prime material for stealing, how they don't work on science, art, band or choir doors. I'm not going to talk about how they're district branded, or how there was no room for negotiation when any of these things were pointed out.

I'm just going to say that being told to use this magnet, and being told to do it without question, is The Most Ridiculous thing I have been asked to do as a Teacher.

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