A Phillie Teacher

I was a starry-eyed teacher from New Jersey. Now I work for Philadelphia Public Schools.

Archive for October, 2010

blogging = visiting a confessional

Posted by aphillieteacher on October 19, 2010

It’s quiet while we bloggers post an entry. We murmur our little worries or triumphs to unseen audiences; sometimes we get replies, sometimes we’re left to make sense of everything by ourselves.
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One of our deans got socked in the mouth this morning. I didn’t find out who did it, but I heard the girl was taken to the police station in handcuffs.

Later in the day I called for a security guard because the emotionally disturbed girl (mainstreaming) in my class was upset that I asked her to stop talking. “Dickhead. Who you think you’re talkin’ to?” yadda yadda, angrier and angrier. This girl attacked a security guard last year. Not that I was warned: I found out through the grapevine.

I called, but no help came. Our school is listed as “persistently dangerous,” but when a teacher calls for help, no one shows up. Our union rep says he’ll speak to the principal, but he’s known as our building do-nothing.

The dean who got punched is one of the most calm, competent people in the building but even she isn’t safe. I thought I was finished crying about having to work in Philadelphia but I guess not. You have no idea how alone I feel.

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Posted in Education, Philadelphia Schools | 6 Comments »

No News is Good News

Posted by aphillieteacher on October 16, 2010

I can’t lose my job. Not with this economy, not with my mortgage. Not from any perspective.

But I have no idea what my administrators think of my job performance. Any feedback our teachers get is negative so we begin wondering if there’s any good stuff here at all.

I recently got feedback from our Vice Principal after she came through my classroom a few weeks ago. I got feedback in the form of a checklist. Every category indicated “meets standards” except for one: “Student work displayed” Here she scribbled “No evidence.” Nothing else. Nothing about the lesson, if the kids were engaged. Just “No evidence.”

No evidence??? she was standing with her back to a gigantic board covered with colorful student art depicting Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” plus some essays my seniors had written.

Now I am in constant pursuit of the woman to change what she wrote. I managed to get her to come back to the classroom to look at my bulletin board, but what guarantee do I have that she will change what’s written in my file?

Does anyone notice the things that I do that are good?

The “No News is Good News” formula doesn’t work well for me.

Posted in Education, Philadelphia Schools | 4 Comments »

Off her meds

Posted by aphillieteacher on October 7, 2010


I had a student in class today who’s been off her medication for the past 6 weeks (Mom? Mom? are you in touch with your child . . oh! you let her move in with her cousin! I see)

she was always difficult to say the least. Today, I was ready to quit. I was FURIOUS at the way she treated me/acted, how the weak students of the class joined in, how the quiet, real students just stood by and let it happen.

How dare people send their kids to school when they aren’t fit to cope?¬† or let others learn?

On top of that, our security police would not come to the classroom. I called THREE times for help. The non-medicated student laughed and said “See, nobody’s gonna come, bitch.” and she laughed.

Gee what fun to work here. No support from parent, from police, from administration, from anybody.

they do not pay me enough

Posted in Philadelphia Schools | 5 Comments »

Mr. Danza, Teacher

Posted by aphillieteacher on October 4, 2010

If you haven’t heard, Tony Danza taught for one year here at Philadelphia’s Northeast High.

I don’t have cable television, but I do have hulu.com. Here’s a clip. You *gotta* see this program. I think it’s going to be the real deal (I especially relate to his inner conflict when he tells the camera “I don’t know if I can do this.”

Posted in Philadelphia Schools | 2 Comments »

But what do the parents want?

Posted by aphillieteacher on October 3, 2010

Teachers certainly live in interesting times. We stand squarely in the center of a gigantic controversy: public education.

Many of us will see the movie Waiting for Superman and read commentaries discussing the merits or fallacies presented there.

But in spite of all the media hoopla, what do the parents want?

Recently Washington DC mayor Adrian Fenty lost his re-election, which also meant that Education Chancellor Michelle Rhee, one of the “stars” of Waiting for Superman was out of a job as well.

Fenty and Rhee had trouble digesting the idea that parents weren’t happy with the way they were handling the DC school system. They blamed the teacher’s union for staging a campaign to oust the pair.

Once again, they were not listening to the parents – to the real constituents in educational matters – which is why they are out of a job.

Education Week has a *wonderful* discussion about¬† corporate and high government’s push for charter schools, and the public responses to that push.

Take a few minutes. The column covers so many issues, gives some interesting perspective, and made me feel hundred percent better about the future of public education. Not to say the battle’s over. Not by a long shot! But my feeling is “hang in there. We’re going to make it.”

Why Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty Lost

Posted in Education, Philadelphia Schools | 1 Comment »

Style Tips for Teachers

Posted by aphillieteacher on October 1, 2010

From our principal:

Hello Folks,
A teacher was wearing open toed shoes and had her toenail ripped off today. Please, a school is not a safe place to wear open toed shoes. If you wear open toed shoes, it is at your own risk.
Thank you.

Posted in Philadelphia Schools | 2 Comments »