A Phillie Teacher

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

Leaks in the ship

Posted by aphillieteacher on December 8, 2010

Metaphor: New High School is a ship. The principal is the captain and the staff and faculty are the crew.

It is the captain’s duty to see that the ship is maintained, order is kept and everything runs smoothly. The captain sets the standard and all hands follow his/her lead. If the captain waivers or is derelict in duty, everyone on board suffers.

There are leaks on the SS New High School and we don’t seem to be sailing on even keel.

Teachers have stopped trying to enforce many rules because they know it’s a thankless task that will end in nothing but disrespect and jeers from the unpunished students.

Lateness and outright hall-walking is becoming rampant. Fights break out; last week there was a fight at the pep rally. The week before that, two girls had the temerity to go into a classroom and beat up another girl. (yes they were suspended. But instead of being shocked by such events, New High people are becoming immune)

Every change in routine gets the kids more and more wired. Last Friday the principal announced that there would never be another pep rally at New High School again. But tomorrow there will an assembly and next week two more. Teachers and staff are trying to keep the ship on an even keel, but it’s becoming harder and harder.

In September, uniform and “one school culture” was our principal’s highest call. Stroll the halls now and any observer will see that approximately 20% of students are out of uniform at all times. This will get worse because there doesn’t seem to be any sign of those in charge putting a stop to it.

The District Office is upset over our truancy rate. Rather than address the roots of the problem (parent non-involvement) the school wants to cover itself by printing a boiler-plate “please excuse my child” form for students to take home to be signed by the parents. If the parent sees it at all. Cutting and not being held accountable becomes easier every day.

Eh. This post seems disorganized and disjointed. Sorry, but I’ve been bailing water all day and I’m tired.


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