I made a schedule for my morning that I list below: With planning and forethought, this schedule will address all things to make me successful.
|7:00- Wake up|
|7:01-05 Yoga and stretching|
|7:06-7:09 Morning Routine|
|7:15 Towel dry|
|7:16-7:18 Change clothes, put on shoes|
|7:20-7:23 Eat breakfast|
|7:23-7:25 Clean up and prepare to leave|
|7:26 Exit for work|
I know that you are impressed, aren’t you? This is how I can get my day started, all my work done, and still have time to write this blog. Now imagine that instead of making the schedule myself, my boss made it and I was required to use it. Not as enjoyable right. If it makes you feel better, all of my co-workers are required to use the same schedule. It ensures optimal production and efficiency.
“Wait” you say. What if you are not a morning person? What if you prefer your shower earlier? What if you don’t eat breakfast? It seems reasonable to perhaps rearrange the schedule to accommodate individual needs. Well, actually no. Everyone has to use the same system, so that you can be evaluated equally. Doesn’t matter that there is no hot water at 7:10 (small water heater). Breakfast makes you sick? Tough. Oh, also, if something gets messed up, you oversleep, you run out of cereal, or the power goes out. Well, you’re accountable for it. You will be marked off on your evaluation.
If you have read the rest of the site, you know where I am going with this? As you can imagine, my wife’s school has a strict schedule that must be adhered to. The first block is listed below.
|8:30||Morning work, warm up, check in|
|9:00||Begin Literacy Block|
|9:00||Vocabulary and concept development|
|10:05||Double Dose Instruction|
|11:00||End Literacy Block|
Again, in the abstract, the schedule is fine. In a perfect world, a teacher could go through this schedule without deviation or disruption. But who lives in a perfect world. If the announcements go over for 5 minutes, is it on the teacher to ignore them and continue on with the schedule? “No”, you say, but in fact, one of my wife’s evaluation sheets (5 minute variety) said only one thing, “not on time”, with no other comment on the sheet. On that particular day, the announcements were indeed 5 minutes late, but the fault lies in her for the delay on her evaluation.
The rest of her schedule is as follows:
|11:00||Review Concepts and Skills|
|11:45||Guided Math/Independent Practice|
|2:30||Writing Instruction and Intervention|
Notice that from 9:00 until 1:35, there is no scheduled break. I know several adults that have a hard time focusing for 45 minutes (most notably me), yet the powers that be expect over 4 hours for children before a scheduled break. But the teacher can give them a break, right? Sure, but only when no one is looking; otherwise, the deviation is marked in their evaluation.
So, you may ask, what is the point? Well, on one hand, it is the optimum use of time (in the eyes of people who don’t actually teach any more or never did). But the main goal is uniformity in education. The district expects to observe 15 minutes of several fourth grade classrooms back to back and see an entire lesson unfold. If all of the teachers are in unison, then each child in the entire district is getting an equivalent education. It operates under the assumption that fair is equal.
In the abstract, the idea again seems right. Fair is equal, right?
Well, yes the instruction is the same, but if the children do not understand, is it still equal? In many schools, my wife’s included, the students are below grade level some due to summer learning loss, some due to achievement gaps, some due to language issues. Therefore if you treat each classroom the same, and have the same lesson no matter the dynamics or composition of the class, yes, you achieve equality in practice, but is that fair? Are the children on equal footing or are you just expanding the achievement gap?
The fact is that the district has chosen to incorporate a system that widens the gap between students. It does a disservice to its students, all in the name of equality. So perhaps we should reexamine fair and equal. Or should we just try and get back schedule?