Friday, February 4, 2011

PD Follies - part five, Mission

Professional Development Follies - part five.

Some time ago, at another school and time, it was decided that we needed to correct our mission. We needed a better one. It was not enough to say "Our mission is to teach."

We are "supposed to be so much more" and so the first hour of the day that supposed to be devoted to some professional development (that inservice from hell) consisted instead of discussing the various important facets of our "mission", arguing over nuances of meaning and whether to mention character and 21st century skills in an increasingly interconnected world.

Did I mention that we were discussing the report from the Mission Statement Development Faculty Subcommittee (no shit, actual name)?

The plan was that when we finished deciding on the perfect length and turn of phrase, the mission statement would be printed, laminated and was to be posted over the door in every classroom. The old mission statement should be thrown away - it being no longer relevant even though it was nicely printed on colored paper, laminated and already posted above each classroom door?

What did we argue about?

One teacher pointed out that we have no schoolchildren here, only "young men and women." This nearly causes angina in the distaff side of the room.  "Why not young women and men?" Right there, you know this isn't starting well.

Our young men and women will have "active and creative minds," and our young women and men will display "a sense of understanding and compassion for others, and the courage to act on their beliefs."

We will provide a "world-class education" with "significant knowledge creation" which is a great ideal until someone (me) notices that no one has actually defined "significant" nor have they defined how we're measuring it. I am ignored in the poetic rush.

"Empowerment" is an important word, too, and apparently "each child is an individual" with a strong sense of belonging to the community. Hopefully, that will stop the bullying and the Halloween pranks. Our environment (it's not a school, mind you) has to be "caring and creative" and we must emphasize the the "whole child," whatever that means.

Of course, it wouldn't be a mission statement in the 21st century if we didn't acknowledge that "all children are creative;" "that all children will succeed," and that we are "all dedicated to higher standards" and a "challenging learning environment" including a mandate to "prepare fully the citizens of the future." "Success for all" is important, and a couple teachers wanted to say that twice in the mission statement, pissing off those who feel that makes it too wordy. ""It's gotta be pithy."

"Crap! We forgot to mention 'building self-esteem' and all of the 'positives relationships' and the 'total development of each child." "Oh, and technology! We need technology in there, too."

"Hold it, this is getting too big."
"Well, I got this one off the Internet. It has 145 words."

Mercifully, this ended after the hour was up and so we got down to the real business of the day. We were "working with" a "conflict resolution specialist" who was going to help us teachers get along. This was scheduled because there was some friction amongst us. We couldn't agree on things and the "tone" of the school was being "denigrated by negative attitudes" of people who didn't instantly agree with anything said.

Ya think?

No comments:

Post a Comment