Monday, January 27, 2014

ESOL Rant Update

Since my last rant about having to take 5 courses of ESOL while I am in DROP (last five years before retirement), I have corresponded with everyone in the county at every level to try to find a way to meet this requirement and actually learn something. Couldn't find anyone willing to give me an independent study. My only options seemed to involve long drives for boring put-you-to-sleep lectures or busywork computer courses - neither of which appealed to me. Finally I found out I could test out! Know how I found out? Facebook!- something not mentioned in any of my correspondences with the district!  So today I took a half day of instructional time away from my kindergartners, trucked out to UNF, spent 45 minutes trying to find a parking space (really UNF, if you're going to charge me $3 to park, at least send me somewhere that I can find a parking space!), and spent a couple of hours passing a test to add the ESOL endorsement to my certificate.  Did I mention the $200 it cost me to take the test?  Or the $75 to add it to my certificate? Did I mention that by taking the test I didn't learn a single thing that will make me a better teacher to my precious ELL students- something I desperately want!

So... I am $275 poorer and not one bit smarter, but I have jumped through the hoops to assure I can teach another year.  Do I sound mad and disappointed?  I am.  I'm mad at my county for presenting lackluster professional development in an area that is so important.  I'm mad that my county refused to accept real hands-on application level work to meet this requirement. For the first two classes I was able to volunteer with ELL children and their families at the MARC , a community center in the midst of a large mobile home sight that houses many of the ELL families at our school, but someone decided that that was not good enough to meet the requirement. So,  instead of volunteering every week - 180 hours - to tutor my ELL students in their community and putting a face on education for their families, I felt compelled to opt out with a test!  That time could have made a real difference in the academic progress of my children and the engagement of their families, and who am I kidding? - it could have made a difference in my life!  If the county is willing to accept bare minimum professional development for teachers - professional development devoid of passion and engagement - are they willing to accept the same bare minimum for its students?  Yes, I'm disappointed...

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