Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stepford Schools

I can be picky to a fault. If something doesn’t look right, I’ll point it out or ask about it. Remember the “Emperor’s New Clothes” and how everyone was ooohing and ahhhing over the guy’s fine threads until the kid yelled out, “He’s not wearing anything!” I prefer a more subtle approach and try not to be rude but if something is bared before me, it’s got my attention.

I submitted my resume for the local school system’s consideration – I know, I’m crazy but that’s another subject. Part of the pre-employment brouhaha includes going to a website to take the Haberman Star Teacher questionnaire. By answering 50 questions, this analyzes a person’s durability as a teacher, ability to handle situations and other enlightening skills and abilities. This site describes the 10 dimensions assessed and I found a couple of them worthy of discussion.

The first one is “persistence.” To paraphrase, the test can determine if a potential teacher can work with kids who have behavioral and learning problems on a daily basis for 180 days. The description alone is enough to make a person turn and run!

Another dimension is the ability to “Survive in a Bureaucracy.” The whooshing sound is the red flag whizzing by your ear as it runs up the pole. This interesting point “predicts the likelihood that the respondent will be able to function as a teacher in large, depersonalized organization.” (sic)

No matter how you break this one down, the stench is the same – Schools have become robotic and bureaucratic, embracing the educators that can put up with it. What happened to seeking teachers who are creative, innovative and independent? I suppose if a teacher can tolerate restrictive and unbending administration, the problem kids are a piece of cake.

I must offer kudos to the one that developed this assessment. They managed to design a tool that seeks perpetuators of the biggest problem in schools and recognized that school systems actually want these people! Even better, they charge money for administering the online test. I thought drug dealers were the only ones that knew how to sell you something that is bad for you and make you believe it’s what you want.

Don’t despair – there are innovative and exciting people making huge changes in our educational system. Check baaaaack for solutions in my next entry.

And how did I do on this test you ask? I haven’t taken it yet because the sign-in information the school system gave me is incorrect!

1 comment:

  1. Iris:

    It was great to have met you over the past two days at Converge South at A & T. Learned lots of stuff and had some fun. Hope that you did also. Now that I know your blog URL, I will check it out. Reggie.