CURRICULUM AND TEACHING
It was the group's consensus that the majority of cases shared dealt with meeting the needs of students. Diversity was the topic; however, the diversity the group saw in their cases was the "terrible" range of skills and competencies in their large classes. In some cases the lack of performance was due to limited English or cultural backgrounds. In most cases the teachers felt they were dealing with the white, English-speaking students who are borderline students and that do not qualify for Special Education services (and are getting lost in the crowd). Alternatives the teachers had as resources were discussed. The conversations, however, quickly wrapped back to limited funding, poor advising systems, and "crazy" scheduling. It was the conclusion of the group that the average kids are getting "ripped off" and the special needs kids are left to survive unrecognized. Smaller class sizes were discussed, it was discussed as a fact that the computers are limited to an 8-l ratio but there is no teacher-student ratio respected or considered in reference to the students' demographics. The $60,000 allocated to upgrade the computers would provide salaries for two and one-half teachers. The group questioned the priorities and goals of the district.
Theories behind practice:
Impact on others:
This group is very “focused”, once they get on a topic I have not had much power getting them to refocus to the objectives of the Reflective Process. They comment at the end of each session how valuable the sessions are and how they appreciate my facilitation. The sessions are obviously allowing them the opportunity to share their frustrations and to hear others experiencing the same frustrations. I believe that has value, however, this group seems to lack any appreciation (or capacity?) for getting-into objectives 8 and 9 of the process. They are steeped in the “victims of the system and district” mentality. I am beginning to believe that this Reflection Process has to be spread over a longer time line, allowing the teachers to “go through” this process of “venting”. Considering any perspectives regarding “what else they could do” or of thinking of alternatives that would offer students greater benefits isn’t where this group is at or will go, even in December. I won’t extend my frustrations about the inability of the group to connect their choices of alternatives with “theories of education/learning”. I really believe I am trying to lead them to theories but it is not reaching these teachers’ “schemata”. My alternatives are running thin.