Tuesday, March 03, 2015

9 Hours of My LIfe I'll Never Get Back

I don't know if this is state law or merely negotiated into our contract, but we're required to obtain 18 hours of "professional development" each school year.  For this year, 9 of those hours were determined by some committee of teachers at our school to be Unconscious Bias training, conducted by none other than the CTA.  If the CTA were a labor union, what need would they have of a "human rights department"?  Something is either related to pay, benefits, and working conditions, or it's not.  But let's skip over that.

Given the subject matter and the presenting organization, I'm already consciously biased against it.  Let's just put that out there right up front.

Here are some statements that were made today, do they seem at all contradictory to you?
"This is only a conversation, there's no need to be judgemental."
"Realize that your perspective is not the only 'right' one."
"It's hard to change."
"The training is supposed to bring about change...hopefully you will want to change."
"We all have unconscious biases.  We all have biases that are hidden."

Here's the best line of the day:  "In this training we are focusing on race."  Of course we are.

Activities.  Videos.  Commentary.  *sigh*  It's bad enough that the last people I want to listen to are the  CTA, but holy crap--after an hour I was dying.  And we had 3 hours today, and 3 hours for each of the next two Tuesdays.

I have no desire to sit through compulsory navel-gazing.  I know some people find value in excessive introspection, but I'm not one of those people.  Not every piece of lint that you pull out merits pondering.

I'm bothered that I do 9 hours of professional development per week with my master's class but for some reason, that doesn't get to count towards my "professional development hours".  And which is going to make me a better teacher, learning more about math or learning to see myself as a racist?

Update, 3/4/15:  I should make clear that the quotes above were directed to the group as a whole, not to any individual.


Anonymous said...

Darren, you know me for a liberal but this sounds awful. I"d have put up a big protest but I'd have done it where it counted, at the meeting of your own teachers that made this decision. You snooze you lose.
Or as they say, 'be alert, the world needs more lerts.'


Darren said...

I believe the decision was made by our leadership committee, of which I am now a member.

Not to worry, though; those meetings will, at a minimum, provide me with blogging content for at least the next two Tuesdays.

PeggyU said...

^ Yes, but what a painful way to get it!

Mike Thiac said...

What, you don’t see the need and wisdom if this needed critical instruction on your inner bias and complete inability to relate to other human being and function in society. You racist, sexist, homophobic, panaphobic, cynophobic, entomophobic, ailurophobic, Sinophobic, trypophobia, stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder!" :<)

Ellen K said...

It seems every PD session we have is centered around either technology or special needs students. I would welcome some meaningful training on how to work with our mainstream students who seem to feel increasingly marginalized in our classrooms. What's hilarious is that for the last two years, every single tech class I've attended, I seem to know more than they do. For example, I decided not to use Google sites and instead opted for Google Classroom as a Beta program. It's easier and I like the way it looks. Now our higher paid and much lauded tech facilitators are suddenly pushing Classroom and acting as if they discovered it even though I was the one who told them where to find it. These kinds of incidents drive me nuts. I don't mind sharing good ideas, but it's annoying that someone who makes $20K a year more than me will get credit for it and benefits from things I've done. In the meantime, we're being trained on how to write innocuous recommendations for students who don't deserve so that the district won't get sued. Three years and counting.....this is insane.