It’s the silly season for school reform ideas.
We have heard a lot about the Hurricane Katrina reform plan. Piles of bodies in the morgue, according to Chicago Reader media critic Michael Miner.
I’m pretty sure that is not a good idea. I have yet to see any correlation between body counts in the morgue and student performance.
Republican Governor John Kasich has called for banning the teachers lounge.
Many teachers saw this and said, “What teachers lounge?”
But those are just the complainers Kasich is complaining about.
I had a different reaction since I worked in a district that had teachers lounges in the buildings where I taught.
Except for a couple of years when Kayla Factor had to move her Special Needs class into our lounge because it was so crowded in the building that she either taught there or in the attic storage area.
I have mixed feelings about Kasich’s plan.
At my last school, where I taught for 15 years, we would have breakfast treats on Friday’s in the lounge. We all signed up to take a Friday.
Yes. We called them “treats.”
To tell you the truth, it caused some friction. Some Friday’s were a cornucopia of baked goods, chips and dip. Even slow cookers filled with chili and beans with add-ins of chopped onions and shredded cheese.
On the other hand, some teachers were known for going a little cheap. Like a bowl of Trix candy bars and a box of donuts.
Some people even showed up to eat although they themselves never actually signed up for a Friday.
This caused some grumbling.
But the Friday Treats also caused weight gain. After all, the treats were not known as being low-carb and low-sugar.
I lost 25 pounds within a year of retirement.
No Friday Treats in retirement. Oatmeal all week. On Friday’s l get up early to cook some eggs and biscuits for Anne.
For purely health reasons I am sympathetic to Kasich’s reform idea of banning the teachers lounge.
Once you get past the weight issue, I think his plan falls apart. That is because he thinks the teachers lounge is where the complaining takes place.
From my own experience, only a small percentage of teachers actually eat in the lounge.
There are other groups having lunch in classrooms with their cliques.
A clique is what you call that group of teachers who have lunch in a room with their friends and don’t include you.
I suspect that is where the real complaining goes on.
Kasich would have to ban any teacher-to-teacher contact during lunch.
Or during the day.
Like at breaks.
Or during team meetings.
Or when we were supposed to be re-writing the curriculum for the fifth time.
Or at the Emerald Isle on Fridays after work.
Again from my experience, most of us who ate lunch in the lounge did not complain all that much.
One reason was that I had the uncanny ability to channel the principal. If I so much as mentioned her name, she would walk in in mid-sentence.
As if she were listening on the inter-com from her office next door to the lounge.
It is a sign of how little John Kasich knows about teaching and schools that he thinks work is what is discussed in the lounge at lunch.
For example, Megan, one of our first grade teachers, shared the latest news from People magazine.
Very helpful to the rest of us who only read People twice a year in the dentist office.
And there was a lot of talk about dogs and dates among the younger teachers.
One year we had a “wedding shower” for the lounge.
Staff bought gifts. A new microwave oven. A toaster.
I bought a George Foreman grill. Everyone laughed at it when I took it out of the box.
Yet it became our most frequently used appliance.
I just want to say.
Yes. I still resent the laughs ten years later.
It was a great idea.
I’m just sayin’.
There was also the problem of people not cleaning up.
We had a lounge committee, of course.
They thought the way in which to address the clean-up-after-yourself issue was to print a sign that said, “Your mother doesn’t work here. Clean your own dishes.”
I had gender bias issues with this sign. And my mother never cleaned my dishes anyway.
There were complaints about the coffee urn. It was older than God and all rusty on the inside.
Staff who drank coffee were supposed to bring ground coffee in. But it was always the cheapest coffee, like Folgers.
Folgers coffee in a rusty coffee urn.
I bought a Keurig for my room.
While I’m with Kasich banning teacher lounges so far as keeping teacher weight down is concerned.
I’m thinking it’s a non-starter for school reform.
Not as bad an idea as Hurricane Katrina.