My Turn: Appalled with recent letter about Truckee High School
I am a high school English teacher in Marin County and a part-time resident of Alpine Meadows. I was appalled when I read the article by Mindy Harrington (and#8220;and#8216;My Turnand#8217; column doesnand#8217;t tell the real storyand#8221;). How can a core class, which I consider to be of utmost importance, be taught by a teacher whose only response to a parent who asks how she can help her student at home is to and#8220;look it up on the Internet.and#8221; I canand#8217;t judge the skill level of that teacher, but it is certainly apparent that he/she does not have the best interest of the students in mind and is not willing to put in the extra time necessary to help them succeed. I have all my handouts and assignments plus Power Points of my lessons online for students and parents to refer to. In addition, if a parent e-mails me and asks what she can do to help, I am thrilled and will certainly respond in detail. Education is a partnership between the school, parents, and teachers.
Even more disturbing is that students sat in a classroom without a teacher for 3 1/2 weeks, watching movies that had nothing to do with the subject. I canand#8217;t believe that itand#8217;s not possible to find a qualified long-term substitute teacher. With the unemployment rate as low as it is, professionals in the business world can be tapped and given emergency credentials. Alumni are also good resources if they have just graduated from college and are looking for a job. I am also the substitute teacher coordinator at my high school, so I am familiar with the process. We have sometimes offered teachers on staff on a 6/5 position for the short term, and this works well. In fact, I was one of those teachers. It was the same course I teach, so while there were a few extra papers to grade, there was no additional prep work. I would be happy to share any of my sophomore or senior English lesson plans with a long-term sub. I specialize in writing, and before students watch a movie for three weeks, they can certainly complete a writing assignment and#8212; no matter what the subject. I assume Truckee High School has a library.
I am not surprised that the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is looking for a new principal for Truckee High School. I hope the district follows through with implementing Professional Learning Communities. These have been a source of inspiration at my school.