Monday, November 18, 2013

A Surprising Position.

     As most of my readers know I was a teacher in Middle School for my whole career. I taught all core subjects except one and also a number of options. I also held down three department head positions over the years. I liked Dept. Head positions as you got to actively direct your program and select materials with staff. One department head position was a big surprise and a bit of a joke that I played on myself.
     I never found a  conference or professional development activity that I didn't like. These activities provided much personal and professional growth.

    Our jurisdiction decided to bring in and implement a health program. There were 6 parts to it and the main focus was more on getting along with people.  It was fun to teach as there was much role playing and debriefing. There were many excellent group activities and projects.

    Our Principal decided that for his school he would take one hour per week out of the language arts program and teach the health program in that hour. He would automatically have the teachers...the language arts (LA) staff.

    One day the LA dept. head asked me if I would like to go to a week long work shop on the new health program. He was supposed to go but had some lame excuse. Sure I would go. The program was more about teaching strategies than introducing the new health program.

    About a week after I got back the Principal called me in to tell me that he was going to set up a health Dept. and health Dept. Head. Would I like to be the Dept. Head. Okay sure! I was to see that all staff received professional development before teaching the new program and provide guidance for using materials. I believed it was a good program and was enthusiastic. 

    Now as most people know one of the six sections was called human relations and most kids referred to it as sex ed. It was a fun unit to teach and I think very worth while.

    We had to hold a parent night before we taught unit 6. Guess who got to run the meeting? The Dept. Head of course! I'd had lots of experience with parent meetings, but this one turned out to be a big challenge. There was an organized group who were adamantly opposed to teaching about birth control. Surprise!  Surprise! They dominated the meeting and vigorously pushed their agenda. We had no clue this would happen and were caught totally off guard. My principal wisely left me hung out to dry!

     So a position I got by surprise turned out to have a big curve in it that was thrown at me. I learned a lot through the experience although it was tough to go through. I still think the LA head and Principal worked together to set me up!