Saturday, September 12, 2009

The High School Switcheroo

In April, I had to choose between staying at my current high school with a schedule split between ESOL and French and going to a new school and staying with ESOL. It was a difficult decision because of the great ESOL department we had (good friends and fantastic teachers who had developed a highly efficient curriculum), but I finally decided that making the move would allow me to better progress in the job I valued most.

After two weeks at my new school (one week prep, one week with students), I keep making obnoxious comparisons between the two, saying things like "At my last school, we . . . ". So as a means of moving beyond such thoughts and comments, I made a comprehensive comparison of the two schools. I am fairly certain this will be unbearably dull to just about everyone, so feel free to skip over it and hope for more interesting posts soon to come!

Old School

New School


More recently renovated,one story means many windowless classrooms. I was stuck on a cart! Hallways are extremely narrow, resulting in crazy human gridlock (which is bad news when you’re on a cart).

More natural light, slightly more run-down. Fewer faculty bathrooms. I HAVE MY OWN CLASSROOM!!! THIS IS HUGE!


Interactive white-boards, at least on copy machine for each department, numerous lap-top carts.

No interactive white boards, only three fully functioning copy machines on the first floor, laptop carts seem sparse.

IT guys

Won’t speak to you without a formal online tech request, but highly organized and efficient.

Less formal, but they have already forgotten to set my passwords and issued me a laptop with a dead battery.

Security/Building Use Coordinator

Obnoxiously self-important at times; efficient to the point of being OCD.

Seems pretty lax. No attendance forms required during fire drills.

ESOL department

Young, motivated, well-informed group of 7. Larger department means everyone has three preps.

2 of us! I’m department chair, which means new responsibilities. Smaller department means four preps, significantly more work.

ESOL within the school

Most of the faculty is well-informed; principal and assistant principal over ESOL highly aware of ESOL issues.

No one seems to know (or care much) what is going on with ESOL, BUT we do have total autonomy. Counselors seem a bit clueless.

Student body

Highly diverse in terms of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and language background.

Largely white and higher income.

Potential for influence

Small. ESOL department already ran efficiently and the Biology team, who could have used some ESOL strategies, was not interested.

Larger. While the ESOL department is small, I see the level 1 kids for three periods. Some issues which were perhaps handled inefficiently before can be re-evaluated. Looking to develop relationships with other departments.

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