Today, I attended the 3rd of 10 AP English "Works" sessions conducted by the BCPSS. I like it -- it's a group of teachers sitting around talking about how to teach rigorous skills and texts to urban kids, sharing materials and discussing strategies -- and probably would have done it even without the carrot of an "AU." But an AU is what I'll be getting.
If you remember from around this time last year, Baltimore teachers ratified a new 3-year contract that placed teachers on different pathways instead of steps. We're moved up by receiving 12 AUs, and 12 AUs are received via a proficient evaluation. In addition, we were told that AUs would be available for any college credit courses, as well as for anything above-and-beyond that connected with student growth or learning - for example, attending a conference or running an academic student group.
The NCTE conference is occurring this week in Chicago, and, upon hearing about AUs, I thought it would be worth it, financially, to pay out of pocket to attend. The cost of this would be well over a thousand bucks, but if I could more quickly get a raise, it seemed like it'd be worth it. However, there is not yet anything in place yet for AUs except for credits.
Yes, we're over a year into the contract and the system hasn't figured out how to reward teachers with AUs, even though that was a major selling point of the contract.
Therefore, the AU has turned into this sort of nebulous unit that teachers have begun to feel like we're being bribed with, but not many are actually trusting they mean anything. "What am I going to do with all this leprechaun gold," one of my colleagues asked today, "after the contract runs out next year?" AUs are kind of like unicorns -- no one really believes that they exist.
Gandolfini - I love doing the column from Europe because your clock is way ahead of everyone in the States (especially L.A. — nine hours!). But I was asleep five or six...
1 hour ago