Sunday I took myself out on a date. I dressed up and everything. As I sat down to enjoy my fig yogourt shake and bakery item by the sunny window in my favourite cafe, the woman at the table behind me stood up and came over.
"I know you're Kelly," she said.But perhaps it all worked out for the best, because we continued to get powerful testimony in the comments on the previous post. I find it alarming that one school board or service provider organization (SPO) can follow the spirit of the law when it comes to the PBLA support coach's role (and LIMITS of that role) while others can get it so wrong.
I remembered having seen her at local PD events over the years. She said she had gotten out due to PBLA. "An integrity thing," she said. Was I still teaching, she wanted to know. Yes, but also advocating. I mentioned the newest research.
"What can I do to help?" she asked.
What do YOU readers think this former teacher with some time on her hands can do to help? Can we put together a page of names and contact info for people to refer to when they have time to write letters? What else could be helpful?
Putting aside for a moment the fact that I believe PBLA does more harm than good to our profession and students, at least I can be grateful that at my SPO the PBLA support person / coach is just that. She helps us figure it out. She is there if we need ideas. She is there for us if we have questions. Yes, she checks a sampling of our student binders (they are not even true educational portfolios, we now know thanks to researchers like Yuliya Desyatova), but the result of that checking is just "you are doing great" or "you have this, this and this down; next term you can shoot for mid-term goal check-in." It's coaching. It's support. It's not someone else passing or failing my students' binders. It's not being threatened with firing.
Good Lord, what sort of Frankenstein have we let loose on the TESL / TEAL world? Petty bureaucrats are full of themselves, having been given a bit of power to use well or abuse. How many are abusing it?
And the bigger question: what can we do? Sure, let's put together a page of email addresses. But that probably won't prove any more effective than the petition. How can we band together to make our voices heard when we are in various unions and no union?
A colleague of mine in a different part of Canada sent me this video because s/he feels like the lion. But where is our ally? (Trigger assessment for animal lovers: it ends well for the lion.)