Evaluating curricula: #3
Why do the principals pursue help?
After the meeting of the curruciculum committee in early December and their talk in the parking lot, Anna and Jamie went their separate ways. It makes sense, because they both had full-time jobs. The committee work was important, but it was an added responsibility on top of their day-to-day jobs. One day over the winter break, however, Jamie got a message from Anna.
Anna: Hey, I know you wanted to talk with Prof Bebopp, so I checked with her about talking with you 1 day next wk after school. She’s great with meeting with you. And, what do you think of adding Alberto to our little team? He has good ideas.
Jamie: Thanks! I appreciate you paving the way with her. What’s her number? I’ll call her.
A: (nnn) nnn-nnnn. That’s her office #. Thanks.
J: Any bad days for you? My best will be Wed & Thu next week. And, then, there’s Al. Do we know when he’s available?
A: I’m good with Tue and Wed. We’re talking after 3, right?
J: Yes, I can’t go until kids are released and I need the first couple of days next week to make sure things are getting started right and it’s gonna take me 15 min to get there. So, earliest: 3:15 or 3:30.
: What about Alberto?
: Well, do we really need him? It’s just complicating things.
: I get it with complicating. But, neither one of us can offer any authority on multi-cultural concerns, so I think we really, actually do need him.
: Right and he is smart. I just don’t know how much he’s on board with the effectiveness stuff. Complicating, though. You know how hard it is to get a meeting with just three calendars. This would add a fourth!
: Well, since you’re putting the meeting together, let me deal with Alberto. I can explain to him. If he can’t make the first meeting, maybe he can make the second one. OK?
: O.K. I’ll let you know what I learn.
: And, happy new year! TTYL.
: Cool and same to you!
After the text conversation with Anna, Jamie immediately called Professor BeBopp’s office number. She was surprised to get an immediate human voice rather than a voice-mail recording. Jamie introduced herself, explained her connection to Anna, and asked why the professor was in her office during the holiday break.
“Well,” Professor Bebopp replied, “Maybe I should ask you the same question: What are you doing working during break?”
“Ha! I get the irony,” Jamie replied. “I just thought I would maybe be able to leave you a voice-mail message about scheduling a meeting next week.”
“Welllll….” the professor began, and then paused. “This is prime work time for me. I can work without interruptions from students, other professors, administrators, meetings….” She trailed off, sounding a bit wistful. Then, she restarted rather suddenly, “Not to say that students, colleagues, and all that are problems. It’s just that the weekends and holidays seem to be the only time when I can get a concentrated few…a dedicated…an opportunity to focus for several hours in a row on something.”
As Jamie waited, Professor Bebopp started again. “So, you asked what I am doing? Well, I have two activities this week. One is that I am preparing for a class, it’s a new class on participant observation; I’ve used that method, but the class is one that I haven’t taught before, and I need to plan the entire semester. The other is a report of a research project. It’s about…wait a sec. You’re a teacher, right? Where?”
Jamie said she was with Monterrey, MPS.
“Well, how about that!” Professor BeBopp continued. “The data for this study is from MPS! Did you get a survey from my team? It would have been about parent meetings.”
Jamie did not remember any survey. “Uhm, nope, I don’t think so. I mean, I might have and just don’t remember it?”
“Weeellll, that’s OK, honey,” Professor Bebopp replied. “We used a snowball sampling method; that means only some people got the survey. It’s perfectly OK if you didn’t respond. Anyway,” she continued, “my other job this week is to begin coding the responses from the people who answered the survey. That means we will decide how to think about the people’s answers, look for themes in what they say.”
“I’m sorry to ask you for a meeting during your break and, uhm, your ‘prime work time,’” Jamie said. But as she completed her request, Professor Bebopp spoke.
“That’s okay, honey,” she said. “What do you like, morning or afternoon.”
“Oh, well, uhm,” Jamie replied, “We all, we’re teachers, and we have to work so it would have to be afternoon. I’m not able to leave school until after three PM and it’ll take me a little while to get to your office, so…”
“Well,” Professor Bebopp said immediately. “That’s tough, but I guess that’s the way it is. So, 3:00 is it?”
“I think we should say 3:30,” Jamie replied. “That’s safer. Less chance that we’ll be late.” Jamie waited for Professor Bebopp to say what day. She waited and waited for what, seemed to her, a long time. Then she asked, “Would Wednesday next week work for you?”
“Okay, honey,” Professor Bebopp replied. “That’s 3:30 on Wednesday the sixth. Do we have it right?”
“Yes,” Jamie replied.
“And, tell me again, what’s your name, please,” Professor Bebopp asked?
After exchanging a few plesantries, they hung up.
Jamie thought about the conversation. She thought it was a success, because they had a meeting date-time; she could let Anna and Alberto know, and hope it would work. But she also wondered what was going on with Professor Bebopp.
Jamie thought that Professor Bebopp was clearly pretty engaged in her work; she was at the office during vacation and, even more, willing to meet with the group on short notice. But why did she keep calling Jamie, “Honey?”
Jamie was more concerned about another matter: She and Professor Bebopp hadn’t actually discussed the purpose of the meeting. She hoped that Anna had explained. And she hoped that Alberto was on board with the basic idea.
“Next Wednesay is not very far in the future,” Jamie thought. “We’ll find out pretty soon!”