I write important things down–not just because I don’t want to forget them, but because seeing them scratched into the page or flickering on the screen grants them a stronger sense of permanence than any other medium. Roosevelt and Reagan didn’t speak extemporaneously when they gave their first inaugural addresses. Gwendolyn Brooks didn’t just hum her poems at recitals. She read from the printed page because she wanted to get things right. We write because it’s efficient, too. Writing a grocery list down is simply more practical than leaving yourself a voice memo. Wouldn’t you hate to listen to the whole list repeatedly to make sure you got everything in the deli section?
You’d think if administrators want to stress that having a diverse learning environment is important, or that teachers should know what to do during violent crises, they’d let faculty and staff know their expectations in writing. Heck, if administrators wanted, they could even require a written assessment to make sure.
Instead, administrators at a local university sent faculty a link to “video courses” in avoiding subconscious bias and making good decisions during active shooter situations, among other things. Each video lasted about a half hour. Each featured modules with questions that had to be answered correctly before the course could be completed.
When I was subjected to these courses, I couldn’t decide if I was angry because the course took important material and presented it at a third-grade level. Seriously. A booger-licking fool could pass the assessments without paying attention to the videos. Or maybe I was furious because video instruction is inherently inefficient. I could have read the scripts and passed the tests in five minutes–or, better still, I could have read a memo written from an administrator that let me know expressly what his/her expectations were regarding subconscious bias or active shooter situations. I am a professional. Treat me like one.
However, I suspect that administrators at every educational level will continue to foist such idiotic material on their teachers. I have no idea why, unless it gives administrators a paper trail to prove how well prepared their faculty are for every contingency–or, more likely still, it offers administrators a chance to “present” such materials without having to prepare anything themselves.