I am a teacher at a DAEP campus (disciplinary alternative education program). In short, one step above the juvie center (although we do teach there as well). Our district treats our entire campus like the smelly kid of the class. We have the fewest funds and face the most challenges. At convocation we were sat with the support departments instead of with the other campuses. The janitors were in front of us, the bus drivers to one side and the IT group to the other. It really made us feel our place.
I have been through 2 weeks of professional development of which 5 hours were beneficial to me and my classroom. I am looking forward to overloaded classrooms now that the state has passed the teacher harassment law where if a teacher "feels harassed" the student will automatically be placed with us. Our district is also allowed to drug test ALL students. It is supposed to only be if they feel that there is a significant cause to test the child, but has become a situation of if the student is annoying, give them a drug test. The thing is, we live in an area where drug use is rampant. Probably 85 percent of students in high school use drugs in some capacity. If they refuse, it is an automatic placement, if they cannot afford the $65 test, automatic placement, if they fail, automatic placement. It reached the point last year that just being under suspicion was enough. We have 33,000 kids in our district. Well over 1,000 spent time with us last year. We had 20 teachers on our campus teaching everything required for students 6-12. I had 5 preps for my first period class alone. We generally have students from 10-40 days. Some are expelled to us for up to a year. I get graded on how a student who has been with me a week performs on the big standardized test at the end of the year.
My classroom technology consists of a projector, teacher's computer, a document camera (not working) and a smartboard (also not working). Our students are not allowed to bring in any technology as we are a secure campus (our students have to be searched each day when they arrive at school). Since our students cannot carry out anything either, homework must be given through Google Classroom or not at all. I have to just give handouts in class to the students without computers or smart phones because they have no other way to do the work and I have to let them work on it in class because they can't take it home.
Sometimes I feel like I have to fight to be able to teach my students, and it is not the students that I am fighting.
I would like to be paid more for what I do, but I would like them to fund our school and get us the tech and support that we need even more.