Thursday, September 29, 2022

They're Killing My Class

It's been an interesting year for me, so far. There's a lot of contrast between my first period class and the others. First period, I have six students, four or five of whom show up on any given day. 

We sit in a circle, go over the material, and talk about it, or whatever. I advise them to find opportunities to use English in their daily lives, and they listen, or they don't. But the experience is lovely, and all of them leave knowing whatever we covered that day.

My fourth period class, my next one, has been more of a struggle. Students want to speak in Spanish and Chinese rather than English, and I have pockets of students who, for whatever reason, are not motivated to learn the prime language of the country they're likely to spend the rest of their lives in. Some are lacking in formal education. I can tell this somehow. If I had Skedula, it would be on their records. Of course, what I have is the crap DOE system that breaks my five classes into twenty.

I've been told that this would be resolved two weeks ago yesterday, so I've held back on grading anything. I've assigned no homework at all. I'm lukewarm on homework in the first place. I usually give reinforcement exercises that should take no more than fifteen minutes. I'm well aware students copy homework, but I've been granting homework I don't carefully check a very low value. Of course the students who copy fail all other assessments, so they tend mostly to hurt themselves.

I'm hopeful that my DOE grading is consolidated soon. If it isn't, I'm using a paper gradebook beginning next week. I am not going to copy grades into the crap DOE system because that's redundant paperwork. I know, perhaps it helps someone, but I'm not sure who. I'm not inclined to support a chancellor and mayor who cry that reasonable class size is an unfunded mandate yet can't be bothered to give us the tools we need to do our jobs.

While my morning class would certainly not stay as low as it is now, I'm really sad they're killing it. Here's what I know--it's been very helpful to the few students who've been attending. They will be dumped into larger classes, and they will get far less attention from me. English will suddenly become a little less attractive, and distraction will become both more likely and interesting. There are good reasons why the children of people like Mike Bloomberg place their kids in private schools with classes of 15. The only reason our kids aren't is because people like Bloomberg don't like to pay taxes.

I'm very sad that actual high-quality education is something we don't deem worthwhile or affordable. My students will be dumped into classes that don't serve them nearly as well. Because I carry multiple certifications, I will be dumped somewhere I'm not needed anywhere but on paper, somewhere that will give a teacher who doesn't carry one license or another validity to teach classes he or she has already been teaching for at least a month.

Ostensibly, it's all about rules. But rules are made to be broken, and usually are. In the end, it's really all about money, and we can't afford to give a few kids a really positive and worthwhile experience. Instead, we dump them into classes of 34, and give them the same crap everyone else gets. 

Meanwhile, Eric Adams is getting Rachel Ray to design some vegan meals. He doesn't eat meat, so that's important. All the other meals will be the same crap as always. And while this program may be costly, it gets Adams press, so it's somehow worth it. It's got swagger!

Adams had us do a webinar on dyslexia, because he has it. Too bad for you if you have some other disability. For him, it's all about himself, and he'll fight reasonable class size tooth and nail. You'd best sit while you wait for that class size bill to actually take effect.

Now students can learn in this system. But Eric Adams and Chancellor Soaring Eagle aren't gonna make it easy for them. That's just not cost-effective.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Today's Message:

 If you get a bad observation, you can make it good by just thinking about it.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

We Need Lower Class Sizes Yesterday

The NYC class size reductions can't come soon enough for me, and almost certainly won't. Right now I'm finding it particularly egregious that English Language Learners are dumped into the default of 34 per class. I have one difficult class that I've already written about, and I'm slowly identifying exactly why it has these issues. 

Yesterday I got a new student with absolutely zero knowledge of English. Hello was a mystery to him. I sat with him a few minutes, trying to help him with the very basic work we were doing, but I had 28 other students I had to keep a close eye on. Within the next two weeks, I'm sure we will hit 34. Because of nothing more sinister than random grouping, this will be a very tough class. I'll complain, but my new students will have a much tougher time of it than I will.

This year, I'm moving more slowly than I have before. One reason is this class, as it requires more time for every activity. Another, of course, is that I want to include as many kids as possible before I give an assessment. I don't see a test in the cards for these kids for another week or two. In any case, I have twenty sections right now, and the crap DOE grading program is borderline impossible to navigate.

If I were Chancellor Soaring Eagle, there are a few things I would do differently than he does. For one thing, I wouldn't place people accused of sexual improprieties in key positions. I'd fix the crappy DOE grading software. I'd also reopen all the staff cafeterias and serve actual food that people, you know, eat. But there are other obvious things that desperately need looking at.

The biggest one, of course, is class size. It hasn't been reduced in well over half a century, and hey, times change. Of course, Mayor Swagger thinks 400 kids in online classes would be just fine. His mentor, Mike Bloomberg wanted to fire half of us and leave the rest in classes of 70. I teach high school, and I'd cap class size at 25. I'd cap it at 15-20 for ELLs, particularly those just beginning. 

The NY Post and Daily News editorial boards can rant and cry, but the fact is that's the only thing I know, and the only thing many parents and experienced teachers know that really improves the quality of education. Standardized tests are crap, and judging teachers by them is an abomination. My kids have been here for five minutes, and it's outlandish to determine I'm a terrible teacher, or a good one, or even fair-to-middling, based on scores that indicate I have no idea what.

We now have in place a plan to slowly pare down class sizes. I'd love to see it work, even delayed by a year, but somehow it seems to good to be true. The CFE lawsuit, if I recall correctly, started maybe thirty years ago. Somehow NYC has managed to slip away no matter what was decided. We have to keep a close eye on all the slippery politicians that will slither past us in these coming years.

You can take this to the bank--Any politician opposing lower class sizes in Fun City does not give a golly gosh darn about the children here. There are a million of them, and the only way we can reach them is if we get time with them. We haven't got nearly enough with the ludicrous class sizes we're saddled with. 

In fact, it was only very recently that UFT made an agreement with the city that ensured far fewer oversized classes. Before there was an agreement to have superintendents oversee class sizes, I was going to hearings twice a year to grieve them. Even when we "won," there were ridiculous settlements, like you keep teaching forty kids, but you get one day a week off from your C6 assignment. That helped nothing and no one. Now, miraculously, principals who don't want superintendent problems manage to get all classes to meet the very low standard we have.

That's far from enough, though. We really need to make sure this legislation is enforced. If it isn't, we should align with parents, students, community members, and everyone else and surround City Hall with torches and pitchforks. Nothing else will do, and however soon we do it, it won't be soon enough.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Teacher Teams and Me

When teacher teams were introduced into our school, it was via an SBO. We rearranged the day to accommodate one a week during the C6 period. (We also negotiated more prep time.) I was placed on a team with three teachers who did not teach my subject. 

My teammates were not particularly outgoing, and I ended up having to write up every meeting. I was very creative. Halfway into the year, I realized I was chapter leader, the school did not own my C6, and avoided these teams for a number of years.

Last year, I was not longer CL, so I was placed on a team with four teachers who actually taught my subject. We discussed classroom issues and resolutions. It was a surprisingly good experience. I was with colleagues I respected, and we bounced ideas off of one another. It was altogether a positive practice, and I'd hoped to do it again. However, this year we were presented with the following choices. I will spare you the descriptions in favor of my own commentary. 

Hallway beautification--I want to beautify the hallways like I want a hole in my head. I shall say no more.  

Cultural Acknowledgement--While this is actually related to what I teach, it speaks of monthly events. I have no time for monthly events, as it happens. Also, as a teacher of ELLs, I acknowledge cultures almost minute to minute. I am bone weary of being lectured on this topic by monolingual people who've almost never been anywhere.

Event Promotion--This appears to entail some monthly activity that I either cannot do or promote. When I'm not in school, I'm not promoting events. And if I were, I'd want to be paid for this. 

Teacher Care--I like this concept, but once again it involves some monthly event. I'm not an event planner. (However, one of the events was a book group, and I'll get back to that.)

College and career--I can't think of anything more helpful to the colleges or career of my students than teaching them how to use, and hopefully even to love English. I'm sticking with that.

Restorative Circle Mentors--This one is open only to people in the restorative circle program. I checked it anyway, because being ineligible, I have little chance of being selected.  

Bio-Chem with Algebra Geometry--I know little to nothing about any of it. I selected it. 

Physics with Trig/ PreCalc--Also not my area. I selected it. 

AP Physics with AP/ Calc--More advanced than the last, and about the same to me. I selected it.

APUSH with AP Language--No idea what that even is, but I wish the best to those who choose it.

Phys Ed Healthy Sports Medicine--Sounds good if you're a PE teacher. 

Art/Music--Sounds good if you teach art or music. 

Freshman initiative--Help the ninth graders get involved in all the school activities I've never been involved in, and won't be now either. 

New teacher connection--I'd have liked this if it didn't say dealing with lesson plans and stuff. I think new teachers need to learn how to deal with crazy administrators, and I'm pretty certain my input would be less than welcome. 

Curriculum adjustment--I used to sign up in the summer to write curriculum for pay. I no longer do that, and I'm not interested in doing it for free either. 

Data analysis--Just kill me now. 

After having sent in the required form, I spoke to several supervisors. I suggested "Supporting English Language Learners" as a topic, and it seems like it might have legs. It would be good for me because, you know, that's what they actually pay me to do. 

I also noticed that the teacher. care thing suggested book groups. I'd love to do that, but as part of this teacher team thing we do. Right now, I'm reading Beaten Down, Worked Up by Steven Greenhouse. It's a history of American labor and it's blowing my mind. I think every UFT member should read it. I think every NYC student should read it too.  I would be more than happy to lead or participate in a group discussing it. 

I hope it works out. Otherwise, it's advanced physics for me. I'm happy to nod my head and pretend to understand it, if that's what it takes

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Perfect Plan

I'm now teaching in a brand new building, with brand new desks that kind of cluster together. I really like that arrangement, and I was quite excited about using it. I like to teach in a way that pushes student involvement as much as I possibly can. This is a big challenge when you're teaching an English class and a whole lot of kids don't speak it. 

There's also a big conflict in this sort of class--it's very natural for students to speak their own languages. If you and I, and others we know went to China, we'd probably search for opportunities to speak English. That would be counter-productive for us if our goal were learning Chinese, but hey, we're only human. Well, kids are human too, and teenagers are more social than we are.

That's why each cluster tended to be one language group. The dominant language groups in my classes are Spanish and Chinese, and that's how they arranged themselves. In fact, they were largely segregated by gender as well. I tried to fix that. I'd take three kids here, and exchange them with three there, and we now have a few clusters with people who speak both languages. My hope is that they will ultimately communicate in English, but we'll see how it goes. 

I did have one interesting development. A Spanish-speaking boy was sitting with another, and they were quite talkative, completely in Spanish. I moved him to a table full of Chinese girls. He was pretty upset with me for a day or two, but Friday I noticed him trying to talk to them, and appearing to fancy himself the luckiest person on earth. So that's good, as far as I'm concerned. 

However, one of my classes really started bumming me out on Wednesday, and then on Thursday. You see, I was VERY successful in promoting dialogue. It was continual. It never stopped. However, none of it was in English, and there was general disinterest in what I was presenting. After all, why listen to some old teacher when you can discuss important stuff with your friends? I singled out a few students, and thought I might call their homes.

Of course, I had no capacity to do that. The DOE, in its infinite wisdom, had shut down Skedula and substituted its not-ready-for-prime-time whatever, something that provided me with even less info than the spectacularly failed ARIS. I did speak to administrators, and finally managed to get one to send me a list with phone numbers, but by then I had an alternate plan.

I decided to rearrange the seats in this class. No more clusters. They would sit in rows. Also, I was going with a more exercise-based curriculum, with English from level zero. I don't like to introduce this so early, because I have new kids each and every day all year. The later I do it, the more of them I manage to cover. But hey, it's important that no matter what, I be the most crazy person in the room, always. 

So I set the seats in rows, which was a pain in the neck, and will continue to be. I'll have to do it every day, for a long while at least. And I tried the new material. And it worked. This was a great relief, because the day started very badly, with the worst Wordle of all time. And actually, some of the students who bothered me the most on Thursday turned into the most active participants on Friday. Having anticipated ten phone calls (which are borderline diabolical on Fridays), I made only one. I recorded it nowhere, because that is where the DOE software allows me to do so. 

I know. I should probably do it somewhere else. When things like this come up, I always say to my AP, "They can put a letter in my file."

She always gives me a very stern look, and asks, "Do you know who actually will have to write that letter?"

So to her I say, it's recorded right here. In the future, of course, there's that LIF option.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

On the Low Standards of Eric Adams and the Post Editorial Board.

Sometimes it's infuriating to just read the papers. The extreme-right NY Post editorial board excoriated Governor Hochul for signing a bill that reduced class size in NYC for the first time in over a half-century. They ignore the fact that there was a lawsuit mandating this for years, and ask why not the whole state. 

Well why not? I'd be good with that. I guess the Post doesn't know that NYC has had the highest class sizes in the state, or close to it, for decades. 

Of course Adams opposes lower class sizes too, despite his public talk about how much he loves our schools. He, of course, is the same man who's cut funding for public schools despite the fact that he's pretty much rolling in dough like never before. 

The Post and Adams can trash Hochul as much as they wish, but she will win in a landslide, and would have even if she hadn't signed the bill. At least now people like me won't have to seek third party candidates, or vomit copiously in the voting booth.

Adams and the Post, of course, fail to see what every teacher does--that the fewer kids are in a class, the more attention those kids get. Adams wanted online classes of 400, so we know exactly how much he cares about NYC's public schoolchildren. That's surely why he had no qualms about taking 6 million dollars in cash from charter interests. Forget calling him Mayor Swagger. He's the literal Six-million Dollar Man. 

And while he can rant about having to pay for smaller classes, calling it an unfunded mandate, or trash our union, the people who actually help children, the fact is education is a service. The city is supposed to provide quality education. By refusing to provide reasonable class sizes, they've neglected their job. The fact is, if they want to pay for it, they can tax big-mouthed Michael Bloomberg and all the gazillionaires who've profited as NY has suffered. Hell, they can sell Manhattan Island (and probably would if the proceeds went to Eva Moskowitz). 

Meanwhile, as the Post editorial board is busy trashing teachers and schoolchildren, they seem not to bother reading their own paper. It looks like an ambitious principal is demanding parents pay hundreds of dollars for school supplies, even though some of them are ultimately tossed in the trash. Some schools make parents buy from vendors that jack up the prices, in what looks like a shell game.

And hey, don't get me started on insane demands from administrators, the ones every teacher in NYC knows about. Don't get me started on principals who are found unfit, and either sit in their positions forever or get promoted to do Whatever It Is They Do at Tweed. 

The fact is some of the very worst teachers ever can't hack the job. They make it their mission in life to Get Out of the Classroom, and go on to torture working teachers, make ridiculous demands, follow whatever insane regs their more advanced Out of the Classroom buds create, and end up doing absolutely nothing of value for our children. 

You won't read about this in the Post editorial page, ever. Their target is the UFT, because we're a big union, and they hate big unions. They don't care if children learn in ridiculously large classes, and they wouldn't care if teachers were picked off the street to teach for minimum wage, being fired for arbitrary and capricious reasons, as their good buddy Joel Klein demanded

If you want to improve education in NYC, you'll reduce class sizes faster, provide sufficient facilities everywhere so it can happen, and tax even the Post's owner, Rupert Murdoch to pay for it. You'll stop targeting our union. In fact, if you really care about schoolchildren, you'll encourage the creation of many other unions. That's how you will provide them with better opportunities, if you actually care to do such a thing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Chancellor's Welcome Back Letter

Dear Colleagues:
I am so grateful for everything you did to make the first few days of this school year such a success! As I heard from many of you, or maybe it was my subordinates as I (or they) visited schools across all five boroughs on Thursday and Friday, this was the smoothest reopening we have had in recent memory.  

Of course I wasn't chancellor at this time last year, so this is the only year I remember at all.

Thank goodness I didn’t bother speaking to a wide variety of teachers, and didn’t have to hear about how the LIE was closed, or the flooding closing other roadways, or the horrendous traffic that made it impossible for so many of you to even arrive at work on time.
That’s a tribute to your hard work and dedication, and it’s especially uplifting after the challenges of the past several years, the ones I can blame on my predecessors.  I really appreciate all of you who are unwilling to tell the truth to me or my subordinates, fearful of a baseless negative rating. That's thinking ahead!
The big payoff for all of us, of course, is seeing our students’ joyous faces as they returned, energized to be back with their classmates and educators, and having the opportunity to lift them up this school year. I really appreciate that. That’s why I’m refusing to come to the bargaining table, even though your contract expired yesterday. As you know, my salary is $349,840, so why the hell should I care whether or not you can make ends meet?
It was wonderful for me to see our students reconnect with their friends and teachers and to see how ready and eager they are to learn. I was also energized to feel your excitement and enthusiasm. It’s clear to me just how ready we are to reimagine the experience of our students in our schools.

By “reimagine,” I mean make changes that cost nothing in terms of money. For example, not only are we putting off your contract as long as possible, but despite the fact we’re rolling in cash. Also, we put off reducing class sizes for a year. We’re also railing against reducing class sizes at all, and vilifying Governor Hochul for signing the bill. You’d better believe if Zeldin gets in, that bill will be deader than Rudy Giuliani’s political career.
We are off to a bright and flying start, and as I wrote to you last week, I look forward to working alongside you every day to reach higher heights, to breach brigher brights, and freach frier frights.

Always remember, I’m your good friend, and there’s just about nothing I would do for you.

Soaring high,
David C. Banks
NYC Schools Chancellor

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Pleasantville Lives (in my school)

I teach beginning ESL, usually. That means all the students who've just arrived end up in my classes. It's a challenging job in that I do not, in fact, speak all languages. I have to find ways to make kids open up. 

It's not always easy. Sometimes students have been pretty much taught all their lives to see shutting the hell up, always, as a sign of great virtue. Alas, I don't share that philosophy, and that's a good thing. My classes would be drop dead tedious if I did. 

I'm a longtime advocate for class size reduction, and I will address that on this page shortly. But my morning class only has six people in it. That is not necessarily a bad number. However, at 8:10 this AM, my class had zero students. One walked in at that time, and I told her she should be earlier, but I wouldn't mark her late since she was the first one here. She seemed happy with that. I marked everyone else absent and started the class. For me, one can be too small a class. Zero, definitely too small.

Two more girls walked in five minutes later. While I was happy they showed, I told them they really should have been here fifteen minutes ago. They both got really excited, and started talking very quickly in Spanish. One of them took charge, and explained to me they were both stopped at the door for their clothing. They both pulled up their shirts and showed me two or three inches of bare midriff. 

Had they come to class like that, I would not even have noticed, let alone objected. Were they my daughters, I wouldn't be worried about this. I see girls dressed like this each and every day. I have seen teachers dress like this, and I don't find that objectionable. The fact is we teachers don't have a dress code, and if anyone found my clothing objectionable, I'd file a grievance. 

I have seen girls come in in halter tops with their cutoffs split up to their beltloops. I wouldn't let my daughter go to school like that. In fact, as chapter leader, I repped a handful of people who got called into the principal's office for commenting on the clothing of young women. While I did my job and supported the members, I privately wondered who we were to be telling young women they should dress like this or that. If the girl with the halter top came to my class, I'd do my best to ignore her and say absolutely nothing. I don't need being dragged into the principal's office and getting a letter in my file.

I suppose with a schoolwide dress policy things are different. Still, Chancellor's reg A-421 isn't about what you say, but rather how the person feels when you say it. Verbal abuse may include any or all of the following:

  • Language that tends to cause fear or physical or mental distress;
  • Language that includes words denoting racial, ethnic, religious, gender, disability, or sexual orientation which tends to cause fear or physical or mental distress;
  • Language that tends to threaten physical harm; and
  • Language that tends to belittle or subject students to ridicule.

I'd argue my two young students did not feel good at all about being told their dress was improper, that being newcomers it constituted even more mental distress than it would on someone born here, and that whatever the administrators told them merits letters to file. They certainly could have felt not only mental distress, but also belittled. Of course, when the administrators in charge of interpreting this regulation are also in charge of enforcing it, they're unlikely to place themselves up on charges. This notwithstanding, that would not even be my main argument.

My main argument would be this is not 1950, we are not, in fact, in Pleasantville, and that this policy is ridiculous. My students are not doing anything objectionable. They are not dressed in any particular extreme, and they ought not to lose time where they could be learning English so that they can be forced to wear sweatshirts on an 81-degree day. THAT, in fact, is what they were dressed for. 

The older I get, the less tolerance I have for all things stupid. 

Friday, September 09, 2022

Unedited First Draft of Chancellor's Letter


Dear Colleagues:

Good morning and welcome to the new school year! I hope everyone had a great summer. I spent it in my luxurious office, making calls to Very Important People. None of them were teachers! And you won’t be hearing from me anytime soon.

Thank you for all that you do for the children and families of the New York City public schools…and for your work this week to get ready to welcome them back. I know you weren’t paid for most of it, but hey, I make $349,840, so it’s no skin off my apple.

It’s been 36 years since my first opening day as a teacher—in a fourth-grade classroom at P.S. 167 in Brooklyn, and boy am I glad to have gotten the hell out of there. I still feel the same excitement and get the same butterflies every year on this day, but I’m pretty frigging happy not to be in crumbling trailers doing the actual work. Seeing the bright faces of our young people and feeling the brilliance of their promise and potential is so joyful and uplifting. You’d almost think it wasn’t me denying them sufficient funds or further delaying reasonable class sizes!

From my first day as Chancellor, I’ve been tremendously energized by the opportunity to team up with you and our entire city to reimagine how we can strengthen support of our schools, tighten the partnership with our families, and lift our students to a limitless future. Man, that was a long sentence. I hope there aren’t any English teachers reading this!

It’s my joy to be in my perfectly isolated, perfectly ventilated air-conditioned office and see how you inspire, care for, and educate our children. Every day I thank the Lord that I get to sit here and pontificate while you do the actual work. It’s my expectation that, together, we rise to become the best school district in the nation. If that happens, you’d better believe I’ll take all the credit and do my very best not to invest one thin dime in your contract, which expires next week.

I look forward to photo ops alongside you every day to reach higher heights. Hopefully, we’ll hover happily hunting highest heights. And if you think you’ll receive one iota of support from me, I want to know exactly what you are high on.

Thank you for your work and your dedication. Enjoy my crappy grading system. Together, let’s make it a great school year for our kids. If that happens, I’ll take all the credit, along with the mayor, blessed be his name for hiring my brother. If it doesn’t work, I’ll blame you all over the press, and seek those classes of 400 Mayor Adams wants. Sure it will be terrible, but think of all the money we can invest in redecorating my office. 

I have a vision, bro.

Soaring high,


Thursday, September 08, 2022

New DOE System Makes Skedula Look Like Perfection

I'm here, day one, in a new building. I'm pretty proud of the new building because I personally got the ball rolling on it about six years ago with a lot of help from UFT. Yesterday, the AC wasn't working, but someone managed to fix it today. I've thus far been unable to get the tech to work in the room, but I expect someone will help me with that by my next class.

The main issue I have, though, is with the DOE grading/ attendance system. I have multiple sections in each of my classes, with long incomprehensible labels. With Skedula, I was able to put sections together, and four of them could be, for example, Period 1. That way, I could understand what I was doing. I was also able to very quickly grade small homework assignments for completion rather than mastery. With four sections of QWE45HJ117-45, it's not so easy. I can't do quick grading at all. 

At this point, I'd rather go back to a paper book, make an alphabetized list, and leave it at that. There is no way, in fact, I can grade at all without doing all sorts of jumping back and forth. This is too much work, and too much tedium. I don't know about you, but I have no patience for unnecessary nonsense. It's especially galling that the geniuses at Tweed find this somehow satisfactory. If I thought they were competent enough, I'd say they were sabotaging us. 

Then there's the attendance. Yesterday, I was able to see my students, albeit in bits and pieces. I could see this section and that, but it was very tough to see if it was QWE45HJ117-45 or QWE45HJ117-46. Then of course, I have to differentiate QWE45HJ117-45 from QWE45HJ118-45. It required jumping back and forth, up and down, and in fact I gave up before actually seeing who was in my classes.

This morning, in my period one class, I passed around an attendance sheet. Then there was an announcement. Please take attendance, but if you can't, go to the office and get it on paper. Oh my gosh. Time to check QWE45HJ117-45 and QWE45HJ117-46. Also QWE45HJ117-47 and QWE45HJ117-48. But I was lucky.

When I went to look for QWE45HJ117-45, I got a message, "No data found." This meant I would have to go for paper. So I went into the building, waited on a long line, and got my paper copies. Then I spent 5 or 10 minutes sorting them by period rather than alphabetically, or however they were sorted. I then copied the whole pile so I'd be able to know who my students are without entering the diabolical app that works only when it sees fit, which thus far is never.

Mayor Adams? Chancellor Banks? This teacher rates you Ineffective. 

And that's being generous.