Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘multiple measures’

Observations,anyone?

A bout twenty years ago, when I was teaching in New York,  I was observed by an “administrator.”  I had about 4 years of teaching under my belt. I was asked how I think I had done, and I replied, “I think it went well.”  He smirked,  “Well, you must think very highly of yourself.”  I won’t go into how I handled that situation, but no violence or profanity were involved. 🙂

Fast forward to 2011.  You would think that after 26 years of teaching, observations would be easy. But no, I still get butterflies in my stomach.  I still feel this need to “perform”. I still feel the need to warn my children to behave because “they” are being observed.(You know they know better) My observation went well, integrating technology wows them every time, but it still made me think.

How can someone possibly know what kind of teacher I am by observing me, once a year, for about an hour? Administrators have so much on their plate, it’s rare that  they enter your classroom, unless you have problems. Many decisions about a teacher are based on these observations, and even if it’s twice a year, it’s still harsh.  I realize that if a teacher is really horrible, there will be  other indicators.  On your observation day there are factors that affect your performance. You might  have a “bad” class, or that day Sammy decided he was going to fight Jason, or the kids just didn’t get it, no matter what you tried.  And we know, there are inept, incompetent, teachers who know how to put on the dog and pony show.  I’ve known teachers who sit at their desk, all day, every day, but the day of their observation, watch out! I have been fortunate to have administrators who use observations for what they are, observations, a chance for compliments and constructive criticism. Unfortunately, many teachers are not that lucky.   I’ve come a long way since that observation in New York, but I guess I still have a little of that young teacher who heard, “You must think very highly of yourself,” lurking inside.

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“Effective or Highly Effective? That is the Question!

I read an article in our union newspaper about student growth ,multiple measures , and labels.  Aaaargh! It made me so… argghhh!Teachers will be labeled Effective or Highly Effective based on what? And yes, I mean on what, because “they” still have not determined what the “multiple measures” will be.  Is this ridiculous or what? I have an idea, why don’t you just let us teach, like we used to do? “Multiple measures!” When will “they” learn that so many factors go into whether a child learns or not. If Charlie did not have breakfast this morning, he can’t hear you over the grumbling of his stomach! If Tannai had no electricity because her Mom beat up the neighbor they were stealing electricity from, she doesn’t really care about the difference between a prime number and composite. All of these factors have to be taken into consideration before we are labeled and “rewarded”. What an unfair, sucky, system!

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