I am a survivor! We had open house, and I'm still standing! We had our first field trip which required walking straight down a long hill and climbing a couple of winding roads straight up! And that was just when we walked in. We had those same hills -- of course in reverse -- on our way out, and I'm not only still standing, I'm still walking!
Now, it's back to the everyday business of education, meeting Grade Level Expectations (GLE's), getting test scores up, etc., etc., etc. I went to a conference one day a week or so ago, and the all-consuming message was this. If it's not a GLE, don't waste time doing it. Every minute of every day must involve students and teachers actively engaged in learning that is tied to the GLE's. Now, I'm all about learning. I'm serious about meeting the standards. I'm not looking for the easy way out. I waited a long time to get into the classroom, and I am dedicated and committed to doing the absolute best job I can possibly do. But there are things that must be accomplished in everyday classroom life that does not necessarily look and sound like students and teachers totally engaged in learning.
I understand someone will be doing a three-minute walk through in each classroom sometime soon. In those three minutes, an administrator expects to see the active engagement I described above. Well, what if it just happens to be the day and the moment in time for the spelling test. It appears this activity is judged students engaged, teacher not engaged!!!!! What if it's self-selected independent reading time? It appears this does not count for much of anything at all, even though research has shown the top ten ways to become a better reader is to read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, and read.
The conference presenters described a senario and proposed a different plan independent reading. They told about a classroom they'd observed where students read for AR 20-30 minutes each day. That teacher did not get a very good rating for active engagement. They suggested that students do a little activity before and after reading. This of course shortened the silent reading time to about 15 minutes. Well, now problem solved!!! Right? The evaluator will walk in and see active engagement!!! Right? Not necessarily. What if the evaluator comes in during those middle 15 minutes Will it not look and sound exactly the same as it did before the intervention? So now what will happen to that teacher's score? How harshly will he/she be judged for not actively engaging her/his students again
Last week, I was a nervous wreck every time I heard someone come into our room. It's not like my students have a stack of worksheets on the corner of their table to work through while I sit back at my desk grading yesterday's stack of worksheets. I work hard trying to make sure I'm doing a good job for my students. It bothers me just a little bit that a three-minute snapshot of what's going on at one specific point in time will determine how I am judged as a teacher.
Well, what can I do about it? Nothing, except what I'm already doing. Working hard to do the best, most effective job that is humanly possible which is what I want to do anyway. So, I guess I'll try to lighten up. I have a great group of students, so I don't have to worry about that. I have much to be thankful for. Besides that, I have a little trick up my sleeve for making any humdrum activity turn suddenly exciting!!!!!! Just kidding (sort of)!!!!! Hey, I am trying to get happy about a situation I cannot change, so work with me
Whatever the case, I will survive!
Later . . .