A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Testify!

Hooray! Evaluation time again! This time my administrator came in on the day I had a raging sinus infection, but c'est la vie. I really didn't care because frankly, the Cornelius door is ALWAYS open.

Anyway, the kids tried their very best to make me look good (bless their little hearts!), we had a great discussion, and I showed up the next day for my post-observation conference.

She was very complementary. Very. She actually said that she believed I was the best teacher in the department (which isn't true, but is still very nice to hear). But she was pretty insistent about it and cited numerous examples. For well over half an hour, and I was pretty embarrassed, let me tell you. She said she actually stopped scripting because she got lost in the lesson and was actually learning.

But...

(There always is one, isn't there?)

The reason I mention the complements is to discuss what was written down.

Nothing.

Boilerplate language: "Ms. Cornelius is competent in her knowledge of subject matter." "Ms. Cornelius works with other staff members."

If she really thought that my teaching was that awesome, it would be nice to see her testify to that. And you know the etymology of the word, "testify," don't you?


( In the ancient world, men swore the truth about something by putting their hand on their testicles. Thus, they were "testes- fying.")

Our administrators have apparently been completely warned against saying anything complementary NO MATTER HOW STRONGLY the administrator believes that complements are in order). The top ranking on our evaluation forms is "meets expectations."

So, in other words, our evaluations are NOT actually supposed to indicate any real evaluation.

Yes, and Arne Duncan wants me to roll the dice on merit pay, right? I can already tell you what would happen if that were instituted in my district. Either NO ONE would get merit pay and raises would actually disappear except for the superintendent and his staff, OR the nattering nabobs of nepotism that haunt the office and the eight-legged administrators (those with a staff member so far up their administraors' keisters that they look like they have eight legs).

I know I am a good teacher. But I would like my written evaluations to honestly reflect my strengths. The administration has been instructed to write these non-evaluations so that they can later fire us at will with no evidence that we were ever anything but "adequate."

It's actually insulting.

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17 Comments:

At 11/20/11, 6:28 AM, Blogger Kim said...

It IS insulting. Apparently this is the whiplash change to the previous evaluation joke of rating everyone as doing a good job because no administrator wanted to go through all the work required to get rid of inadequate teachers.

So the "best teacher in the department" only meets expectations? Ugh, I feel sorry for you, but I feel sorry for all of us because we all can see that it's the trend of the future.

 
At 12/3/11, 11:45 AM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

Nonetheless, the coming thing for eval is to grade teachers on the basis of student test scores. There's no research to show the validity of this practice and huge margins of error, pretty much ensuring good teachers will be denied tenure or even dismissed for no reason. So, bad as this system is, and silly as your supervisor may be, things could be considerably worse.

 
At 4/13/12, 11:20 AM, Blogger Ralph Russo said...

Your comments resonate with me particularly with current education reform in Connecticut. I have been surprised by the news media's treatment of educational reform. Our governor has been outspoken about the need to reform "tenure". The news media has often portrayed teacher evaluation as nonexistent. I have been observed and evaluated formally and informally regularly. Our district and prior districts have policies and procedures in place. I wonder why it is easier to have reform than to adhere to what's in place more diligently.

 
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