Tuesday, January 28, 2014

All Time Low

Many times in my life I have wished to be a fly on the wall. Oh, the fun of listening in and witnessing something I shouldn't or couldn't! Some things are lost in translation while nothing beats up-close and personal. Yet bearing witness is sometimes impossible, other times impractical.

This year in my life, I am having trouble processing my own reality, so I don't seek access to other worlds. Instead, I wish all my non-teaching friends and family a fly's access to mine: a comfy spot somewhere on the cinder blocks or surveillance cameras to have a look-see, because--as my close friends and colleagues (read: other teachers being pushed to their limits) and I often comment-- "you can't make this sh*t up."

This year my colleagues and I walked into a new Connecticut teacher evaluation program based on Common Core Standards (on which we had no professional development or training); new evaluators (who are new to the district and do not, at present, teach); new software to track our evaluations, which remains barely ready for a test run but is permanently recording comments that may make or break our futures as educators; and new grade book software to replace software we had finally gotten used to and was more user-friendly than this version, which--again--is barely ready for a test run (even after midterms) nevermind permanent record-keeping.

And that's just the big stuff. It's the other, little stuff--the daily decisions and debacles--that has most of us either on the brink of insanity or retirement, clicking away at resumes and job sites, or walking down a short path to Betty Ford's door. Namely? 

...planned power outages at the end of a school day/the beginning of a semester..

...48 parking spots marked for staff (for 100 of us) with no parking restrictions for 500 driving students...

... ID badges with microchips in the name of safety while a dozen times this year our phone system has crashed and left us no connection to the outside world...

The list goes on, and some will make for humorous posts of their own.

My friends and I feel we have legitimate concerns. Our supervisors/evaluators/administrators think we are a bunch of complainers.

You don't need to weigh in, but I leave you with this:

Before I gave my Biology students their midterm exam grades the other day, I gave them index cards and asked them to answer two questions.1) how long did you prepare/study for the exam 2) what grade do you expect.

The results?

Suffice it to say I am at an all time low.


Tam said...

I'm sad to know that nothing is improving, not just for you but for the entire profession. Still, I commend you for staying and continuing to be one of the people who truly does make a difference.

Amy said...

Bravely, and well, stated.

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