Monday, September 8, 2014

Day 3: Evaluation

Today's prompt is about which "observation" area I would like to improve upon this year.  While I don't have the rubric right in front of me, I am having trouble with this one.  Not with the idea of improving.  On the contrary. I believe all educators should be deemed "developing", which in our current evaluation system, this term is used in a negative way to mean a teacher is in some way sub-par.  I know that I am always trying to improve in all areas of my teaching.  The fact that I might earn a 4 (highest rating) on some of the areas of the rubric doesn't mean that I check those things off.  I don't say to myself, "Well, I have mastered that!"  Teaching just doesn't work that way.

I wonder why the creators of this challenge had to ask participants to use the rubric they are evaluated by to think of how they wanted to improve.  While most would end up choosing something that could be found there anyway, it gives a little too much power to that document in my opinion.  Any teacher who would take on a #reflectiveteaching blogging challenge probably wouldn't have trouble identifying areas on their own.

There are many things wrong with our current teacher evaluation system.  One of which is that the way in which we are judged by an administrator and the tool that s/he uses to write about our skills as a teacher is diminished once a score is assigned to those areas.  Teaching is the most humanistic of jobs.  We deal in people.  To think that you are able to quantify what we do each day is absurd.  Not to mention that at the end of the day, what s/he believes to be true about a teacher could be trumped by student test scores.  I could be viewed during my observations as a master teacher, but if my students don't perform on test day, that is what matters most.

I'll get off my soapbox for a moment to try to address the prompt. This year, my department is trying to be more aligned in what we teach.  It will involve tough conversations, open-minds and the ability to take a hard look at our own teaching.  I am up for this challenge.  Collaborating with colleagues is dependent on a school culture that encourages and gives time to allow for this kind of work.  I want to make take advantage of the time we are given to learn from my peers and continue to improve upon my curriculum and my teaching.

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