I do not teach for administration.

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by jeni8601, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. jeni8601

    jeni8601 Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2019

    Just some background: This is my 5th year teaching 3rd grade at the same school. A big school in a good district. This is the first year my school is departmentalizing I teach Math and Science to two classes in 3rd grade. Our new principal (2nd year here) thought it would be a good idea as far as scheduling goes to place all EIP/ESOL into one classes between one team. That mean my teaching partner (ELA and S.S.) and I have almost ALL EIP students, and every single ESOL student. 21 RTI files anyone? Sorry-- background info took me on a tangent.
    Anyway, we have have had New Assistant Principal this year who we have all heard is harsh. I learned not to listen to others and to form an opinion on my own.
    Last Friday, I was observed during my second block, the one with 13 ESOL students, four tier 2 students, and one tier 3. This was also on a Friday, an hour before dismissal, the week after break, during a 4 day week.
    I decidedly while teaching to pass out some exit slips to make sure the students understood everything. I collected them and took a moment to review them while students began centers. As I am reviewing, I look up to see the new assistant principal sitting at a table in my room for an observation.....

    We broke into centers, things were fine in my small group, but some of my typical wild boys had to be redirected a couple of times. It was a little crazier than normal because I was trying to squeeze in all my rotations in 4 days so we my kids can take the required post test needed for data next week. I don't care if things get SLIGHTLY chaotic, and I don't even mind repeating directions to the kiddos who need it. I am one who believes that students need to love coming to school to love learning, so a little chaos during a transition doesn't bother me with this particular class- remember my demographics-

    ANYWAY, the new AP emailed me at 7:30 Monday morning asking to meet during my planning in 2 hours. I could barely function for the 2 hours I waited. When I got into her office, she asked me how I thought things went. I told her that I thought it was a little chaotic, but had accepted that students are just getting back into the swing of tings after the break.

    She goes onto to tell me some strengths she was so happy to see. Then tells me that I really need to restructure my centers. That there were too many small moments that added up and I had wasted "instructional time".

    I was professional, accepting of the feedback. I may have cried (I did). It made me feel like a failure. I work so hard for these kids and I feel like the expectations are impossible. I am very open to change, but I just feel like the new AP had way too much to see for a 20 minute visit. I ended up get proficient scores but she told me if she had been evaluating a different standard things would be different. She wanted to help me grow before that particular standard was evaluated.

    I am so discouraged. I work so hard to do so much, and I feel like I was nitpicked. I could be overreacting, or maybe even playing too much of a victim. Maybe she is right. I'm sure she is. I am known as the fun, less structured teacher and the students/parents love me! My kids have done well on the end of year tests and my behavior management is just fine.

    After I left her office, I came back and saw a parent responded to an e-mail I had sent the night before. I reread what I wrote, and it dawned on me that THIS is why I teach. I know this is long. I just needed to vent and also share what I wrote to this parent. I am so much more than one chaotic transition between centers.

    My e-mail to a parent-- I feel like this defines me as a teacher.

    Hello!
    I created a class website for Math that is outside of Canvas. John seemed really interested in creating one for himself. I REALLY think it is something he could do well and told him that I would LOVE to see it if he chooses to. Does he have access to a computer? Most of the kids have tablets these days, so I have to make sure they have everything at home before I try to encourage something like this.
    If you are OK with it, and you have a computer available to him, Wix.com is a great resource to start building a website! It is free and there are several templates that can help him set it up. He seemed interested in creating a site to sell used video games (which he can do on Wix), but I think he might want to focus on the basics first- Like a blog, and he can always add that later. It is completely up to you! I would never ask him to create a public website without your permission, but I thought I would mention it because I truly think he could be great at it
    Most of this would need to be done at home, but I will be happy to give him all the lessons on internet safety—I have a ton of resources!


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't want to be another statistic, but I don't know if I "fit the mold" of what admin considers a "highly effective teacher"

    Please give me encouragement to keep doing this for the reasons I started in the first place-- The kids!
    I don't want to end up in a cubicle!
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jan 16, 2019

    It's clear your care for what you do came out in that email and it's so great you were able to see it at just the right time! I hope the parent response was positive too. :)

    Truthfully I probably would have reacted in a very similar way to the situation with your new AP. Every administrator is looking for such different things and I've been through enough evaluations with a variety of administrators to know that observations are purely subjective. Feedback is important but hearing negative things when you're trying so hard can be super discouraging. I try to remember that when I'm speaking to students too.

    Keep doing what you know is right and loving those kids. They need you!
     
  4. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    Jan 17, 2019

    I had an administrator years ago who wanted to see kids sitting at their desks, quiet as a mouse, no noise, no commotion. And when did she come and observe--during drama classes! She rated me an ineffective teacher because the class was too chaotic--there were too many things going on at once. I had 3 different levels of drama in that class, and each level was working on something different, plus it's drama class--whoever heard of a drama class sitting quietly with no commotion. She didn't like the way I taught, and believed her was was the only way. Take the criticism, see what you can do with it, and then move on.
     
  5. jeni8601

    jeni8601 Rookie

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    Jan 17, 2019

    Thank you for your response. And yes, the parent was extremely supportive! I had her daughter 4 years ago, and knew she would be more open to it.

    I am happy to hear that there are other teachers who don’t mind a little chaos. I can have structure when I need it, but in my opinion, the most important thing to establish in these 8 year olds is a love for school and learning. I always did better in classes where there was a little chaos, and felt more comfortable with teachers who frequently got off task and just talked about life. I feel good about myself as a teacher, and I appreciate the responses— they really helped me to see it’s not just me. We don’t tend to open up to our coworkers about criticism over our teaching. Especially at my school. As far as I know, everyone gets fantastic scores!
     
  6. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 10, 2019

    In my opinion, teacher evaluations are relatively inaccurate. They are based on one particular lesson on one particular day. Teacher's performance change throughout the day. Some lessons may not go as smoothly as others. Teacher evaluations should be based on the whole picture with teachers in various situations. I understand that this unrealistic.
    Essentially, never take the administrator's evaluation completely seriously. Take the feedback with a grain of salt, but do consider some improvements that can be made. I am not emotionally-biased because for my teacher evaluations from the past 5 years, I have been given outstanding for all requirements.
     
  7. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    Feb 10, 2019

    I just wanted to share what little insight I've gained so far. I'm going with a theater example because that's what's on my mind (no seriously competition in just over a month). Think about all of the effort that goes into putting a play together. It starts with your crew reading line by line from the script including the action indicators. ("He's a thief!" [He shouts with vigor]). They read the whole line "he's a thief he shouts with vigor....oh". And basically sounds like a robot reading it to you. Eventually they learn how to act and do the motions and transport the audience to a far away place.
    On opening night, when the curtains fly open and the stage lights come on and your cast is illuminated, whatever is going to happen will happen. And at competition, you get one chance to show the judges what you've got. There's no let's reset and do it again. One and done. Three months of rehearsal, countless hours spent learning lines, Saturdays spent making costumes and props. It comes down to one curtain call.
    Teachers have a similar challenge. All the work that is put into planning the lesson, laying down ground rules in the classroom, marking papers and providing feedback, it comes down to one curtain call.

    Personally I think admins should look for patterns. One moment in time can lie, can trick you. Patterns tell a broader story.
     
  8. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 10, 2019

    I definitely agree with the fact that administrators should look at a pattern and see what is necessary for you to improve. That being said, the theater connection was quite unique and unexpected.
     
  9. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    Feb 10, 2019

    Hah! I'm sorry I've got three big things on my mind right now. Theater, graduation, and admin role.
    But op I did forget in my post take it with a grain of salt and keep it moving.
     
  10. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 10, 2019

    I am not the original poster. I do hope you realize this.
     
  11. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    Feb 11, 2019

    Yes! It was general statement for the op ;)
     
  12. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 11, 2019

    Sorry about that. Happy Monday! (Back to my teacher aide-less classroom for another week.)
    I think this is the final week of that situation!!!
     
    Aces likes this.
  13. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    Feb 11, 2019

    You can do it! We're making generators this week.... (I swear science teachers have more fun)
     
  14. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Feb 11, 2019

    So I had an unannounced observation a few weeks ago, and got my results back Friday. I averaged the same score as I did for a dog and pony lesson. This tells me that I'm pretty much always going to get about the same score from my evaluator.

    I do what I do because it's what my training and experience tell me is best for my students. If it doesn't match an observation rubric, oh well!
     
    a2z likes this.
  15. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 11, 2019

    I understand the op's comment that they don't teach for administrators. Unfortunately, in public schools now...we DO teach to administrators because they are the ones who determine our job performance. In many states now, administrators also determine our pay, since many states have pay for performance.
    Veteran teachers have a little leeway in their observations because they may have tenure. Newer teachers, however, don't have that perk and their jobs may depend upon putting on that dog and pony show.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Feb 11, 2019

    You had admitted trying to fit five days of lessons into four so you could unit test. This does create chaos. If it also required switching centers one extra time, it is more time not learning but transitioning. So, what was seen was the truth. Packing to much into a time will reduce the learning time on the content and increase the non-learning time when the learning is supposed to happen in rotations. You chose it. The AP just happened to be evaluating your choice at that time.

    AP also didn't observe for everything, let you know where he felt you had a weakness, and is giving you time to improve before the observation. I'd actually say that is a very fair and helpful AP. You should thank your lucky stars he didn't decide to evaluate you on the areas he knew you still needed improvement.
     
  17. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 11, 2019

    I certainly hope so. My classroom is supposed to have a classroom aide.
    Today was very rough. I had a lot of behavior problems from my students. My students who needed assistance could not receive it. Small groups were ridiculous today. Tomorrow, we are finishing work from Monday and catching up. We are behind already this week. Lovely.
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Feb 12, 2019

    Great advice. I agree with every word of this.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.

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