Thursday, December 1, 2011

Morale is down....

From the Apple
So, with the new evaluations that we are facing this year the morale is certainly down at schools. Being a new teacher I am not facing the same outlook as teachers that have been teaching for multiple years. Where as I scored "developing" in most of the areas and "applying" in some of the areas I am happy knowing that I am where I should be for a new teacher, especially in a new grade. However, veteran teachers are finding the scores degrading and unfair. Some feel that the critique is unfair getting because they being graded down because they are teaching lessons straight from the reading series which they have been told to follow with fidelity this year. I have found that even though I was told that I had a strong solid lesson that my scores are not reflecting where I need to be at the end of the year. While this is only the first evaluation it is stressful to have to make a score of 65% or better in applying.

The thing that I have found that has really been getting to the teachers at my school is how fair are the evaluations since they are being done by our principals. Is there some favoritism in the process?  Many seem to think the answer is yes. Many of the teachers think that it would be more fair if they had other principals from other schools or district wide appointed people come and observe especially since this will work its way into performance pay. I have thought all all the conversation that is swirling about me a lot.  I have decided that I just have to do what I do and watch my students make gains and if that is not good enough and my scores don't reflect my growth as a teacher then...   maybe I should find another career.   I love my students and I love to watch them when they learn a new skill. There is nothing better when you watch that light bulb come on.   However, rather than being a way to build on the skills that I have, this evaluation system feels more limiting.   It doesn't feel like I am being supported to grow and become stronger.  Maybe I'm just caught up in all the negative talk from seasoned teachers.  They are talking about quitting, getting pregnant and leaving the state because they are so frustrated by what is going on.
Sometimes I feel like this effort is hoping to create robots with everyone doing the same thing at the same time.  Surely those in charge realize that all children don't learn at the same time in the same way.  I wonder how much of the decision is being made by classroom teachers.  I feel like we have forgotten that every child comes into school on a different level with a different learning style. I feel that we are being programed to teach one way while a good teacher knows that you need to teach in multiple ways to reach each child.  We are spending so much time and effort on helping our struggling students that I am beginning to worry about losing our average and gifted students.  Will public school become a building for teaching those two years behind while charter school and private schools become the mecca for average and gifted students?  
As a teacher we develop a personal relationship with each student and learn what each student needs.  I just feel that now we are limiting what teachers can do and their creativity which I truly believe is going to hurt all of our students in the end. I feel that we chose teaching because we are passionate about children and what we do and the limits that they are putting on teachers now is really going to drive a lot of good teachers into other fields. Was that really the purpose of this new evaluation system?