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A teacher evaluation from hell by a principal with true ignorance about good teaching

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-12 12:05 AM
Original message
A teacher evaluation from hell by a principal with true ignorance about good teaching
I call it teaching in groups, they may call it by another name now....or it may have been discarded as the latest fad in teaching took over.

This principal seems to have no clue at all about what makes a teacher a good one. This is happening all over the country, and few seem to care. A whole career field is being destroyed by the greed of corporations.

A Teacher Story: Why I am leaving public education.

This teacher had previously been one who was all in favor of the new education "reforms."

Wasnt I the one who said, Merit pay? Bring it on! Ill be makin the big bucks! Yep, that was me. It was frustrating to work with some teachers who didnt seem to care about their huge responsibility for educating our youth. Reforming tenure and paying teachers based on their efforts made sense to me, at least in theory.

Well, she is now leaving teaching because of the evaluations by those who know nothing about teaching.

After my formal evaluation, my principal noted that, while my pedagogy (he pronounced it pegoggy) was perfect, I had serious classroom management issues. Hadnt I noticed that while the two students were debating in one group, the other group had already finished and were drawing a fish on the giant sticky note Id provided for their brainstorming session? (Actually, I thought to myself, it was a dolphin, the subject of the short story theyd read.) Chris would never do that in another class, the principal told me. He doesnt respect you.

Wouldnt do what? I asked, Draw a fish? I was instructed, for the first time in more than a decade of teaching, to write a performance improvement plan, and observe another teacher. I resisted the urge to remind this man that I had taught successfully for four years in inner-city Pittsburgh while he was still in high school. Instead, I tried to see his point of view shouldnt all teachers strive for continual improvement? Still, I felt threatened. Teachers all over the country are being systematically intimidated by top-down, authoritarian rule designed to ensure compliance.

We would have in our plan books what each group would do. It took a very good teacher to organize a class like that. We had groups in reading in the primary grades as well. That took time as well, but in the lower grades that personal small group approach works well.

But there is more, and frankly I have talked to some teachers being subjected to this very type of ignorance from those in charge. Yet this new type of authoritarian punitive principal is the rule now.

This year, I did start speaking up. No one else wanted to confront the administration about our schools focus on one test. Sure as the sun, I was called in to speak with the principal again, the week before Christmas break. He had a list of things Id said at faculty meetings. It sounds like youre not happy here, he said. I tried to explain that I was having a great year with my students (a project wed done was featured on the front page of the paper a couple of months earlier), but I couldnt help noticing the fall-out that was resulting from our schools focus on test scores.

There's more. This part shows a very threatening principal who does not even know what makes a good teacher.

I asked my principal what gains we would achieve by demoralizing students and making them feel like nothing but a test score. We debated. He suggested that perhaps, over the break, I needed to think about whether or not I really wanted to be there. Wow. Under the guise of wanting to make sure I was happy in my job, he had once again made it clear that I needed to shut up or leave.

She is leaving public education for another field. I was lucky. I had the years in to retire when I saw what was coming.

A very sad story, and the true victims are the kids.
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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-12 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Every word you say is true. I see it every day. Unfortunately....
This is what the nat'l party wants.

Who would have thought a DEM administration would be implementing ideas re. schools developed by the Heritage Foundation?
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lbrtbell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-25-12 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. This is a corporate administration
Party lines mean next to nothing anymore.
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-12 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. There you are!
Folks were asking about you over on DUTurd -- mentioned that you were haunting the old DU and a few other locales. :hi: Hope to catch you regularly over on LU and OET!
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tnlefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-25-12 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
4. The last two paragraphs are tear jerkers after
Edited on Wed Jan-25-12 06:08 PM by tnlefty
reading the entire piece.

Found it too late to rec., and thanks again. My boys loved school until NCLB really started kicking in and they began to hate it...and now we have Race to the Top! :woohoo: Thank goodness two have graduated and the youngest has this year and the next, but I feel for the students and teachers who will be dealing with this. I'll probably get even louder when we're done with high school.

Thanks again. :hi:
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-24-12 01:44 AM
Response to Original message
5. What is flawed in our education system is the system.
Principals are hired and promoted by other former principals who base their decisions on things other than learning and teaching.

Near the end of my career, I was part of a district that hired a big name consultant to work with the district to improve the accountability and structure of the system. He was hired for four days. The second day, in response to a question about how the administrative structure of a district might be improved, he said that just below the superintendent should be the head of curriculum and instruction, that all principles should report to, be evaluated by, hired and fired by instructional experts - not administrative experts. Almost no one from the head offices attended the third and fourth day. They liked the system of hiring that emphasized turning in reports on time and scheduling building use.

I'm not dumping on principals or administrators. (You know . . . some of my best friends are . . . ) But the good ones I know admit that they don't get hired or promoted because they know how to foster good instruction. The principal in this story is the proof to the problem.
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