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."
Wasn’t I the one who said, “Merit pay? Bring it on! I’ll be makin’ the big bucks!” Yep, that was me. It was frustrating to work with some teachers who didn’t 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. Hadn’t 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 I’d provided for their brainstorming session? (Actually, I thought to myself, it was a dolphin, the subject of the short story they’d read.) “Chris would never do that in another class,” the principal told me. “He doesn’t respect you.”
“Wouldn’t 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 – shouldn’t 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 school’s 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 I’d said at faculty meetings. “It sounds like you’re not happy here,” he said. I tried to explain that I was having a great year with my students (a project we’d done was featured on the front page of the paper a couple of months earlier), but I couldn’t help noticing the fall-out that was resulting from our school’s 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.
Crossposted at Twitter
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