A Lone Teacher Talks Back: An Educator on the Impact of Teacher Evaluation

As far as Poetic Justice is concerned, all metrics need to be eliminated from the evaluation process. This may be a radical thought in this age of teaching reform, but it is not a radical idea to those who are pure educators.

This is what a valid teacher evaluation checklist would look like if I were in charge of my own building. This is what my own personal self-evaluation looks like:

1. Are the children safe?
2. Are the children the focus of the classroom?
3. Does the teacher recognize and respond to the individual needs, strengths, and giftings in the class?
4. Is the teacher helping, not harming her students?
5. Is each student regarded as more than a data point?
6. Is the teacher connecting content to the life experiences of his students and their collective situations?
7. Is the teacher sensitive to the backgrounds and cultures of her students?
8. Is the teacher striving for synthesis of content into her students’ learning schema?
9. Is the teacher doing much more than just delivering prescribed content to a prescribed time table?
10. Is the teacher using her own teacher created lessons and materials?
11. Is the teacher respecting and cherishing student voice?
12. Are writing and reading considered a joy by the teacher and by the students?
13. Is there present a pedagogy based on love, joy, and compassion?
14. Is the teacher actively growing in her own professional development?
15. Is the teacher sharing and contributing to her colleagues successful practice?
16. Is the teacher aware of her craft as an art as well as a science?
17. Are ALL assessments used to help the student and to inform instruction?
18. Is there a holistic dimension to assessment taking into account cognitive as well as affective domains of learning?
19. Is creativity regarded by both students and teacher as the highest form of learning?
20 Are the children safe?

This checklist is is direct opposition to the findings at this weekend’s Network for Public Education convention report and is in opposition to current evaluation systems. Poetic Justice is not saying all data is irrelevant; I am saying that data is only one small part of a teacher’s toolkit.

I left a career in the business sector expressly because I wanted to help children. I wanted to devote my life to the welfare of humanity not to some corporation’s bottom line. Today’s approach to teaching and learning is far more dehumanizing than even the approaches I experienced in business. At least in the business sector, the customer was always considered and any harm to that customer could result in litigation.

My plea is for those in educational power positions, to please consider the harm being done to children and teachers when only metrics are considered important.

 

Please join a FaceBook page I administer with the Walking Man – Dr. Jesse Turner Teachers Are More than Test Scores.

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“It’s All About the INHUMANITY” – an Anonymous Teacher’s Tale

Summer School- Turning the Heat Up On Achievement
by – One Fired Up Teacher

NOTE: This was written by a teacher in a high poverty district somewhere in the US. Child and Teacher Abuse in full effect

A time to maintain achievement, right? To prevent the “summer slide” and keep students engaged and excited about learning. After all, it’s building relationships with our students that can extend far beyond the confines of classroom walls.

But what happens when the school offering summer school has no air conditioning? Does that sound beneficial? Healthy? Safe? Temperatures inside the classroom reading 98 degrees on the thermostat. How about that for the student with Epilepsy who’s seizures are triggered by heat exhaustion and dehydration. Sound safe? Healthy? Beneficial?

If that doesn’t have your attention, let’s turn up the heat a little more. Requiring teachers to supervise lunch for the students but not allowing them to eat. Not allowing them to sit down. Oh no, teachers must waste instructional time. While students eat inside the fiery furnace called the cafeteria, their teachers are commanded to stand and do flash cards or another educational task. Teachers are expected to not only suffer these conditions themselves, but to sit by and watch their students suffer, too. Every minute counts, right? Don’t waste precious time walking kids to the drinking fountain, either. The water is not only warm, it’s “against district policy” to use instructional time in too many transitions.

Yes, the fire has been lit, folks. Our kids, who deserve better, are being burned. They deserve the best and brightest education. Your highly qualified, certified teachers and their students are suffering in silence while those at the top are sitting inside their air conditioned offices on the phone with the next best corporation who’s in the running for the silver bullet. The next “new program” they will demand the teachers use in the classroom to bring up those test scores. Here’s an idea for administration and school boards.

If you want to bring up the scores and raise the achievement gap, turn down the heat on your teachers. Take some of the pressure off your teachers. If you can’t do it for them, do it for our students. Provide them with safe and healthy learning conditions. Foster an environment built on the foundation that our teachers and students deserve nothing short of the best. Stop burning the candle on both ends with the corporate world. They don’t know our students. You don’t know our students.

We, the teachers know our students. You want to know why your good, hardworking teachers are leaving the profession? They’re sick, physically and emotionally. They’re tired. They can’t stand being on the front line every single day sacrificing blood, sweat and tears, all to no avail. They, along with their students, are dying inside while fires set by you rage beneath them, threatening to extinguish all they’ve ever known and loved. Each other. Hang up the phone, step away from the computer in your chilled office and save our teachers and students from the blazing inferno you’ve put them in.

Signed,
One Fired Up Teacher

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The Walking Man is Still Walking – an Update and a Plea for Support!

I am Reblogging this from Jesse Turner’s blog!

The Walking Man is Still Walking – and could use some more support for the last days of his walk

SOS Go Fund Me shout out, I see a day coming where millions are marching..

A few pictures from some walk stops on my way to DC.
Some people are asking if my walk has a website. I am a one man PR machine with limited resources. I am using Facebook to pushed the walk. I am an activist that has for over a decade been fighting against high-stakes testing and NCLB.
In 2010 I stepped outside my local comfort fighting zone. I decided to push things nationally started walking to DC. Had no idea where it would lead me, but understood that silence and apathy was destroying our public schools. I do remember writing one of those Anthony Cody letters to President Obama, and understanding that no one in DC was listening to teachers. I started this blog right here, and a Facebook group called “Children Are more than test scores.”

I have no budget, no grants, no support staff, but I do have two feet made for walking, a voice made for talking, and a pen made for writing. I am not perfect or some kind of hero. I am a man on a quest for justice for our children, their teachers and public schools.
I believe in the “Power of One…that math concept that explains if you double a number starting with one..in 30 days you have millions. I see this struggle not in terms of 30 days, but a long term Power of One battle for the salvation of our children and our democracy.
So no website people, but a big heart, an open mind, and two strong feet made for walking. My faith in every day Americans to do the right thing inspires me. I see a time of millions marching coming. I see it coming sooner not later.
I read Man Of LaMancha when I was 10 years old, and fell in love with the thought of a knight errand on a quest to do right. I am in love with fighting the good fight.
I believe victory is coming, and even if I fall I know I am the better for it. As sure as night turns to day I see change coming.
Walking to DC,
Jesse

PS, I am 11 days from DC, could use a little help with my Go Fund Me campaign. I have been asking people to give 10 dollars for 10 miles. Every 10 dollars helps cover the cost of my Walking To DC campaign. No pressure, give if you can, and know just reading my blog inspires me to walk.
http://www.gofundme.com/JesseWalkingToDC

If you are wondering what song this walking man was listening to it’s Eric Clapton’s Change The World.
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The Walking Man Anthem – listen and learn

Jesse The Walking Man Turner has an anthem for his history making walk. When he came to WCSU in June, he met song writer Barry Finch from Ridgefield CT. Barry wrote this wonderful song for Jesse and his walk. Please listen and share far and wide.
IMG_1731 copyClick here to hear the anthem!

I will be posting the words to this song soon – stay tuned.

To support Jesse’s walk, please click here.

A Special Guest Posting from The Walking Man – Dr. Jesse Turner – “An Ode to Education”

From the Walking Man  – Dr. Jesse Turner

An Ode to Education

I Love Public Education
I cried the first time my Mother left me at your door,
I would learn to love you with every morning cookie and container of milk,
I would love you more with every song we sang within your hallowed walls,
I found your love in every teacher’s smile in your halls
I loved the reverence and respect you showed our flag every morning.
When the evil darkness of assassination
took the life of President Kennedy ~ you were there,
You calmed us, and helped us understand that although things could never be the same ~ our nation would be mended,
You kept us warm during the winters from 9:00 to 3:00 ~ when there was no heat in our old cold-water flat,
You were there when they murdered our heroes Martin and Bobby, to help us wipe away our tears,
You ensured that although they were taken from our world ~ these men would remain in our hearts forever,
You gave us hope through the riots and the protests,
You gave us color when there were no crayons in our homes,
You gave us poetry to ease our pain,
You gave us poetry to celebrate our lives,
You gave us history to give us roots,
You gave us geography, the stars and the moon landing ~ just to let us know we had no boundaries,
You taught us mathematics and science,
But most of all you gave us literature,
You gave us a love of books,
You handed us a little more of our dreams every single day,
You were there, year after year, as we spent our summer vacations under the cooling spray of fire hydrants ~ dancing in the streets,
As every summer ended we longed for another school year to begin,
You were beaming with pride at every graduation,
My loves still grows
I am confused by:
A nation’s leaders ~ who bash public schools at every opportunity,
An American media ~ that ignores 150 years of noble service to our nation’s children,
I find myself distraught ~ by the titans of industry, who blame you for every social ill, while they drink from the cup of plenty, time and time again,
I am troubled by their mantra of testing will save us,
I am saddened by their infatuation with fictional heroes like Superman, and homage to those with no real classroom experience,
I am bewildered by leaders who say teachers are the essential ingredients to success, and then in their next breath say our teachers are not good enough.
All I am I owe to you,
I can’t remember one single standardized test,
I do remember teacher after teacher telling us those tests were no measure of who we really are,
I remembered loving Mr. Bass’s reminders that poor boys and girls could be anything they dreamed,
His boys and girls were more than test scores,
We were his endless possibilities,
Yes, I love public education,
I love public education enough to fight for it,
I love public education enough to stand up for it,
I love public education enough to take it back from the
The billionaires club,
The politicians,
The policy makers,
The ones who only see test scores,
The ones who count numbers not tears,
The ones who refer to America’s children as “Data”
Yes, I love public education; enough to walk to Washington DC again in 2015.
Forever in your debt,
Jesse Turner

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You are all invited to take part in Jesse’s 400 mile walk from Central CT to Washington DC beginning this June 11th. Jesse be walking  to protest the education malpractice that is demoralizing parents, teachers, and turning our children into human capital.

He will be walking 400 miles in 40 days.

Please check out his FaceBook Event page.