I got up early this morning – was at my church for a “clean the church” workday before 8:00.  I scrubbed scuff marks off the white pews for about an hour and a half, and then drove to my school where I’m spending the rest of my Saturday morning preparing for the evaluation/observation (i.e. comprehensive assessment) I’ll have on Tuesday. 

Words can’t express how much I dislike doing this.  The weather is gorgeous, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, it’s a cool and crisp fall day with spectacularly colored leaves on the trees, and here I sit – inside, at my desk preparing for my evaluation.  Instead of being outside helping RT clear the land for our house or back at church doing something truly worthwhile, I’m stuck inside completing meaningless paperwork.

The paperwork is mind-numbing.  What are my areas of strength as a teacher, and what are my reasons for selecting those areas of strength?  What are my areas for growth and the reasons for selecting those areas for growth?  That comprises the first two pages of paperwork.  I haven’t started on anything yet because I just hate it.

Then I must answer the following questions about the lesson I will teach on Tuesday morning – notice the explanations in parentheses for anyone who can’t figure out the first part:

(1)  What is the student goal(s)/objective(s) for the lesson?  (What is the ultimate desired outcome of this lesson?)  In the event that students are working on individual objectives, choose 2 or 3 students and provides their objectives.

(2) What information do you have regarding your students’ current abilities in relation to this objective(s) and how has this impacted the design of this lesson?

3.  What teaching strategies will you use to teach this objective? (How will you accomplish your objective(s)?)

4.  What are the student indicators of success within this lesson?  (What behaviors will you look for to determine whether or not the students are meeting the objective(s)?)

5.  Identify the data which will be collected to evaluate the students’ achievement of the goal(s)/objective(s).

6.  What future assessments will you use to determine the retention and ongoing application of today’s learning?

7.  What is the relationship of this lesson to the larger unit of study and to your annual goals?

8.  Do you have any concerns at this point regarding this lesson or these students?

Then there is another page for the “Reflecting Information Record” that has seven more questions to be done after the evaluation/observation.  I won’t bore you by writing those out.  Then there are (I SWEAR it’s true) SIX more pages of paperwork to finish after that.  There’s an “Educator Information Record” and “Professional Growth Plan” and a “Future Growth Plan.”  Right now I have no idea what the difference is in those last two.  Guess I’ll find out soon.

Yes,  I’m procrastinating by writing this post instead of working on the work (that’s a joke that some of my readers may get – depending on what books your school system requires you to read).  But REALLY, is all this paperwork crap necessary? 

(Warning: totally unrelated observation ahead)  Ahhh — looking out my window right now I see a bluebird on the corner of the building across from me.  How beautiful!  He just flew down and landed on the grass outside my window.  One bright spot in a rather dismal Saturday morning.

Back to the topic at hand:  I’ll get the work done.  I’ll go through the observation on Tuesday – and one or two more observations after that.  After over 25 years of teaching, it doesn’t bother me anymore to have a principal or anyone else watch me teach.  It’s second nature now.  But this #^%&%#%#% paperwork!  I hate it!  Why can’t I just SHOW how my lesson is guided by our county and state standards, and how the lesson was planned based on various assessments and student needs?   That’s just too practical.  Just as teachers have to assess and document students to death – so administrators must assess and document teachers to death. Did I mention how much I hate this process?  GRRRRR!

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6 Responses to “Being Evaluated – Is There ANYTHING more Time-Wasting or Aggravating?”

  1. David Says:

    One of the things that got me out of pubschools. You ask:

    “Why can’t I just SHOW how my lesson is guided by our county and state standards, and how the lesson was planned based on various assessments and student needs?”

    1.) CYA for the admin. At heart, pubschool administrators know they are the least useful (often the most obstructive) and usually the least intelligent people in the school… counting the janitors and the cooks. THEY certainly can’t answer those questions, and they know (also in their tiny lil hearts) that the questions are simply a way for them to play CYA when it comes time to justify their own existences.

    2.) Control. The more useless crap the admins can give the teachers, the more they can manage their real jobs: creating conditions where they can PROVE they meet the state standards, but continuing to place enough roadblocks between the tracher and actually teaching to be able to claim that they simply need more turf urm, money and teachers to get the job done right.

    3.) At last, admins are of the genus homo bureaucratus. This means that two things obtain:

    a.) Pournelle’s Iron law of Bureaucracy:

    …in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

    b.) Recall a sub-point of number 1: pubschool admins are arguably the least intelligent people in the public schools (just ask to compare your GRE scores, for example, with that of any pubschool admin). And, as Shaw observed (the centurion in Antony and Cleopatra), “When a stupid man does something he knows is wrong, he always claims it is his duty.” Administrators are only doing their duty when they require time-wasting, b.s. tasks from teachers.

    These factors, among many others, work to assure that you will ALWAYS be required to do any number of meaningless, time and energy wasting tasks… as long as remote management of schools by bureaucraps and their minions–the local administrators–continues to micromanage classrooms.

    But, hey! Who am I to comment? I left that scene a buncha years ago… Still love to teach, just refuse to suffer fools gladly.

  2. David Says:

    Oh, BTW, I’ve been suffering through some grad classes with my Wonder Woman, recently (her classes, not mine) and have been bemoaning the “quality” of education school profs. Another contributor to the burdens of the classroom teacher. Ed schools come up with lame ideas; politicians and educraps force them on local schools; local admins are too stupid or too dependent upon the system/their jobs (as obstacles to teaching/learning) to care/do anything constructive to allay the effects of remote micromanagement… and the problem feeds back into the system.

    (Yes, I do know that there are a few ed profs that are decent and intelligent and who actually know what it means to be teachers–just far too few. And yes, there are a few people in ed bureaucracies who are also decent people genuinely dedicated to education. Fewer still who have the mental horsepower, experience in the real world of teaching and sheer guts to do real good. Heck, there are even a couple–somewhere: one of the two I know is retired–of good pubscholl administrators. It’s not all negative news. -) And there are tons of teachers laboring valiently against the fall of night as it were… but they are all swimming upstream. *sigh*)

  3. David Says:

    And yes, I typoed “pubscholl” *sigh*

    :-)

  4. carol Says:

    I hear you, David. Thanks for the comments. I like the administrator intelligence info, but don’t think I’ll share that with my principal. Pubscholl – pubschool . . . who cares? -)

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  6. NYC Educator: November 2006 Says:

    Kramer auto Pingback[…] Knowledge Test. How well can you do?Carol of The Median Sib is preparing for what must be the evaluation to end all evaluations, as it seems to require so much paperwork it precludes her from doing anything else.Mr. R. at […]

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