Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hopes and Fears, Fears and Hopes...

I taught summer school, which was finished  about a week ago, and now I have about 2 and 1/2 weeks off.

I have not really been able to enjoy my vacation (and I have tried, thank you,  box o' wine)  - I;m feeling rather anxious and fearful about next year. Like it's a 2 and a 1/2 week long  Sunday night anxiety kind of thing.

My greatest supporters, like my mom Mrs Rim and husband Mr Rim are starting to question my sanity. They wonder if i'm being anxious and melodramatic because they remember me being that way when I was 19...or  my first year teaching , or after drinking a box o' wine.

I'm also starting to question my own sanity a bit - because a number of the teaching techniques I used have all of a sudden become "ineffective" or "developing" (well, we all develop, but ya know what I mean) when they were lauded about a year or so ago. See previous posts for specifics about that.

Im fearing that the Common Core, Danielson, and the new NYC evaluation system will cost me my job and livliehood.

There are a number of interesting components in each of these areas that i think I could probably learn about and adapt to my classroom with training and practice. And I am confident in saying this  may take more time in my special ed school that serves the neediest students - students with developmental disabilities so "severe" that they are still learning to trace their name at 10 years old, to give an example.

And this is what I fear, and what I have already experienced a bit the last time I was observed using the Danielson rubric...

I fear that all of this has been implemented too soon, too fast and without the proper vetting
I fear that I will be "forcefeeding" concepts to the students that are not ready for it in the name of progress and "transformative innovation  gooddisruption"
I fear that if I stand up to it, or even if I do what "they' want but "they" know I disagree with some of it then my work life will be made miserable oor I'll lose my job
I fear that no matter how hard i try, i'll never hit enough points on the rubric - or i'll never be good enough
I fear that this will happen to my colleagues too.
I fear most of all that my colleagues and I get scared enough about our own livliehood that we end up teaching these cognitively disabled children things that look good on a bulletin board ...
And that even if we do that it still wont be "good enough."

This is a real fear that i think even Mr and Mrs Rim don't get...but I'm sure most other teachers do.
So in order to preserve my sanity, here are my hopes, very specifically for a special ed teacher next year:

- I hope the teachers have collaborative meetings about teacher stuff- recommending content for units, commenting in how to enrich the "special ed curriculum" we have  (I'm being generous here, its ULS) but we should collaborate on things that mean things for the students - maybe we take 6 or 8 weeks to do a unit -
And that the people who are able to make judgement calls about that do so
- I hope that , recognizing how many systems we have in place for data tracking and seeing as the students we serve need lots of time, we can tone it down a lot and just do something tried and true every 6 months ...maybe 4 if you are really pressured
-I hope that the administrators- who are between a rock and a hard place, decide to stand up and fight for their staff and what they know is the right thing for the students. I appreciate that their jobs are on the line too, but I think they will find a greater deal of support and less tension even if they give lip service to their staff. Also, they have a union too. I hope they use that.
-I also hope that I can survive this for a bit while keeping my job, and when the pendulum swings and I can get on with it, that the next classes of kids learn.
-And I also hope the next fad in education is listening to teachers. Like Finland