Thursday, September 5, 2013

Loving the bomb

My dear friend and colleague, Mr. Pop, sighed and said "I think we should stop worrying and love the bomb."

Of course, I immediately pictured my self riding a nuclear missile, cowboy hat in hand, "woo-hooing" about the fact that I was going to blown to bits soon.

This is obviously hyperbole, but I find I really do have to consciously fight the feeling that we're not all going to be "blown to bits." Now, Mr. Pop went on to say that it would benefit us all to become versed in Danielson's domains and be able to say, for example - "Little Timmy is leaving the classroom to use the bathroom every 30 minutes because he's an 8 year old who needs to be toilet trained.  Domain 1, B and C - knowing the student and setting outcomes!"

Will that work? I don't know. You can shoot the lock off the soda machine to get change and call President Muffley and try to prevent nuclear war, but you'd have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company.

Well, that's stretching the metaphor a bit.

But it is kind of sad that many of us feel like we have to be able to call out "2-D, 3-A" etc in order to prove what we do fits into this very subjective evaluation rubric. We feel like we have to love the bomb in order to survive. (This just popped into my head - the US and Finland have a "mineshaft gap!" I'm going to have to attempt Dr Strangelove as an allegory or metaphor for public education today in some parallel universe wherein i'm getting a PhD in political economy.)

Anywho...where was I? Oh yes, the bomb, Dimitri. Calling out Danielson domains in the middle of everything in order to prove I know what I'm doing. Kid needs a drink of water, water fountain is down the hall - 1D demonstration of knowledge of resources!Reflecting on teaching - 4A - reflection on don't do that.

There are some aspects of this framework  I actually am interested in, engaging the kids in learning more, better classroom management - but the thing  is - EVERYONE is interested in that. And it's going to look very different in my D75 classroom than it will in a general education setting. I have some fanstastic colleagues and I will say the paranoia about the new evaluations is helping us to think and collaborate more.

But that's because my colleagues are fantastic, and have a sense of humor. i'm afraid all this 2D, 4A stuff is real and crazy. "loving the bomb" will make me, I fear, focus less on the kids and their needs and more about not being able to pay the bills. i have already felt the quality of my practice decline a bit - a comment on previous post wrote about how getting Danielson'ed often leads to positive aspects of a lesson gettting minimized or ignored, and minor aspects worthy of a positive suggestion or two are magnified as major errors. ( AS Lewis wrote that, i'm too lazy to link today). I operate how most  students operate, lots of praise for the good, positive suggestions for the bad. And I tend to shut down when I'm feeling judged unfairly. (Ore my purity of essence is being drained..sorry, last one)

So some positives:
The principal and chapter leader at my school explained at the 1st day PD that everyone, especially higher ups in D75 are very concerned about how the new teacher evals will work. One of them told the entire staff that it is indeed true that Ms Danielson herself said she doesn't think her rubric or framework is appropriate for special ed (Good job, Charlotte - Domain 4 , A Reflecting on practice!)
they also explained that those purportedly "rare" cases where the student  scores aren't great but the teacher does well with observations would obviously be more of the norm in D75, because of the very nature of the district - and that we'd probably not get fired this year, but we'd better start adapting because we need to "love the bomb."

Hi Mom! Woo-hooo!