I am weak sometimes.
I am not even sure were to begin on this one. Honestly I am feeling a bit down and don’t know what to do but vent and write about it. It is hard to explain to anyone who is not a teacher because they have no idea or reference to what I am talking about.
Today I found out that my test scores for being evaluated happens to be a 1. I know, to the average person that means absolutely nothing at all. To a teacher in my state though, it means that basically none of the kids in my classes showed any growth with what I taught in class. One hundred and eighty days of dedicated lessons that were presented with all the enthusiasm and tenacious drive that I exude like sweat on a hot day pretty much didn’t translate at all to the kids knowing anything on a test that is supposed to measure all the stuff I taught. Yep. They did not learn anything according to this test.
On top of that, being evaluated by a person who just scores a bit on the low side kind of deflates me a little. Now this can be a bit of moaning and groaning but seriously – basically I was a 2. Again, means nothing to the average Joe. Basically, being told that I scored a 2 is telling a teacher that they are just above incompetent. I am just a little more than a warm two legged human like babysitter that happens to share the same space as the students. The evals are completely subjective even though they have a check list to be able to make it objective.
I think that what the issue is, I guess, goes back to two things – moral and fear. How can a teacher have good moral when being beaten down so much? Really. I have a lesson every day and I give it the good ol' one-two. I am enthusiastic and motivated to do the best I can and to hold the course. I am giving the best way to remember and solve problems in the only way that I can. What more can be asked really?
Oh, but you do not understand how education works – it is never enough. NEVER. There is always more to ask and to do and to fill out and to jump through and to be beaten down with. . . . and . . . and. . . .and . . .
No. You cannot.
Not unless you are a teacher.
Fear though, that is my crutch right now. I have already had it on my mind: the whole losing my job thing. I have reminiscing about the one who, with deliberate effectiveness, was able to remove me from his school. I look at this #1 and think how easy it is for them (the education department) to create an opportunity to have hard core data to offer a principal to release me from my job again. It was really easy to do. Fail at getting tests together for the state, crash the whole system on line, wait until a week of useless testing has past, and then give the test last on a Monday after 5 days of meaningless tests. On top of all that, let the news broadcast that they test don’t count towards anything that will affect the kids but in silent glee make sure it still counts to teachers.
So I fear that this 1, this simple number that means nothing to the average person, is taking over my thoughts and emotions. It is lurking in the back of my mind whispering “incompetent. . . incompetent . . . incompetent.” My rational mind is resisting the silliness of this background noise. My rational mind is telling me that there are many many in my boat. My rational mind knows that my principal knows this is not a true measure of me. The little child that sits in the back corner that had been beaten down, though, is whimpering. That little part of me that still remembers is trembling. That is the part that is peeking around the corners and tickling the flutter buttons on my heart. And I hate it. I hate that it is still there and that it still affects me. I am ashamed of it a bit.
I know that I have no reason to feel this way. I know that I am better than average and that I am solid with my style and pedagogy. I know that most will think what I am thinking and feeling silly. I know all this in my mind. But then, it is hard to hide from my past and my feelings. It is a prison inside with my own mind and fears and trepidations. I fight and reason with them but in the end, how do you reason with feelings? Feelings exist with no reason. It is a losing battle to fight against feelings.
So I am going to carry on. All will be alright. I am sure it will all blow over just like in past years with failed attempts of “authentic” evaluations.
But then again, that is not the issue in the first place.