Proficiently Yours, RW

Way back in the beginning of the school year (it was so long ago that I can barely recall it) the faculty here in the Minuscule Megalith of Miscreants was treated to a special visit and learning opportunity from none other than the County Asst. Fearless Leader In Charge of Comparing You to Other Schools. I know, it’s a rather unwieldy title, but that’s how important he is!

Anyway, the take-away message from that learning opportunity was (as best I was able to gather, being only a poor teacher), “Even though your school’s scores rank it as one of the best in the state, your teacher assessments were way too high compared to how lower performing schools rated their teachers, so we’re going to instruct your principals to rate your performances lower this year to bring them more into line with those other schools.”

Initially, our faculty was so overcome with emotion at being addressed directly by the County Asst. Fearless Leader In Charge of Comparing You to Other Schools that they completely failed to understand what he was saying. Now that we’ve had time to think about it we’re a little miffed, but what’s one more insult to public school teachers these days? After all, everyone already knows that we’re power-hungry, money-grubbing, alcoholic wannabe pedophiles who only took this job for the benefits package and the summers off.

Ordinarily that would have been the end of it. Educational decrees are like cold fronts; they sweep through with a lot of noise and bluster, but they leave just as quickly and are soon forgotten. Such would have been the case this time as well, until we were reminded that we have to fill out our PDPs (professional development plans) where we’re asked to identify our professional weaknesses and what strategies we intend to employ to address them.

This brought the whole sordid affair crashing back to reality for our staff and they have gotten miffed all over again. Trust me, you don’t want to see what happens when teachers in a right-to-work state during a recession do when they get miffed! Why, they’re likely to do exactly what they’re told and keep their righteous indignation very quiet so that no one overhears them!

(In case you were wondering, my professional weaknesses include a lack of dark sarcasm in the classroom, unrealistically high expectations for my students, and slightly too much cultural sensitivity. It’s going to be a very difficult year for me as I attempt to work on these issues, but I’m a true professional and I’m confident that I can get it done.)

So now our teachers are faced with a choice. They can either rate themselves according to how well they actually teach, rate themselves as “proficient” which is what we were told was the highest rating our principals were allowed to award us from here on out, or we could rate ourselves low so that when we’re evaluated by our principals we can “show growth.”

I was going to rate myself low, but let’s be honest; no one would believe that. So instead I’m going to rate myself as “Freakin’ Awesome” across the board. I’m not sure if that’s an actual category, but then again I’m not sure that I really care, either.

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