Failing Teachers



A fellow teacher recently told me that this was her last year teaching, I wish I could say I was surprised, but I'm not.  She isn't the first teacher who has told me she's done, honestly I've lost count of the amazing teachers who have left the classroom.  I'm not really sure that anyone ever notices.  When I asked this teacher to tell me why she was leaving, tears started to fill our eyes.  In fact, they're still flowing as I write this post.  She recounted what we all know.  The work load that we are assigned is never done.  We are compelled to earn endorsement after endorsement that we pay for.  We spend hours away from our families during our personal time to receive these endorsements and receive no pay for the time.  All of these requirements are taking us away from our students who need us.  These students are facing circumstances that you can't even imagine.  Divorce, child abuse, neglect, loss of loved ones, hunger, just to name a few.  This is happening in all of our schools, not just the ones that you see in the news.  We need to be there to help these children, but we are too stressed to think clearly.  To top it off, we have an evaluation system that tells us in no uncertain terms that we just can't do it all, EVER.  We are left feeling inadequate.  The extra hours and energy that we are spending in the classroom leave us in turmoil at home.  We can't keep up with all of the demands that are placed on us, so we are left feeling inadequate at home as well.  The message that teachers have received is "You are never good enough".

Bill and Melinda Gates honored my district with a $100 million grant (one-hundred-million-dollars).  They did this with the understanding that our district would match the grant money, that's $200 million dollars.  Their objective:  to improve student achievement by rethinking how best to support and motivate teachers to elevate their game during the adoption of the Common Core curriculum and beyond. (http://www.tampabay.com/news/perspective/perspective-progress-made-but-still-gauging-impact-of-gates-100-million-in/2176739)  This objective was translated in our district by hiring good teachers out of the classroom to become teacher evaluators.  Our evaluation system is pages and pages long evaluating us on every nuance that could ever happen in the classroom all in the span of a twenty minute lesson to an hour long lesson.  No part of the evaluation system in itself is evil, each area individually sounds reasonable.  I would even dare to say that you could meet all of the requirements in a lesson. We still have to ask what this system costs the student, teacher and administrators? It takes hours upon hours of time to prepare a lesson that would meet the accomplished and exemplary ratings.  These are the two acceptable ratings.  I keep reading that we are provided with more meaningful feedback at the conclusion of these lessons than prior to the new evaluation system.   I personally have not been given information that is more meaningful to me as a teacher than I was before the new system.  In fact, I have spent quite a bit less time with my administration because most of their time is spent doing half of our evaluations.  That's right, in my district we are double evaluated, by the peer evaluator and administrator.  There is no data that supports that this evaluation system is providing a higher quality education for our students.  In reality, the data shows that the students in elementary schools are fairing no better.  

My colleagues and I have seen something strange happen over the last year.  We thought that we had figured the whole evaluation system out.  We were receiving scores that made us proud, then all of a sudden part of the teacher's pay was going to be linked to the evaluation scores.  My teaching has improved according to the stakeholders that observe my classroom, but my scores are slipping. Areas where I had always received exemplary were now accomplished.  In some cases these scores were dropped even lower.  Evaluators were sent back for re-calibration (that means they had to fine tune the scores they were giving).  Now I certainly hope that we didn't recalibrate our evaluators so our teachers don't score beyond a means that we can pay them.  Surely I must be mistaken by correlating these two events, but I doubt it.

Teachers don't like talking about feeling inadequate.  We would prefer to quietly work away in our classrooms doing what is best for our students.  We certainly don't want people thinking that we are inept at our jobs.  These feelings keep teachers from talking to people outside of the classroom honestly about what is happening.  Please understand that teachers aren't well.  The reality is that at the very least they are stressed beyond a healthy means.  I personally cannot control my autoimmune disease because stress triggers my symptoms.  Some teachers have had nervous break downs, certified breakdowns as diagnosed by a psychiatrist.  Some have gone to their doctors and been prescribed medication for anxiety.  Others have increased unhealthy lifestyles to compensate for their stress.  Others are just leaving the classroom for a less abusive environment.  These are not rare cases.  I can no longer find a teacher in the classroom that enjoys teaching under these means.  Where is our union? Where are the sane people that should be supporting us? Possibly they are all on the "I Hate Common Core" bandwagon.  Too busy to notice what the real problem is because they are sheep believing everything that they read on Facebook.  

So how do we fix this mess that we are in? I'm personally going to focus on what's important in the classroom, my students.  When I leave the classroom, I'm going to focus on my family.  I'm going to rely more on my intuition of what is right, and less on what other people tell me.  I'm going to try really hard to care less about this ridiculous evaluation system.  We need to stand up for what's right and tell stakeholders "no" when they add more to our list.  I'm also pleading with everyone to rally together to help with a resolution to this problem.  Let's fix it together before it gets ugly.  If nothing changes and I have to choose, I choose my family.  It doesn't have to be that way though, we don't have to keep losing good teachers.  Stakeholders can fix this problem.  Get rid of this ridiculous evaluation system.  Spend the money on allowing mentors to come in the room and collaborate with the teachers, side by side in an environment that supports learning.  Stop adding to the teacher's list!  Let us focus on our lesson plans and students.  Allow administrators to walk into the classroom and determine if we are doing a good job with a simple checklist and an end of the year evaluation. Please stop over complicating classroom responsibilities and leave the teaching to the people who are most qualified- the teachers.

54 comments:

  1. Everything in this post is spot on. Literally every situation you described is happening at my school as well, including the "re calibration" of our evaluators. What our evaluation system is doing to our teachers- our exemplary, teacher of the year, honestly amazing teachers- is sickening. And the poor new teachers that come in get hit with it just as hard. I am one of those teachers who tried quitting after my first year- which is actually how I ended up on a career path to school psychology. The new assistant principal at my school recently attended a training on the evaluation system. She was horrified at what she was supposed to be learning. In our district (same district as Amy's), teachers who are rated "exemplary" are supposed to be thought of as "unicorns". And to top off that ridiculousness, the evaluators giving the training had unicorn pins on their shirts. (?!) What do we know about unicorns? They don't exist! Why do we have an evaluation system where the highest category you could receive is practically unattainable. We sure wouldn't do that to our students, it would squash their motivation, dreams, happiness. Which is exactly what it is doing to teachers.

    Thank you for posting this Amy. I am behind you on every word.

    Kristin from The Therapeutic Teacher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristin, It goes without saying that I feel your pain. I am horrified at the prospect of some evaluators wearing unicorn pins. That angers me beyond belief. If there is a rating that is unattainable then they shouldn't have it on our evaluation. It goes so much deeper than the evaluation system. They won't stop asking us to do more until we say NO! If we won't say no for ourselves, then we need to say it for the kids.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for this post Amy!! I hear your cries and feel your pain and worries. It's 9 weeks into the school year and I have had my formal observation from my principal and several of my teammates have had informal observations already. (Side note, we teach Kindergarten!!! 6-9 weeks into the year for observations in a Kindergarten class??!!!) My formal observation with my peer evaluator is scheduled for 2 weeks from now. (I've never met my "peer"...) My observation results from my principal are probably posted, but I don't need to look at them to know how I did. I know how I did because I watched my students throughout the lesson. I know I did what I needed to do...for my students! Thank you for speaking up on behalf of all the stressed out, overwhelmed teachers out there. You have my support Amy!!!
    -Elyse @ A is for Apples

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel your pain Elyse! My observation with my peer was 2 weeks ago. I don't have everything "introduced" or "in order" that early in the year. We should be glad they are raising their hands ;) haha

      Kristen
      Loving Teaching Inspiring

      Delete
    2. Elyse, How funny that you were the 3rd comment into this article I was reading. Don't worry about looking at your score because it's been a month and mine still are not up. Plus you are an amazing teacher with or without the scores. :)

      Delete
  3. Elyse, I have a deep respect for my kindergarten colleagues. The fact that they evaluate anyone in elementary school within the same standards that they are evaluating high school teachers is mind boggling. Keep your head up and make a difference. Learn to say NO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's my personal favorite: an evaluation system that is so vague it can be used for grades K-12! I wouldn't even evaluate k and 1 with the same tool! Plus, most evaluators don't even have experience in K and 1 and they're judging me? So stupid! All in the name of DATA and accountability. Because if our students are failing we can ALL point that finger at the teachers, not any other factor...
      Thanks for saying what we dare not!
      ~Andi

      Delete
  4. Amy,
    We both know how much I agree with every word you just wrote. I'm actually sitting here on my couch working on report cards during my girls naptime because I don't have the time at school. My house work is just not getting done today because I have to get this done. It's ridiculous. I think I also need to learn to say NO.

    XoXo,
    Kristen
    Loving Teaching Inspiring

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What would I do without you Kristen? We have to start saying no to working from home. We can do this!
      xoxo, Amy

      Delete
    2. Amy, Kristen... NO more work at home!!! I said it in my blog post! Don't make me check up on you .... cause I'll do it. I have your numbers now ;)

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much! This is my 6th year teaching and the first time I have ever felt beyond overwhelmed and over worked. It's the first time I've ever spent more time working from home or staying late. It's the first time I have ever felt inadequate at my job. It feels like no one cares and we are left to fend for ourselves. I say, RALLY! We need to be more than just a whisper in the ears of the stakeholders making triple our pay. They were in a classroom once. Have they forgotten what it's like? We need a voice. A big voice. Spread the word!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you Angela. It's time for a change. It's time that we stand up for ourselves because no one else will. Keep your head up!

      Delete
  6. Amy, even as a teacher of 17 years, I'm still in a panic when I get that email informing me of an upcoming observation. My future daughter -in-law is considering a change of career after this year - this is her 4th year teaching. A shame and a waste of awesome talent is being driven away, even when their heart is in it.
    Debi M, ESE teacher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Debi! I'm tired of that panicked feeling! It makes me sad that she's considering leaving. It's better now then when she has 17 years invested. We will get through this together.

      Delete
  7. Mrs. Labrasciano, thank you so much for writing about what no one in upper management seems to want to address. I say, “lets drag the elephant out from under the carpet”!

    Unfortunately my sorrow runs very deep after my EET evaluation from the 2013-2014 school year. After being a “highly effective” ESE teacher for years in our county I dared to make a bigger difference in the lives of students with disabilities as an ESE Specialist in a title I school. I wanted to ensure ESE student were getting the instruction, technology and resources they needed to be the very they could be. Isn’t this why we all go into teaching; to make a difference in the lives of students?

    Well, last year as a ½ ESE Specialist and ½ time ESE teacher, I was evaluated on the “old system” but this paper evaluation did not even evaluate what I did in these two roles. Instead my evaluation consisted of questions like the following:

    • Did I demonstrate skills in mental health counseling, crisis intervention, application of suicide prevention techniques when appropriate?

    • Did I adhere to appropriate clinical standards when engaged in mental health counseling and/or consultation?

    This evaluation did not evaluate my performance on ANY of the functions I performed as an ESE Specialist. I was also given a VAM score, another ache in my heart. I had decided in the spring of last year that I wanted to be back just teaching students because, this the part I love, was not afforded to me last year but still I was evaluated on this based solely on student test scores. Instead of being able to teacher students “assigned to me” I was asked to teacher in self-contained classrooms that did not have ESE certified teachers, the entire year, as well evaluate students using the Brigance and then FAA State Assessment. Anytime there was testing to be done…yep, I had to give up teaching my students.

    With the above being said, the score that will be submitted to the State of Florida is that I “need improvement” after being “highly effective” for years. This breaks my heart because anyone at my former school will tell you I gave it my ALL! I started work before 6:30am and usually did not leave until after 7:30pm. I performed the other duties as assigned by the building administration (as listed on my job description) even when those duties were considered maybe “sketchy” at best and even when they were not in the best interest of students.

    So should I hang my head low as I have now been deemed as “needing improvement” and have ruined a honorable reputation I earned over the course of 10 years or do I dare drag that elephant out from under that carpet and get teachers, administration and those in leadership positions to start having real conversations? Do I yell out the word “ SLANDER” as now I have a “black mark” on my teaching record? I just do not know. What I do know is I sadly have had enough and I join the ever increasing number of teachers that feel burned-out, exhausted and unjustly inadequate.
    Thanks again!

    Ms. Craig

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my dear friend, This is such an injustice to you and all of the teachers who fall into the same category as you do. I am so very sorry that you have to face this. There is no easy answer. How will things get better if we don't start the conversation? Silence hasn't done us any good up to this point. Good luck in whatever you decide.
      Sincerely, Amy

      Delete
    2. Ms. Craig - I completely feel you! Completely. I'm an ESE teacher and years of Highly Effective seem to mean nothing when my grade level was changed (K-1 to Pre-K) and while my test and development scores were as they should be, my students learned so very much, but it was my EET that kept me up at night... not my students, not reaching them and being the best teacher I could be for THEM... it was EET that killed my drive and has cut the legs from under me. Last year I was considered "effective." This year, my grade has drastically changed AGAIN (Pre-K to 3-5 grade) at a new school. I'm thankful to leave my old school and really enjoy the people I work with - when we aren't stressing about EET during lunch or planning meetings. I can't tell you how stressed I am over EET observations that don't consider the needs of emotionally disabled students who have very challenging behaviors. I am expected to meet the same standards as traditional teachers K-12 (which is impossible to fathom any rubric meeting even those conditions!).

      I have spent literally all day today (started at 9am, finished at 9:55) planning for my three grades (all subjects in a self-contained classroom). I could only spend dinner time with my family, that my husband had to cook because I was so far behind in my weekend planning because of grades and ESE progress reports, because I had three meetings this week for my ESE students.... the list goes on. There isn't enough time in the day, the week, yet there seems to be enough work for three teachers on the shoulders of one... and this is ALL OF US.

      Delete
  8. Amy,

    Very well said!! I'm in Texas and most of what you are saying is true here this year as well. I am not sure why I don't think it is any one change particular but this year since I service has been OVERWELMING to say the lest! I just keep thinking if we voice our concerns and others realize they are not alone we can all come together for support get the word out and take back our classrooms!

    Chelsea
    Kickin It Whole Brain In Texas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chelsea, I hope that voicing our concerns work. It would be what's best for the students, administrators and teachers. My thought is that we will have to start taking action by refusing to do certain tasks that are asked of us. Here's to hoping for the best case scenario.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  9. Amy, thank you for putting into words what I felt over the last five possibly ten years of my teaching career. Since teaching was a second career for me which I began at the age of 40, by the time my 24th year rolled around and I was making less money yet working longer hours than in my first five years to accomplish everything you list in your essay, I had a legitimate out--retirement. And that is what I did this past fall. But sadly I left behind friends and colleagues who have 5-10 years left before they can retire, and my heart aches for them. Everything you say is true in my district, other than the evaluations tied to student test scores. By the grace of some momentary enlightenment, our state legislators did not throw teachers under the bus and rejected that piece of proposed legislation last year. But that was at a cost to all the schools in Washington state that are now labeled as "failing schools" and are left with fewer financial resources because of that vote. The public is angry because they don't understand why tying evaluations to test scores is a bad idea even though to do so would have been akin to blackmail or bribery since it was tied to receiving money from the Feds. Like you, I worked well beyond school hours on both ends of the school day. I gave up evenings and Sundays to grade tests and essays ( I taught middle school ELA); I attended both district required and self-selected professional development sessions to stay at the top of my game; I became a National Board Certified teacher; I made phone calls and wrote e-mails to parents to establish and maintain connections; in short, I spun as many plates as I possibly could and picked up those that fell and worked them back into the mix. Yet in the end, it never seemed good enough. There was always one more district initiative to add, one more training to take, one more reflection to write for the TPEP evaluation. However, as uncommon as it was for me to say no, that is precisely what I did my last year since I considered myself no longer a stake-holder in any of the new initiatives. And how could any evaluation help me to become a "better" teacher when this was my last year? Ironically, my last year was one of my best teaching years simply because I didn't care about all the crap any more, and I just taught what I knew kids needed to know and in the way that suited both me and my students. But those who still see teaching as a calling and everyday fight the good fight are hurting and burning out. It is for them that I grieve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, Thank you so very much for sharing your story with us. I should have added retirement as a viable option that many teachers are taking. I can't count how many teachers have taken this option in lieu of enduring more in the classroom. It would be so nice if we could turn off our emotions so that we can get done what needs to be done and nothing else.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  10. Amy - as an evaluator who is 100% on board with you (and someone who would never be a part of the kind of evaluation you're describing), I love this piece. In fact, I'd love to evaluate the evaluation! Meaning, add my signature to what you're saying! I did one evaluation, in which we compared the experiences of early childhood teachers who were coming into the public schools versus those who remained in community programs. While the public school teachers were happier with their salaries and benefits, they were overwhelmed with the excessive evaluations they were required to do (as you describe), and had MUCH less time to actually teach. This was compared to teachers in community programs who were paid less but were happier with their jobs because they could actually teach. This blog post articulates the problem beautifully and I will re-post it, as I hope tons of others will also. It is a voice that must be heard! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ms. Fried, Thank you so much for offering your perspective on my post. Reading all of the comments solidifies that fact that we could all work together to come up with a better means. I would love for you to evaluate our evaluation. I would be happy to help being that I have a very thorough knowledge of the rubric that is used. I'm sure that most teachers would take less pay to have more autonomy in the classroom. I for sure would!
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  11. This is my 10th year teaching and also my last. This was a second career for me also that I began at 42. Nothing I ever heard or dreamed of regarding teaching came close tho the reality of especially the last few years. All of the things mentioned above and more that take me away from teaching my kids have drained the soul out of me. It's really sad to me but nothing could get me to come back for another year. I'm using the energy I get from interacting with some wonderful kids to get me through many of these 180 days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tell my interns all the time that teaching is nothing like what they think it is! It is so sad. Keep your head up high.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  12. This is EXACTLY everything I am feeling now. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh Amy I am sitting here teary eyed after reading your post. I had one of our wonderful formal observations yesterday after receiving an email informing me of it the day before. Everything in your post is what lies on my heart and I too am one of the statistics taking anxiety drugs thinking about walking away from it all. I too am reminding myself daily to keep eye, not in my scores but my little people who so desperately need us. I have no idea how my observation from yesterday will be scored. I do know though that one of my struggling learners that often has difficulty engaging in class, made his way back to our meeting space yesterday so we could debrief and share our learning and discoveries, and as he sat down he looked up at me with a smile on his face and said "Mrs. Walker I just did things I didn't know I could do. That was great!" It's not easy for me, or any of us as teachers who want desperately for our kids to achieve and be valued for our undying work, but at the end of each day I am looking for these moments, because it is these small moments that speak to who we are as teachers, and no evaluation score can ever encapsulate what we truly pour into our kids. Hold your high high and teach on confidently knowing you are not alone in your quest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ms. Moss, Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so proud of you and your little ones. The education pendulum will swing back in favor of teachers and students. We just have to keep nudging it on it's way.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  14. Thank you for putting in words what so many of us are feeling. Fear, anxiety, inadequacy... and the need to go back to doing what is BEST FOR OUR CHILDREN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so welcome! We will come through this together.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  15. Hillsborough County Teachers,

    You have had multiple opportunities to rid yourselves of the Gates funded EET monster. You could have elected Joe Thomas as HCTA president; instead you choose Jean Clements, Gates Cheerleader, again.

    You had two opportunities to put Michael Weston on the School Board. You did not come out.

    There are three School Board seats up for election this Tuesday. Once again, you will not come out. Most teachers have no idea what any of the candidates stand for.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am in 100% agreement with everything you said. So many teachers hate it. I read somewhere that the design of the evaluation makes it impossible. We have to PROVE we don't suck by uploading a million documents on to an electronic platform. It leaves teachers feeling completely disheartened. I wish I wasn't stuck in a contract. Had I known this is how it was going to be, I never would have signed at the end of last year. I'm half dead from just 12 weeks and I have 24 more weeks of the school year. I will be admitted to the looney bin before much longer. 18 years in and THIS mess happens. I'm a Home Ec. teacher who's budget has dwindled to nothing and awesome classes like fashion design/sewing/Family Life have been slowly taken away from the curriculum. Now we're teaching straight from a 10 year old book or having to get everything online. Expected to be RIGID AND NO FUN anymore :( I am a teacher of 9th graders. I've got one block that's a DOOZY. It was suggested to me that I intimidate and scare them because they can be disorderly. They have poor communication skills and bad disciplinary records from before they were mine, but I am told its my fault if they aren't behaving right. Now I am supposed to magically turn it around by grouping them into learning groups by studying their data. I have to print the data and hand write the lists of student groups along with grades and reading scores to prove I am grouping for differentiation. This takes FOREVER. And required for my TKES effectiveness rating. That grouping didn't work!!! Now I am told to rule with an iron fist in order to improve for my TKES evaluation. I was told to go in and be a "smackdown" dictator on the low functioning bunch who have a difficult time with being quiet, staying on task and cooperating. Even so, many of the kids are great individuals who have a difficult time focusing in a room of 34 others who can't focus. And for my evaluation they were the same. So I get low score of 2 instead of 3 and the administration in charge of that was literally rolling his eyes during the evaluation. It's FAR from an advanced group of angels... Well I can't do that dictator bit. That makes me more miserable on top of everything that you said in the blog. I will NOT sign another teacher contract. Trying to get through this year without being labeled as a bad teacher on this education reform program. I have not the will to dictate and "scare" the kids to get from a 2 to a 3 rating in the positive class environment area. I am so disgusted! I have always had the same type of kids, but the administration used to be realistic about handling them day by day. Never been marked low until this impossible system. I am just counting down the days!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is my best hope that we will see changes soon. Hopefully we can all go to the polls next week and make a difference.
      Best regards, Amy

      Delete
  17. So sad to read and unfortunately we are facing similar in the UK. To all teachers out there, wherever you are in the world- you are awesome. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly, Thank you for leaving a comment. It's very interesting to see that we do this to teachers across the world. Keep your head up.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  18. Amy - GREAT post and so true.. WE ALL need to stand together. I tell my colleagues all the time - DO the BEST you can ~ but focus on what is important in your life. There are many people out there who are set on destroying the Public Education system... We cannot let this ruin our health and our families. I could go on and write a very long post, but I am not going to. The bottom line is - Always do what is best for your students- that is our job... but never allow the outside forces that may be take away the love you have for your career. We continue to lose amazing teachers because people who know nothing about education are making changes that are not in the best interest of students... period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, You are so right with your thoughts. Thank you for the support.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  19. I agree totally with your comments and am just glad I am not alone in my feelings about these ridiculous evaluations. I have never felt more "discouraged", definitely NOT "empowered", since I started teaching in 1980! I have always had positive evaluations, have my Masters degree in my field, and earned my National Board certification. Last year I was evaluated by an inexperienced peer who, after about an hour in my room (45 min. formal and 20 min. informal observations) caused me to go from Highly Effective to Effective and lose $2,000! I did the same exact lesson for my AP and my peer. She loved it, he tore it apart. Quite a subjective measure that is so damaging to a teacher! I am so bitter, demoralized, and frustrated that I don't even want to put forth any effort at work, and I have always been such a good teacher! Awful system. And I do read about who to vote for and cast my ballot as such. We need to at some point stand together and make teaching rewarding and NOT discouraging! Thanks for reading, listening....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a sad state that we are in. At dinner with colleagues last night, we recapped exactly what you are saying. I think that it is most difficult for those of us who have watched our scores go down. It would be hard to believe that we are less effective as teachers with the experience that we have gained. A parent asked me to do something "extra" last week and I had to say no. It was explained to her that we just have too much on our plates at the moment. These are sad times. Find joy in the classroom. Find joy in your life. We cannot let these times define who we are. It will get better.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  20. Yes I feel all of what your saying. I cannot believe how bad it is now for teachers. I am not sure why the unions pretend they can help teachers anymore. Obviously most unions cannot do anything with all of the 'absolute power' that administrators have. In my district, they appear to be able to help by having meetings and promoting the credit unions etc. However, anytime a teacher goes to them about issues, the reps are always able to answer for the administrators.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree with you. Every year I calculate how much I would save by canceling my union dues. My union finally came out and said that they want to change the evaluation system. We'll see if they do.

      Delete
  21. So true! I have stopped working at home as much but i feel overwhelmed. I have had to see a doctor about stress but they tell me what I know. I just don't know how to turn it off. If I can find something outside teaching I am leaving. Sad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I pray that you find a way to manage your stress. After living the school year with my words, it has become much better. I leave it at school most of the time. I don't stress about what people want of me. My students are thriving just like they have in the past. Only now they have a happier teacher.
      Best regards, Amy

      Delete
  22. I found your post link on FB today and I'm thankful. I'm in a different state, but all of your words ring true. This week, spring break, I will be seeing a dr regarding stress and my autoimmune disease. My blog has been neglected this school year because I just don't know what to say... Well, I do, but it doesn't feel safe. And that sums up quite a lot of the problem- who can we trust?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chrissy, I'm so sorry that you have to visit the doctor. I know the feeling. I go every 6-12 weeks to monitor my bloodwork. I encourage everyone to open up about our state of affairs. I don't think that it could get any worse. If it does, we must move on to a different profession knowing that we did everything we could for our children.
      Take care of yourself, Amy

      Delete
  23. I have been teaching over 20 years and have had 14 different principals in that time. I've always received "excellent" evaluations regardless of who the principal was ... until 2 years ago when we switched to Marzano's evaluation. Now I'm just average in my performance. Isn't that odd? Principal after principal thought I was top notch. Now I'm not. Go figure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's very odd indeed. We are under the Charlotte Danielsen model. She has said that she does not approve of the way her model is being used. I find it even stranger that we received no training prior to the evaluation system. One would think that they would want to set us up for success. It's even stranger that the scores are going down. My theory is that they are off setting it by training the new teachers how to do well. I mentor final interns and see this consistently now. New teachers cost a lot less. Thank you for taking the time to write. I hope that I make it to 20 years.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  24. It is sad to note that teachers do not receive the simple recognition they deserve, and are further insulted by being evaluated by those who know less than they do. In many places the powers that be are hoping the older (more expensive) teachers will quit, so they can hire the cheaper ones in their place. Don't ever think it is about you. It is never about you. It is about politics and money. Anxiety and migraines and stress beyond measure...I retired last year and have more peace since doing so, but still miss doing what I was so awesome at!
    That is one reason why I have turned to blogging (http://onerealreader.blogspot.com/) and working on products on TPT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you 100%. I just wrote as much to the comments above. Thank you for stopping by. I hope to follow in your footsteps.
      Take care, Amy

      Delete
  25. Your post put into words what I have been feeling for the last three years. The similarities in our district are strikingly similar... Does your district start with a H? You just told my story and many of my colleagues' stories. I'm leaving the classroom after 7 1/2 years to tutor students instead. I can no longer take the stress and feelings of never being "good" enough.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well said. I have taken this year "off" to write teacher resources (I'll be returning to teaching next year for the money- go figure!). There is so much I like about teaching, so much. But I am sad to admit how much this year has made me realize what a difficult job it is. When in session, I'm working 50+ hours a week. And these hours, as the choir I'm preaching to already knows, is emotionally involved, in front of audience, and pulls away from my family. I keep thinking how I can go back next year and teach in a way that does not sap my life so much. I'm happy I won't have evaluators for it!

    ReplyDelete