The other shoe…

I’ll start with this email, which was not a surprise because I had these results as of 8:50 this morning, but the very gentle wording is both amusing and alarming at the same time. It also set up what may turn into a rant…haven’t decided yet.

So, yeah. As a result of being found to “not meet standards” by one or more of my evaluators (it’s so cute that they think it’s a secret…we literally SIGN the reports after we read them before we send them to the TQP, who then sends out this lovely form letter). In my case, it was one evaluator. I have had 4 in the time I’ve been at WGHS. 3 have never done anything but rave, marking me as “meets standards” in every conceivable area and writing narratives that sound like my mother would have written them (but with less self-deprecation). As a matter of fact, I have never gotten anything LOWER than a “meets standards” with the exception of ONE area in my first year of teaching. It may have been classroom management, and that was on a scale of “does not meet,” “needs improvement,” “nearing standard,” “meets standard,” and “exceeds standard.” I got a “needs improvement, and it was generous. That was the year that I threw the desk. I was not very good at that management thing. I was very much out of my element, teaching 7th grade reading and language arts. Read that slowly. SO many red flags from the very beginning.

I didn’t meet this evaluator’s standards in my first observation cycle this year, either. So I did something very different for me: I took the notes. I didn’t just decide that he was an idiot and I knew better. I listened to what he wanted me to improve. I worked with the coach he assigned me (she was amazing and taught me more in 2 months than I learned in 4 years of methodology classes), I pushed cooperative learning on my kids when it didn’t feel natural. I stopped routines that we had developed with each other because he didn’t find them educationally valuable, though I knew they were important for the social and emotional well-being of 80% of my kids. And truthfully, about 90% of the changes made my classes run smoother, my days easier, and my kids loved the structure of the lessons.

When I would meet with said evaluator after my second semester evaluations, he would be beaming. He would try desperately to find something negative to say, but he wouldn’t have anything. Literally. Everything. He. Said. Was. Positive. Yet, none of this was on my official evaluation. It was very disheartening.

His hands were literally shaking when he came in to give me his report. I almost felt sorry for him, but I knew when I saw them shaking what the outcome of the report would be, and I just didn’t feel like being kind. I get 5 days to write a response. I forced myself not to write anything all day because I want my response to come from a place of logic and education and not emotion and anger.

Things I will miss if I am not reelected for this job (and I loved how that was in a smaller font, btw):

  • I know it’s cliche, but that “light bulb” moment that I get literally every period from some kid who has just had his mind opened or changed or entertained by something we’re listening to or reading or discussing.
  • Buying Jello in bulk to give to kids with no lunch
  • A team of administrators who “get” what I’m trying to do
  • Seeing the new theatre that I helped to design
  • Directing in the new theatre
  • Creating my tech theatre class
  • Taking our Thespians to local and state festivals
  • One-act competitions and showcases
  • Lip-sync throwdowns
  • A booster club that truly puts the needs of the kids first
  • Learning the names of the other 70% of the staff members
  • Fully embracing the Google Drive
  • Directing my children in their final high school productions
  • Directing someone through all four years of high school productions
  • Watching one of our kids become an Honor level Thespian or higher
  • Seeing one of our kids go to the Jimmy Awards (though this very well may happen this year)
  • Creating the district-wide one-act/monologue competition I really want to create
  • Bringing group-interpretation to California
  • Watching my kids direct their senior Showcases
  • Turning more students from “I’m John, and I’m dropping this class,” to “This is my 3rd show!”
  • Seeing an EL, or Special Ed, or 504 student decide that they don’t need an accommodation I’m giving them because they’ve totally got what we’re doing DOWN.

Okay, I can’t keep going on this train of thought, because I’m either going to start weeping or play frisbee with my iPad.

Aaron always says that things will turn out the way they’re meant to. I will have the job I’m supposed to have. If I don’t have this one, it’s because I’m not supposed to.

I’m just not there yet.

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