The union vote on our new teacher evaluation system isn’t final yet, but our admins are going under the assumption that it will pass, so the process has started its roll downhill. I say downhill not in the sense of getting worse and worse (who knows about that yet), but in the sense of moving faster and faster. You know how it goes. At first it’s, “be thinking about possible things to discuss at our next meeting in two weeks,” and then in two weeks it’s, “you must have 8 goals and we need to schedule 3 meetings and an observation for next week.” But if things don’t start happening soon, there will not be enough time to do it right.

Technically the process started before school did with a couple of days of reading-the-handouts-to-us and discussing-in-small-groups training in what the process would entail. So there has already been quite a bit of highlighting of rubrics and crusty old veterans complaining that all the signifiers and teacher behaviors for the distinguished ratings were a bunch of ’80s “new age crap.” Like this:

“One of the ones for ‘organizing physical space’ says crap about kids choosing their own seats and opening the windows when they think the class is hot, or encouraging an environment where the kids are comfortable ‘closing the blinds for a classmate who has the sun in his eyes.’ (Really.) I don’t allow kids to choose their seats, and I’m the only one who messes with the windows. This is not a democracy. And I am sick of all this (pinch-faced snooty voice) ‘what do YOU think group work’ crap. They don’t know enough to have an opinion about anything except MTV or facebook. The need to learn some facts first!”

Guess who isn’t going to be distinguished in THAT category.

Today during our TCT before school…

(Time Out: TCT stands for Teacher Collaboration Time. On Mondays the kids start a little over an hour later, and we are supposed to use that time to collaborate in our “learning communities.” The problem is, we really only get the chance to actually, you know, collaborate one Monday in every four. The other three are staff meetings like the one today about the new evaluation tool, department meetings–I think every LA teacher knows the special nightmare that is an English department meeting–and something else that I forget right now. True, most people do very little actual collaborating on that fourth Monday, but still…)

…we did a scoring day style rubric-going-over. We were supposed to focus on two of the four domains. Today we “self evaluated” using the rubrics. We were looking at Classroom Environment and Instruction. Of course there were highlighters. I came, I read the handouts, I doodled.

More on today’s session soon, but I want to throw this out to you guys. I am being evaluated this year under this new system,  and it starts with me choosing two domains and two bullets within each of those, and my principal doing the same. Then those eight will be what she focuses on during the “process.”

Here’s the chart of domains and bullets.  What four bullets (2 each in 2 squares) would you choose?