I was reminded today of a dinner I attended a few weekends ago. I was out with two of my closest colleagues and we were celebrating the retirement of the eldest. These are always joyous and sad events, but this one was sadder than usual. You see, we wouldn’t have been celebrating at all if education was as it should be. The eldest IS an amazing teacher and was pushed out of the profession too early.
The this link was sent to me today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y5t-dAa6UA
The song reminds me of a sign I have on my desk.
I love being different! Different is best and not fitting in is perfect! I hate being asked by students, “am I doing this right,” or “is this how you want it?” I answer these questions with questions like, are you doing it right,” or is that how you want it?” I hope you enjoyed the song. Think about what we need to do so more people can see all the colors in the rainbow.
This is a simple matter-of-fact way to look at the reasons for testing currently being used in Delaware. It is a domino effect.
1. DOE buys the Smarter Balance Assessment. (First set of tests.) Reports and media stories are written. BAD test, HARD test, most kids will FAIL!
2. School Districts FREAK! Then think, “We can’t pass those tests, sooooo we will create our own and still show growth. (Second set of tests.)
3. Building Administrators FREAK! Then think, “We can’t pass the district tests, sooooo we will create our own and still show growth. (Third set of tests.)
4. @#$%@#__^%$# Words coming from the grade level teacher’s thoughts, but only a smile is visible to others. Then they think, “I have to give all the assessments I usually do that show growth, can be reviewed with students and parents as early as needed, and directly impact student grades increasing the accountability for students, parents, and myself. THEN I MUST give the building tests 2-3 times a year to show growth for the building, and the district tests 2-3 times a year to show growth for the district, and the state tests once a year for too many days to show growth for the state.” What the @#$%*!!
I thought I was a teacher, not a full time test administrator…
AND all of this because of NCLB and it’s crazy mandate of 100% of students will meet the standard. All of this to C.Y.A.
Today in one of my art classes we were discussing the above art work by Pablo Picasso entilted “The Tragedy”. We discussed the subject matter, elements of art and principles of design. We turned to our partners, asked the questions why and what if the image was red instead of blue. Student gave me specific evidence from the image (text) to support their opinions and/or reasons. We used all the common core like language required. Finally, I asked students to think about their life and create an image of something sad. It could be a global issue like hunger, homeless (referred to by Picasso), or something personal in their own lives.
They started working and then I thought about the same question as I walked around the class. Some students were working quietly focusing on the assignment at hand. Most were talking more than creating, whining and complaining about how they “can’t draw.” I encourage them as much as I could and then finally for the last 5 minutes of independent practice, class is nice. Students are working and I could think again about the assignment.
A tragedy in my life…. I have had many and I know there are many more to come considering I am only 33 years old. I focused on my students, observing them, remembering those 5 minutes…. Then they shared with their partner and shared out to the class. I ask them, “what tragedy did you create in your artwork?” Answers were mostly personal; divorce, fighting, death of beloved pets. Students line up and left calmer then when they arrived, maybe due to the topic of class… I love teaching art and I love to see student openly experiment and create. To see them push beyond what they know and create. So many students do not have confidence in themselves and they give up so fast. They don’t want to try and it is easier to say “I can’t.” A tragedy in my life….
Then it hit me, I will create my own artwork of a tragedy I live everyday. (I did only spend about 10 minutes on this.)
Here is a tragedy I have seen everyday for the last month. Beautiful spring weather and students chained to a desk and a laptop. They cannot get to the finish line, the promise land of fun, playtime, creation and imagination, UNTIL they finish their tests. This is the modern tragedy of Delaware education and it effects every other part of our children’s lives.
I hope that brighter times are just over that horizon and replace the blue of sadness with the pink of joy.
I am organizing my teacher evaluations for the past 11 years, my whole teaching career. As you can see, white tab from down are years 2011-2012 to 2003-2004. The top section is 2012-2013, the first year for component 5 and data, data, data….
This photo includes 2013-2014….. I need a new binder. I wonder how thick this year will be?
And funny thing is for the past two years we have used Bloomboard, an online computer evaluation system. I thought technology saved trees?