One of my favorite people of all time, Majorie Pay Hinckley, once said, ““The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” It is an adorable quote by a very elect lady. It is so applicable to my life!
There are days where when so much goes wrong that you have two choices. Laugh or cry. There really is no middle ground. Yesterday was one of those day. I look back on the day and wonder how things evolved the way they did. The Perfect Storm of Second Grade!!!!
WE are pretty familiar with my thoughts and feelings on the district teacher evaluation… The JPAS (cue evil music.) In eduction we are to teach as though every child is teachable and just may have a different learning style. We are to adapt and accommodate to their needs to make sure that they are getting what they need.
Well, when it comes to evaluation of teachers, it is different. It is the school of thought that you suck until you prove that you don’t. It is an awesome way to be evaluated. Actually, it isn’t, but remember I am learning to laugh.
I was asked by my administrator which week after the new year would work for her to come in and observe. I chose the second week. There was reason behind it. I KNEW the kids would have a hard time in class seeing as it was the first week back from Christmas break and we would have to reintroduce all of those fun rules and regulations that they have conveniently forgotten during the two magic sugar filled weeks that they had spent sleeping in. The third week wouldn’t work as it was a short week (without a Monday) and it was the week that we were tracking off. So, in order to get any indication of what normal would be like, the second week would be ideal… well at least for the choices given to me.
Two weeks ago I learned that because of certain circumstances dealing with my administration, a group of us were going to be evaluated by not only our administrator, but by the district as well. I learned that this really had nothing to do with me, but that my administrator was being evaluated. However, that would impact me as I would be evaluated 4 times instead of 2. Oh yes, that is just what I wanted.
The first set of evaluations were last week. The district person came in before school even started. So, I am running around trying to get my lunch count in and my kiddos under control as someone is watching me. Probably the craziest part of the day. Well, my math lesson went well and she lingered a little bit. I hope that was a good sign.
The next day, my administrator came in and watched me give a math test. I can’t imagine how exciting that must have been for her. I mean really…. Woo hoo!
I waited with anticipation for the other evals to take place later that week. They never came. That worried me because I knew that they would have to be done this week. Disaster week. So…. Skip ahead to my second JPAS day.
Friday I had a sick family, including myself. So much so that we had to reschedule appointments and get Kyra out of school early. The weekend was spent being sick and trying to get everyone well and recovered. Not much work was done, which was unfortunate as I was looking forward to. I enjoy getting stuff done.
Tuesday, my first day back to school on the last week before off track, the district evaluator stopped by to schedule a time to come in and observe. After all was said and done, I thought that we had decided that she would come in after lunch. She had already observed a math lesson and they are supposed to observe two different subject areas. I was excited. I was set with wicked awesome plans for later in the day and I was excited for someone to come see them.
Shortly after school started, we were called upstairs to the library for what is called DIBELS testing. Ordinarily it takes about 20 minutes to get through an entire class. Monday was different. It took nearly an hour. Kids are only really tested for about 8 minutes, but while they are not being tested they wait in the hall reading a book. This is a little challenging trying to keep 22 7 year olds calm and on task while waiting in a hallway. To make matters worse, the testers were running late and my kiddos ended up being in the hallway for about an hour. They were SPENT by the time we walked back down to our classroom.
As I walked into the classroom I about died. Sitting in the back of the room was my administrator and the district evaluator. Both of them. Together. Waiting for me to return to continue with my JPAS. Ok. I thought we were doing afternoon, but that is fine. I can do this. Well, apparently my kiddos didn’t get the memo.
We started a money review. I got them enthused (uh huh… that was so not what happened) and started talking about our cute money unit. And yes… it was cute because we make money into bugs. We are adorable that way. I started asking questions and hands shot up into the air. Excited for the interaction, I started calling on students and got a whole myriad of responses… “Can I go to the bathroom?” (What did that have to do with how much a quarter is worth?) “When is lunch?” (Ummm…. You KNOW when lunch is and what does that have to do with the dollar and cents signs.) “Are you married Ms. Russell?” (What the… WHAT!!! NOW? How does that have anything to do with anything?)
It was at this moment that one of my students came running in and went off wildly about someone in the bathroom. After a moment she calmed down and told me that someone was throwing up in the bathroom and needed help. I looked to my administrator for help…. nope. So, I had my kids put their heads down and went to the bathroom. Sure enough there was a little girl in there that was throwing up. Since I couldn’t leave my class (ordinarily I would go help) I went back to my room and called her teacher.
So, this is how the rest of the morning observation went. The class simply wouldn’t focus. They had shut off. They were playing in their desks, talking and daydreaming. I had kids crawling under their desks to retrieve lost pencils. I had arguing over erasers. I had to turn off the lights (although something misfired and they didn’t go off, ) turn a child’s desk backwards so they wouldn’t be able to access the contents, and halfway through the lesson I had to stop and give them a review of the rules and classroom set up. It was AWFUL. My lesson was shot. The discipline was a nightmare and I had had it.
The evaluators left and so did all of my desire to teach. I love my job, but dealing with all of the extra stuff is really touch some days. Off track weeks are some of the hardest weeks to work in my opinion. Everyone is done and ready for a vacation. I wanted to just finish the day by turning on a movie. There isn’t much that Beauty and the Beast won’t solve. However, I didn’t. I plugged through teaching them about poetry, Officer Buckle and inference reading strategies. I find it discouraging when I give all I have to the job and the results are sometimes disastrous. I think it may be time to start reevaluating my career path.