I won't dwell too long on Friday's inservice training by the State Department of Education's Teacher Effectiveness Committee. Those of you in education will be well-suited to imagine what the meeting was like based on the description alone. I did, however, want to note three things:
1) The new teacher-effectiveness evaluation is intentionally designed for teachers to score on an average level. "You should be getting threes," they said, referring to a 5-point scale. "If you score fours or fives consistently, there's something wrong with the scale or with your scoring."
I cannot adequately express the horror and the stress provoked by the idea of receiving (and supposedly being satisfied with!) straight Cs.
2) I sat next to one of my friends, the art teacher at the school. Kathy, knowing me and these types of trainings all too well, kept a list of ten Taoist principles on her iPad for the duration of the session. Whenever she sensed my indignation and/or stress rising, she slid the iPad my direction and eyed me until I read through the list again and calmed down enough to swallow my agitation.
She also gave me a salsa kit while I was dying of the plague last week. Kathy is very good to me.
3) One of my colleagues asked if there would be any financial compensation for achieving high marks on this evaluation or for showing significant improvement in performance.
The State responded first by laughing and then by saying "We're hoping the culture and the working conditions will make you feel like you're a millionaire while you're making $35k."
I choked on the water I was sipping. Kathy slid the iPad over.