I do not want this blog to be one that makes particularly political statements as I am not a particularly political person. However, as a teacher I think that there are two very interesting conversations that are going on across our profession that have a large impact on the way that we do our jobs. The first conversation is about testing and how it is being used to evaluate teachers. The article, posted by the Washington Post (click here for article), cites a new study given by the Network for Public Education (click here for study) that asked teachers their opinions about student test scores and their evaluation.
Not surprisingly, teachers have some issues with this method of evaluation. Namely, these tests are harmful for those teachers who teach in low income areas or with high needs populations. I do not think that any teacher currently working in schools would disagree. As a teacher, I am all for honest evaluation and feedback that helps me to become a better educator. However, the current trend in the evaluation of teachers by my estimation is more reliant on tests such as PARCC which asks my 3rd grade students (who are working at a much lower level) some very high level questions. Not only if there lots of instructional time lost here giving the test (seven days), I do not get much information from the test to improve my own testing as I already knew that my students could not complete those questions.
Furthermore to then tie my job evaluation to these types of tests completely takes away the hidden curriculum that teachers teach every single day. These tests can not determine how I have taught my students to manage peer conflicts, or how to have a growth mindset and believe that they can learn. It doesn't evaluate how I have taught a student to stop throwing tantrums and instead talk about her problems using words, and it certainly doesn't matter the number of students who come into the class each more with smiles on their faces because they are going to get smarter today.
If someone can design a standardized test that took those factors into account then I would by all means agree to having my students take it. Until that time, please allow me to be a professional and do what is right for my students using my professional judgement. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
The other article and conversation will be coming later this week...
Hello to anyone that might be reading this blog. This first post will hopefully be informative about what kind of blog I hope this will be as well as what kind of website I hope that this is. Before I get to that though, I want to tell you a little bit about myself so that you have some background into who I am. I am a special education teacher currently working in a large urban city. I have a self-contained classroom which has students k-3 in it. I love working with them, they are such a joy to interact with on a daily basis. My teaching style is very interactive and also incorporates a ton of technology. It is my hope that my students have a great understanding of how to use technology in their daily lives and also to aide their own learning. It is also my hope that my students leave with good foundational skills in technology to help them compete in a highly competitive job market ripe with technology. My students interact with technology every single day and I will write another post detailing some of my favorite technologies for the classroom as well as websites and apps.
Now onto what I hope this blog and website will be. I hope that this website will be a great resource for many different stakeholders in the education of children. I hope that it is a great resource for not only the parents in my class or at my school, but also to parents all over the world. I also hope that it is a great resource for other teachers and those studying to be teachers. I want to make this website one that provides thoughtful and poignant information as well as useful conversation and discussion. More than anything I want it to be a place where people can learn and a place where people can come in order to get better at whatever it is they want to get better at, whether that be a teacher, a parent, or a student. Hopefully this website can be a place that provides an education, plain and simple.