- Shaking Up Short Stories - August 8, 2019
- Ditch the Summer Reading Requirements - July 19, 2019
- Celebrate Pride With Your Classroom Library - June 26, 2019
- Bringing Climate Change into the E/LA Classroom - May 20, 2019
- YA Books for Mental Health Awareness - October 8, 2018
- Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Book Talks - September 26, 2018
- 180 Days: Writing and Reading Maps and Mentors for A Year in ELA - September 16, 2018
- Teaching Immigration Empathy: Why Refugee by Alan Gratz Should Be Added To Your Curriculum - July 8, 2018
- Coaching the Coaches: the Benefits of Instructional Coaches - January 28, 2018
- Six-Word Memoirs as an Introduction to Narrative Writing - September 24, 2017
How is a teacher’s worth measured?
Is it based on how many years an educator has in the field? The state of Michigan decided the answer to that question was “no” when it prohibited schools from making cuts based on seniority. Personally, this was a relief to me. For the past ten years, our district has had to make cuts due to the state slashing per-pupil funding among other public school monies. Because I was at the bottom of the seniority list, I was on the list each and every time–not because I was a bad teacher, but because there were more people with my same certifications above me than below me on a list.
Now we are judged by an evaluation system. As I said, at first this was a relief to me. However, we are now in the fourth year of this system and I’m not sold on this system either.
Teachers are currently reduced to “effective” or “ineffective” based on student grades, whether or not we have objectives posted in our classroom, and how we handle classroom management. I’m not really worried about how this will pan out for me, but it does make me think about what has been taken out of consideration when teachers are evaluated. What has been deemed as most important in the those who are trusted to educate our children.
Just before Thanksgiving break, the unimaginable happened in our school–one of our teachers died. It was sudden and very much unexpected. She was only 39 and had been in our district for fifteen years. Her name was Abbey.
Her funeral was practically standing room only. She impacted countless lives in her time as an educator and it showed in the faces of students–past and present–filling the pews in the large sanctuary. The stories about her as a basketball coach and mentor went on and on: how she went to 7:00 am mass every Sunday and then went into school for hours after; how she bought her entire basketball team shirts and ties so they would look sharp for away games; her habit of becoming a secret Santa before winter break, putting backpacks and tennis shoes and coats anonymously in student lockers for those most in need.