One more day learning about our evaluation system

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We have professional development tomorrow. We are supposed to spend the day learning about our evaluation system and the Charlotte Danielson Rubric. I need to charge my laptop so I can pretend to care. Almost all developments have been on this rubric for the last few years. I am also supposed to have read her book, but I lent the book to a colleague who has misplaced his copy. In some distant past, I imagine I read the required chapters. I’ll find out tomorrow.

Eduhonesty: Our halls are pockmarked with first year teachers in my school. We are a young faculty. I understand the rationale behind endless Danielson; the rubric assesses good teaching and hammering us with Danielson should result in teachers who learn to follow the rubric and thus become good teachers. But classroom management consists of myriad tiny details. It’s only peripherally an exercise in the big picture. The big picture won’t help me if my students aren’t in their seats and can never find their paper and pencils.

Again, I confront what I regard as the educational blind spot of our time. I am not saying more Danielson is bad. The Danielson Rubric has many good points. The problem with teaching, reteaching and then reteaching Danielson, before starting the year with yet more Danielson, is the opportunity cost. What else might we be teaching our new teachers? What is the problem with testing, testing and testing? Among multiple concerns, I’d put opportunity cost near the top. What could students be learning if we were instructing them rather than testing them?

Time allocation is the invisible elephant in the room with us, the elephant that nobody sees, probably because nobody has time to look. We are too busy trying to implement the many great plans of the too many administrators who are acting like the blind men as they scurry around the room with the elephant. To any readers who don’t know the parable of the blind men and the elephant, I recommend looking up this story. It’s a perfect parable for education in our time.