I had a massive rant on the way home today as I made my usual hands-free call to my husband. Those 15 minutes really help me decompress and leave work at work, and he is kind enough to indulge me in that. Today, however, I was not to be placated. The topic of my frustration and growing anger was the recent claim that the evaluation system for teachers is burdensome in its time commitment for administrators. The Department of Education in Delaware recently offered districts the option to waive a few criterion in each of the four components by which teachers are evaluated. To be fair, there are several in each component, though they each address important parts of defining educator effectiveness. For instance, under the component that addresses classroom instruction, there are criterion that cover discussion and questioning techniques along with using assessment and communicating effectively, and others.
I do not argue that there are large amounts of time necessary for the appropriate implementation of this evaluation system. I do not argue that administrators have a lot of responsibilities aside from teacher observations and evaluations. I do not argue that the conferences and forms take a lot of time and effort. For the sake of making my point, I’m not even going to argue that I’m worth every moment of that time and every ounce of that effort. (Though I am.)
What I AM going to argue is that none of those things are reason enough to modify the system to reduce the burden. What I AM going to argue is that I do just as much work preparing for the conferences and evaluations, plus all the other forms my evaluator has to read and sign off on, in addition to MY duties, and I make far less money. What I AM going to argue is that my pre-testing and differentiation and scaffolding and redirecting and updating and calling and nearly 4,000 grades mandated per marking period for my 250+ students is just as difficult as observing and conferencing and filling out forms for 25-40 staff members, depending on the building and number of administrators.
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve been trained as an evaluator under the system and have observed video recorded conferences, collected data, and written forms. I am familiar with the time requirement and I know it will take time outside of the regular day to complete. Just like when I spend 8 hours or more every weekend working on mandatory school preparation and grading.
Forgive me if I have no sympathy and no understanding in my heart for the plight of the overworked administrator. It’s part of being in this profession.