It may seem like I am writing little here today, but that is because I have spent the past 4.5 hours writing the answers to my pre-conference form for my formal observation on Tuesday and I am still not done. I have actually been working on this for over two weeks and today I am finalizing my writing. I am a veteran teacher and should be done, right? Not so! I assure you.
Not having a model and only having a list of questions to answer, I only have one framework for responding to them, which is the type of writing that I had to do for National Board certification. With the National Board process, the way that you help the evaluator see the classroom that they never step into is through your writing. Although my evaluator is stepping into my classroom and has been by several times, I don't want to leave anything to chance. Having listened to transcripts of my teaching and participating in lesson study, I know that it is difficult to capture every conversation and every step in a lesson. I am making sure that I answer the questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.
Unlike the National Board process where I had many supports in place, this new evaluation process seems to be a solo journey for many. I have read the Marzano books and could read many more, but I would like to get back to the regular work of sustaining daily instruction in my classroom and coaching others. I am sure that others who are in my position realize that this process is time-consuming and I like them, am trying to learn what I can about my teaching, without too much crazy-making.
I am little comforted by the fact that my colleagues all over the country are going through this process. I haven't even begun to think to deeply about the value-added model component of this evaluation. Nor have I considered the eventual outing of teachers in this state and the outings that have already occurred in states that are a year ahead of Florida in this process. I can't afford to go there right now. I can only work with the task I have before me, which is to succinctly and thoughtfully allow someone to understand my instruction aside from my students.
As my daughter said, "Mommy, you have been on the computer all day." Rarely do I spend my Sundays on the computer. Thank goodness for the rain, for my friends who understand why I have cancelled all our time together, and for my daughter and husband who are content to entertain each other today. Let me get back to the one slice of my instructional life so I am prepared for Monday's meeting and Tuesday's instruction. Soon it will be next Sunday and I will have the opportunity to share my ordinary slice of life.