Monday, March 30, 2009

Message to Michelle



Michelle:

Let's get this out in the open:

You would prefer I spend my time in school writing goals rather than:

1. Helping my students with the material they are learning

2. Contacting parents about possible problems my students might be having in class.

3. Tracking down cutters and trying to get them back to class.

4. Writing meaningful lessons.

5. Marking exams so I can return them in a timely fashion.

6. Meeting with other teachers to find out what is going on in their classes and learn something that might help me with my own.

7. Meeting with guidance counselors.

8. Getting to know my students on a more personal level.

9. Eating lunch--maybe you think I am too fat anyways.

10. Going to the bathroom--I'll just buy a value pack of Depends.

You are making a heck of a lot more money than I am and if you choose to work 24/7, that is your business, not mine.

Don't take my lack of goal writing as a lack of commitment to my students or my job.

The business of education is not the same business as in the private sector. Never forget that. We have no control over the products we are working with. We can't control their natural abilities, their home lives, their study skills, or anything else. Writing goals will not change this.

And, let's just say I do write a goal: "Mary will come to class prepared to work every day" and Mary does this. Mary has met the goal. Unfortunately, Mary still cannot master the material. Must she be passed because she met the goal? And then there is Johnny: "Johnny will raise his grade from a 90 to a 95 by June" and Johnny cannot meet this goal. Should Johnny be penalized? Should we really have different standards for different children?

This whole idea of goals sucks. It is just another way to dump on the teacher and blame the teacher for all that ails education today.

7 comments:

Grammatically Delicious Designs said...

Perfect. I once heard of a speaker who lectured a group of teachers on the importance of ALWAYS producing a perfect product. He was the CEO of an ice cream company and insisted that not one quart of ice cream would ever leave his factory short of perfection. One teacher raised her hand and asked what the company would do if the strawberries for strawberry ice cream showed up at the factory sub-par in quality? The CEO replied they would never accept them. That is the problem. We must teach every smooshed and rotten strawberry. We can't turn back the sub-par. Goals and quality control are great. But people don't fit in the mold very well.

Danielle

Pissed Off said...

Too bad administrators and people like Michelle don't want to hear that. It is so much easier to blame the teacher.

institutrice said...

Your Michelle sounds like my Principal Pretty: totally out of touch.

I love that email about the ice cream guy! I first read it in college 10 years ago; unfortunately it is now more true than ever with NCLB, RtI, etc. Someday they will listen to us. Right?

17 (really 15) more years said...

Wait til you see what's coming next: Individual Action Plans for each and every student. If you think the goals are bad, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Pissed Off said...

These are the things that are making me rethink what I am doing.

This goals thing might be my first ever letter to file. I don't think I am going to do them, I just can't bring myself to sell out that much.

17 (really 15) more years said...

PO'd- don't tell anybody- but I only did the goals once, not very well, and I never did them again. We were actually expected to spend period after period of instructional time conferencing with each child to complete the goals sheet. Of course, you know exactly what the rest of them were doing while I was conferencing-nothing.

Fortunately, I haven't been called on not doing them- yet. I always wait for the other shoe to drop.....

Chaz said...

This is not about the children but about how the DOE listens to non-educators peddling their pet projects.