Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting Ready for Reformy John King's Plan

The administrators in my building are hard at work figuring out just what the hell they are going to tell us at PD next week. They're looking at Danielson, and figuring out how we can meet whatever requirements the DOE has told them Danielson demands.

Now the geniuses at the DOE, because they know everything about teaching and learning, have determined that observations should take only 15 minutes. Therefore, if Danielson demands kids turn and talk, you'd better have a lesson plan that allows them to do so in any 15-minute segment of your lesson. In fact, allow is not the proper word. You'd better compel them.

UFT says a lesson should be an entire lesson, rather than a 15-minute drive-by. I agree, particularly during a year when we're going to be judged by a system with no more reliability than voodoo. I fully expect Reformy John to agree with Bloomberg, no matter how stupid his ideas are, because Bloomberg's ideas will be more reformy than those of the UFT. So I guess my kids had better be asking questions, using the proper degrees of knowledge and whatnot, or I'll be selling pencils on the corner pretty soon.

This will be a tough feat for me, as I teach English to people who mostly don't speak it. In fact, because most of my kids, perhaps 90%, speak the same foreign language, it's a small miracle I get them to utter any English at all. Doubtless Charlotte Danielson could do my job much better, and thank goodness I'll be following whatever outlandish dictates Reformy John sees fit, rather than rely on almost 30 years of teaching experience--and that's ten for every one Reformy John has--one public and two charter.

Another genius notion is separating your lesson and lesson plan--the DOE wants to judge them individually. Now I'm not an administrator, but if I were, and I walked into a classroom and liked what I saw, I wouldn't care if the lesson plan were two words on a bubble gum wrapper. I would compliment the teacher profusely and put it in writing.

I would only ask to see a lesson plan if I didn't like what I was seeing. Were that the case, I'd want to know whether the teacher had a good plan poorly executed, or a bad plan well-followed. I would need to know that to help this teacher give a better lesson next time.

I plan lessons every day, based mostly on what I did the previous day. I think about what I want to do, and I write it down largely because I'm responsible to show evidence of prior planning if anyone asks.  I suppose, now that Danielson will dictate I must do a, b, and c, I will have to adjust my plans and interrupt them every 15 minutes with whatever she demands.

I will do it rather than be fired, but it's patently idiotic, and anyone who can't see that ought not to be educating children.
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