Friday, March 11, 2016

A Thief in the Night

You never know. They're the Spanish Inquisition and the Red Scare all in one. They sneak in and they hope you do something wrong. If you don't, they just make something up. How else can they justify sitting in an office all day and reading all that email? It's not like they're actually doing something. I mean, you're in that classroom every day doing battle with Valentina, the 14-year-old who's smarter than you are and not afraid to let the whole world know it. How will you avoid confrontation with her today?

Because you know if you slip up for just one moment, the Boy Wonder will zip in unseen with his iPad and write you up in low inference notes. He has those special supervisor glasses and if twenty kids raise their hands he sees only five. If there are ten, he sees two. Five and under he sees zero. And what can you do? It's your word against his. You are a lowly teacher and he is a defender of truth, justice, motherhood and the American Way. You can't file a winning APPR complaint simply because he sees things that don't happen, doesn't see things that do happen, and the voices in his head don't coincide with objective reality. 

When do you think he’ll come after you for the post ob, you wonder? Will he approach you while you're in the classroom? Every time he walks in there you shake. You know he's carrying a box of nails, and every edgewise glance  is gonna be another one in your coffin. Sure, Mulgrew says that only a few hundred ended up with double ineffectives, but you feel it, the target on your back. It only takes two arrows in a row and approval from the rat squad. In fact, under the new APPR coming next year they may not even need a rat squad.

Mulgrew, your President, says everything is fine and we've discarded the war paint. But the only time you remember Mulgrew going to war was when it was with you, when he was gonna punch you in the face for opposing Common Core. And you felt like you were getting it from both sides. And no one knows what's going on because the papers don't even know what they're talking about.

In December the state Board of Regents, based on the recommendations of Cuomo’s Common Core task force, put a moratorium on the use of test scores in teacher evaluations.

Of course that's only true for some Common Core exams given in elementary school, and you don't teach elementary school so too bad for you. Everything is pretty much the same and you will be judged on the same test scores you were judged on last year. Except they will now count 50%. The only upside is a total stranger who knows nothing about you or your students will be coming in, and perhaps he or she will give you a fairer shot than Boy Wonder. Who knows?

It's nice that Mulgrew is feeling all warm and fuzzy, but the pressure hasn't stopped for you. Maybe if you were wearing a suit and sitting in a fancy office at 52 Broadway you'd be feeling the love, but for you it's nonstop tension and pressure.

Maybe you can take that actuary gig. It's not like working with kids, but since all they want you to do is test prep, you aren't really doing that anyway. Oh my gosh here comes the Boy Wonder again with his iPad.

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