Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Smiles on Their Faces

Sometimes I evaluate myself. I don't use a rubric. I don't analyze my test scores. I don't videotape myself and rewind 500 times to figure out how I can spend 2 fewer minutes handing out papers.

I just look at the kids and see how involved they are. Or not. I see whether they're focused. I see whether or not what we're doing is of interest. Usually it is. I can't say whether or not Charlotte Danielson would agree, and I can't promise you they will excel on standardized tests. After all, they've only been speaking English a very short time.

Today I left a meeting to run to my class. One of the girls in my class saw me and said something about being late. I said I wasn't. She managed to walk in front of me and push her friend in front of me whenever I was about to pass her. I'm not sure how she could see me coming, because I was behind her, but every time I tried, she stopped me. At some point, we all started running, and ran all the way to the trailers.

None of us knew exactly why we did it, but it was pretty funny. The kids in my class are mostly happy. I want my class to be a place where they can be happy and learn English at the same time. Because you don't learn language from doing exercises, from repeating statements, or from conjugating verbs. You learn language because you want to communicate. And you need to have some thought other than, "When, oh when, can I get the hell out of here?"

So I see smiles and I think I must be doing something good. I can't say how that will affect my rating. I have no idea what my rating will be. Anyone who says, "I'm a good teacher, so I'm not worried about the rating system," either doesn't understand it, or is an E4E member who's going to skip getting teacher tenure and go straight into being Michelle Rhee.

So they can tell me I'm effective, ineffective, that I'm great or I suck. But if my kids are happy, I think I'm doing something right regardless.
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