Shaddup Already!



I got my final evaluation for the year yesterday. It was pretty cool. AP came in on Thursday and observed a lesson I was doing on identifying parts of speech within a sentence. The lesson was a really good one that has only taken me 3 years to get right :o) Anyway, I was pleased that she saw that lesson.

So she asked me to come in yesterday during my plan period.

First, let me say that my confidence in my own teaching was shot my first year because of a lot of back-stabbing and vague complaints (i.e. "We can't tell you what's wrong, but we might not rehire you because you're doing something wrong."). I've been feeling better and better as time goes on, but there are areas that I still feel very weak in.

Those would be classroom management (specifically behavior management), keeping my expectations set high, and getting my students engaged in the lesson. I have never voiced these concerns with anyone at school. Ever.

Although all my evaluations have been good (including those in my first year when I was "doing something wrong"), I'm always nervous for them. This year is especially important because it is the year I'm eligible for continuing contract, aka tenure.

So I was a bit nervous going into AP's office.

AP: First, I just want to say that I always enjoy going in your classroom. Your students are always so engaged.

Me: (mouth hanging to floor)

AP: They not only are interacting and answering questions and getting involved, they want to be there.

Me: Thank you. That means a lot.

AP: Good, I'm glad and thank you for doing such a great job.

You also seem to have a handle on classroom management. You don't seem to have a lot of discipline problems in your class, do you?

Me: They tend to be of a level that I can deal with in the classroom.

AP: Right, the kids know what you expect and they seem to want to please you. You know I see those kids in other places and you can almost see the change in them when they walk in your room. They just calm down and get to work because they're in Ms. B's room.

Me: I love building a rapport with the students at the beginning of the year because it is so effective. My kids know we can play and have fun, if they are behaving appropriately.

AP: And that shows. Some teachers just don't understand that if they would build that rapport than it can be a much more effective behavior deterrent than sending them out of the room.

I also really like that you keep your expectations for the kids really high. You don't lower your expectations to meet them. So often teachers get frustrated and think "well, if I expect less, then at least I'll get some work out of the kids," but what happens is the kids won't perform to that lower expectation. When you keep your expectations high, like you have, they eventually rise to meet them.

Me: Thank you. . .really, thank you (I was almost speechless at this point).

AP: Thank you for all that you're doing. We often don't get told that we're doing a good job and we need to hear it, so keep it up.

And by saying all this, I don't mean to imply that this has come easily, that these students haven't put up a fight, I know how hard you've worked to get these kids where they are. I really appreciate that.

I could have cried, sincerely. I finally feel like I'm on the upswing of my confidence coming back. To have her address all the areas I feel weak in, in such a glowing manner, makes me feel so much better about the job I'm doing. I also believe her because she strikes me as a very sincere person. I don't think she would sugar coat things the way my first year adminstrator did.

On an aside: she got very excited when I told her I hoped to teach social studies. In her teaching days, she was a social studies teacher.

I'm taking my exam on Monday that would certify me to teach any academic subject in grades 5-8. I'm taking it this first time just to see what it's like. If I pass, great, if not, that's okay too because I haven't studied at all. It's computer based so I can take it again in a month.

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