Monthly Archives: May 2015

I’ve been seen burning things lately, thought I should begin to explain…

     My mom, who does not like to make waves, said she saw me on the news, burning teacher evaluations.  She was not excited about that.
      “What did you get?”, she asked.
       “Highly effective, Mom, but it doesn’t mean anything”, I told her.
       “Why would you burn that?”, she asked.
       “Well, its arbitrary, Mom.  There are people getting evaluations for subjects they don’t even teach.   Like Quint Seckler, Mom.”  I threw Quint in because he and I go back quite a ways, and Mom approves of Quint.  “He got evaluated for Biology.  He teaches math, Mom.”.
       “Well,” she said, (long pause…) “you’ve always had to speak the truth, I know.  You had better let Leith know,”  she said, referring to my the principal at my school.  Being sent to see the principal by my Mom.  Took me back in time for a moment.
       I told Leith, she said, “I know, Wally is in the paper.”  One of my co-workers who also got “Highly Effective”, and also burned his evaluation.  Leith smiled, and was very supportive.  Our school has a reputation of not being shepherded by wrong policy.  Long may it run.

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The end of the school year

Is always assumed to be the favorite time of the year for teachers, but not for me, really. I enjoy each part, and think that I am a teacher because I especially like the beginning of the year, and the introduction of concepts, and the moments of connections. Prior to current knowledge, yes, and the moment when a child realizes you are actually, truly, their advocate. And then, when they are your advocate. This year, at the passing of my  father, the children in my class looked at me, and to me. They gave me notes cheering me on. I hope someday to live up to the expectations of children.

Each year I find that there is so much more I wanted to do, and gaps that I had hoped to fill. And each year the community assures me of some success. “This year, it was like a dream. Like a story,” a generous parent said yesterday.

Organizing a school year into something of a narrative is actually an ambition of mine. Creating sense and order would not be the first impression a person might get from my classroom, but to have a parent say that in the wake of this year- that is nice to hear.

My kiln is just about white-hot, now. another 200° and it will be there. I’m firing a raven I made for a student who memorized Poe’s “The Raven”. Just one of the many amazing accomplishments achieved this year. An outstanding year, with amazing young people, and acknowledging the end of the little dance I get to have each year as a teacher is always bitter sweet.


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