March 11, 2015

Going Blind!

And Trusting Myself!

A Page of My Crazy!  

Today I did something that some might thing is just crazy!  I went into my observation blind!  Yes, that’s right!  So, here’s what I mean.

            Our district has changed over to the Danielson Model.  We have had very little training and very little time to figure anything out.  Our administrators are learning on the fly, just like us.  Just like us, there is no real time to become experts at it.  Just. Like. Us. I have always said I could never be an administrator, but in this time in education, that’s more than a fact then ever!  Some days, I question…well, I won’t go there!  I know you know what that question is!  On top of all this, we are also completing the “free” version of Danielson.  What that translates to is LONNNNNG.  Very, very LONNNNNNNNNNGGGGG!  Now, let’s back up to what I did for prep work!

Prep Work:  I am very lucky to have a very good friend who thinks like me, who brainstorms like me, and who will just, point blank, tell me what I wrote is crap or is great!  I am very thankful for this friend.  We survived National Boards together at my kitchen table, Saturday after Saturday, while my husband took care of the kids and allowed us to do our crazy work.  I honestly never thought we would be pulling this type of shift again-but it has come-thank you Danielson (sarcasm intended!) 

            Over the course of two Saturdays (thank you flu for making it two instead of three!) we meet at my friend’s house.  I have to say, I am so thankful for the view of horses and open fields to take my mind off the brain numbing effects of repeated questions worded another way.  We spent the first Saturday working through Domain 4.  It wasn’t too bad.  It felt similar to National Boards in many ways.  You learn the tricks and techniques to answer these questions by finding every tool possible to guide you.  We found a decent tool and are hoping for the best.  The second Saturday, we worked on Domain 1 and our lesson plans.  We conquered the plans first-no problem!  Then…oh the THEN!  Can I just tell you that Domain 1 is, well, Domain 1!  Hours later, we still are not sure exactly what is right and what is wrong! We tried our best and are hoping for the best! 

14 hours to be exact!  FOURTEEN HOURS!  The only way to emphasis this was by typing it out!  I have now heard everything from 6 to 21 HOURS of time!  Time is a precious commodity to a teacher today.  There are many things I could do for my family, for my students, or for my class in those 14 hours worth of time.  Have I learned from it-to be honest NO!   No, I haven’t learned from the written response.  I have not seen things differently or in an enlightened way.  That’s what National Boards did.  This was, well, 14 hours of MY time!  Time that is precious and could be used for more then this craziness!  (Please allow me the favor of this moment!  I don’t complain very often and this is my opportunity!)  So, here we go with Going Blind!

Going Blind:  We were told to go through and read Domain 2 and 3 and be sure to cover them as best we could.  I refused to do it.  I honestly did and here’s why-it’s the ONLY way I will get better!   Truth right there!  I could have taken time to go through them, change things in my room, fix things all pretty, plan according to the rubric, and go nuts in general!  But what would that teach me?  What would that show me about my teaching?  How can I get real feedback and improve?  So I went in BLIND!  I taught the way I would have taught this lesson if my administrators hadn’t been in there.  I did do some “extras”-I made my chart pretty, I had my post-its ready, I did some pre-finishing work, like getting my pretty Marzano rubric up instead of my chart paper one.  But I didn’t go crazy and make everything perfect, so I could learn! 

How I Plan to Learn this System! 
Now, I am also not one to sit back and let the good times roll.  What I did do is VIDEO TAPED my lesson!  Here is my “mad” idea.  I will now go and print off the rubrics and watch my video.  I will assess myself (just like we ask the kids to do).  I will find positives and negatives to my teaching and my classroom so that when I go into my post observation I am well aware of just what occurred and where growth can be made.  Most importantly, I WILL LEARN!  I will learn what I do successfully!  I will learn what I can work on!   I will learn what DOK Levels my lesson really hit!  IT WILL BE OF VALUE TO ME!  That’s what I want from this.  Deep down, my administrators are NOT who I am working for-it is my students.  If I don’t learn what I am doing well, what I can work on, and what I can increase or decrease, what does it matter!  In many ways, it is my protest to this whole crazy educational time we are in!  It is my rebel side poking out its head and saying, “I am worth more than this!”  Crazy, I know, but I want to LEARN over and over who I am as a teacher, who I should move forward to be, without the dog and pony show of meeting the expectations to score high and be great!  I want to be that teacher that doesn’t have to, that it just comes naturally as a part of who I am!  So, go blind everyone!  Do this thing to be the natural you! 

Good Luck! My post observation is next week-let’s see how I feel then! 


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