I can not tell you how much I have enjoyed reading the many comments to my last post. I so appreciate your words of encouragement and I am especially grateful to hear form those of you in similar situations. It has taken me longer to write this week as I mull over a verbal response I had to my last post. I was asked, if I acknowledged there is a need for accountability than how do you not label schools?
I remember the day my principal shared the just released test results with our faculty. The results were not what we had hoped to hear. I watched the faces of the other teachers during the discussion that followed. Their expressions ranged from frustrated, disheartened, to almost angry. My principal said very little except nothing would change if the teachers were not willing to change. I have heard teachers from other schools in an alike situation tell about how the news of low test scores actually united the faculty. I have not seen this in my school except at grade levels. This is probably due to the fact that our K-8 school is housed in two buildings that are not connected. These buildings are in walking distance, but not situated in a way that allows the teachers to have contact on a daily basis. This makes ongoing conversions very difficult.
I wonder about these conversations. My former school had a green sofa in the in the hall and this is where the teachers in this building hung out after school. We had some really great conversations and most of them genuinely pertained to our teaching. One of my sons called me one day to see why I was staying at school so late and I told him, “It was green sofa time”. I am looking for a “green sofa” for my new school because we need to have these continuing conversations.
Here are some questions of concern. Can we as a profession talk about our weaknesses without finger pointing? If your school is not making the needed progress, do we hold each other accountable or just ourselves? Are teachers really ready to accept accountability? If so, what does this accountability look like without labeling schools? I so often wish the format and the standards for accountability had come from educators instead of policymakers.
Please continue to send in your comments. It would be great to share your thoughts on professional conversations and our current standards of accountability.
The opinions expressed in Teacher of the Year are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.