Daily Walking with God

February 2016
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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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i trust in godI’m not one to rant, but I sure did today.

The public school teachers of Hillsborough County have to go through an evaluation process (EET). We are evaluated by our administrators and a peer in the county. We receive notification as to a specific date for a formal observation, which last around 50 minutes, and are given a window of dates that they can “pop-in” to our classroom for an informal observation that lasts approximately 20 minutes.

I have always been was is considered a “highly effective” teacher due to the tests scores of my students and observations. I LOVE teaching, show respect to my students, demand respect in our classroom, and strive to teach each class and student to their needs. Now…am I perfect? No way! But I haven’t had any complaints.

Well, this morning, while I was still at home, I opened my school email. I noticed that my FINAL evaluation for the entire year was posted and ready for me to view. Woohoo! I felt confident. I had even responded more to my “peer” than normal before she posted her final thoughts about my “pop-in”. (Yes, we have the opportunity to comment and be reflective on the lesson before the evaluator gives their opinion/suggestions.)

I began reading, and I could feel my blood beginning to boil. Tears started coming down my face. My husband questioned what was wrong. I couldn’t even speak at that time.

Quick background…we are evaluated on the following scale: R- requires action, P-progressing, A-accomplished, and E-exemplary. I am used to receiving A’s and E’s on my final evaluations.

So….when I began to read the “peer’s” evaluation of me, I was flabbergasted. If these evaluations weren’t attached to my pay, I would be able to dismiss the assessment of my teaching, but they are! This person, who only comes to my classroom for less than two hours each school year, and doesn’t know me nor my students, can affect my pay. I have no problem with my administrators coming in. They are here on a day-to-day basis and know the students and how I teach. But a peer! Ugh!!!!  (I’m sorry that you (peer) came on a day that didn’t require what YOU wanted observed, but I know my students and was doing what needed to be done for THEM at this time.)

I couldn’t even read the entire appraisal at that time. All I noticed was that I had received five “progressing”. FIVE! What?! This must be a mistake. I felt dejected, and ready to crawl back into bed.

I automatically thought about one of our teachers who left the classroom last year because she had received an evaluation that she felt devalued her self-worth. This teacher was awesome! She was actually one of my youngest children’s favorite teachers.

On my way to school God whispered in my ear, “Don’t worry about the opinions of others, just Mine.” Thank You, Lord. You’re right! I felt tranquility wash over me.

Then I began to think about all the comments my students (past and present), administrators, parents, and co-workers say to me regarding how I teach. Again, peace came to my mind. I even told one of my students this morning how a comment he made months back gave me encouragement today. He had questioned me if I had ever been teach of the year. I replied with a laugh, “Lordy, no. That’s a lot of extra paperwork to be completed for that honor.” He proceeded to tell me how he and his parents think I should be. This boy comes from two parents who are influential in our county’s education system, so I took this as a huge compliment. And I had even taught his brother previously, so they knew my teaching style. (Thanks, Ryan. Comments like that ARE my reward. I am YOUR teacher of the year.)

Then, I found a bible verse to write and post to my computer screen. “The fear of human opinion disable; trusting in God protects you from that.” Proverbs 29:25. At the bottom of the verse I wrote, “I trust in God!”

Throughout the day, my heart expanded as God filled me with more of Him, and less of the opinion from others.

Once I had the opportunity to actually read the comments by the peer, I shared them with my co-teacher who was in the classroom when the evaluation originally took place. I think she was as astounded as I was. (Love you, Stephanie.)

There is a window of opportunity to respond to my peer’s assessment of me that day. And you better believe I am taking full advantage of it. Not, to feel valued by her. I don’t need her praise. But my pay is attached to it, and I (along with my co-teacher) agree that the peer totally didn’t see the lesson for what it was.

Teachers, I applaud you! You give your heart, soul, time, and energy to making a difference in the world through your students. Always do and the best you can be. Always do what is right for your students in order for them to succeed. I’m not one that believes in the “dog-and-pony show” just to appease someone. If you are a good teacher…keep doing what you’re doing…and keep growing as a teacher for your students ever changing lives.

I always advise new teachers to teach each day as if they were being evaluated, or as if someone can enter your room on any given day and see learning and the love of learning taking place. That accountability does keep you in check and makes you want to be a better teacher. It’s just when a peer’s appraisal, an appraisal from someone who doesn’t know your or your students, can persuade your salary, THAT is disconcerting.

Remember… “We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up.” Galatians 6:9

And just think, teachers, hopefully this peer system will be eliminated for the coming year as far as “attachment to pay”.

“Teacher Tiredness” (click to view)  Like I state in the “Teacher Tiredness” journal entry…LMT…Let Me Teach.

Thanks for letting me rant. God’s got this. I am at peace now.

Teachers, your thoughts?

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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One Response to Teacher Time

  • Judy Bassett says:

    Stephanie, you keep teaching as you have been. I know how much you love and worry about your students. When they hurt you hurt. That peer is only seeing what she/he wants to see. Sometimes I think they are only trying to demoralize the teachers. You are doing what God tells you to do and Honey keep on doing that. Love and honor you. Mama

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