Hello, ATRs are suing

Thursday, September 12, 2013

An ATR reports on a Danielson Frameworks training

So, I went to the Danielson Framework for Teaching August 2013 Training Session

The session was seven hours long, and yes, they provided both breakfast and lunch.

We even received per session for attending. I was glad that I went and got paid for my time. So, now, I will impart what I learned, in the hope that you understand that this will apply to teachers in the 2013-14 School year.

So, let me start from the beginning. While I thought the training was useful, it would have been more beneficial to all NYC teachers in attendance, if the presenters were from NYC and knew our teachers, schools, students, parents and the way things are done in NYC --in particular, the climate of mistrust sewn into our daily lives by our outgoing mayor.

These are the materials that were handed out for us to refer to during the workshop:

A. Danielson 2013 Rubric: Adapted to he NY DOE Framework for Teaching Components

B. The Four Domains of Teaching Responsibility

C. Enhancing Professional Practice: An Introduction to the Framework for Teaching put out by the Danielson Group

D. An 8 ½ x 11 inch handout titled,
"Framework for Teaching Evaluation Instrument", 2013 Edition. It sets out the "Integration of the CCSS and Framework components"--

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation..has six subsections

Domain 2: The Classroom Environment..has five subsections

Domain 3: Instruction..has five subsections

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities..has six subsections

So, the Domains and their subsections are, in a nutshell, the rubric that we, teachers, will be
graded on.

Don't ask me how many points go with each domain because that information was not part of the presentation. So, if you are wondering how much each domain and subsection is worth and how it adds up, I suggest you speak with Amy Arundell, for ATRs, Principals of your respective schools, and if all else fails, the NYC DOE or UFT point-person responsible for this information.

So, we worked on a variety of activities to help us understand each domain and what we need to do to make sure it is included in our lessons.

In your lesson you must make sure that you are inclusive--the needs of Special Ed, ELLs, ESLs, low level learners, learners on grade level and the above average students learning styles MUST be included, that you have complete command of your content area and what you teach in your classroom, that you make sure to understand the culture of your students, that you make sure that your students are learning in the form of rigorous instructions, you have high expectations, that you help each student develop the skills to become leaders in the classroom, where they take the helm and move the lesson forward, that there is respect and rapport in the classroom, so your classroom will not have behavioral problems...make sure that all students are on task by giving clear directions, and creating an environment for them to maximize their learning.

Students having ACCESS, there MUST be Equity, so that all learners' needs are addressed.

Practice, Practice, Practice. Be open to challenges, and reflect, reflect, reflect, and tweak your lesson.

This is a fluid process for our craft. It goes without saying that we must strive to become better educators for now, the future and beyond!

We've been doing this for years. There is no question regarding your or my competence as a teacher. But, I gather from this New Teacher Evaluation System that principals can give or not give points in each domain depending on their understanding of Danielson v. your understanding of Danielson v. the NYC DOE's, and the UFT's understanding of Danielson.

I don't mean to be negative really. It's just amazing that this new system can be interpreted by you, me, the principal of AP, the UFT, and the DOE.

While everything in the workshop seemed daunting and the presenters made it seem as if you could grasp it, I left thinking, OMG, this grading system could really crush new teachers and more experienced teachers alike.

Then, it begs the question, what if the principal doesn't like me, how will my evaluation pan out?

Good question. What if the principal or AP have a different view of your teaching style? What if one thinks you are an excellent educator and the other does not? What if the principal is having a bad day, or is interested in firing the whole staff and bringing on "fresher, newer faces"?

There are so many scenarios, so many "What ifs", that it boggles the mind. Truly.

I wanted to tell you about some questions that I had had posed to the "New York Rep", the
woman in the room who supposedly understood how Danielson was being interpreted in NYC.

My first question to her was "How does Danielson incorporate the issues of poverty, hunger, violence, abused kids, kids who are homeless, gangs and a kid or a group of kids in your class having a bad moment, day, week etc? How can a teacher be evaluated, if all of these issues are presented to her during class today, tomorrow, every day of the week?

So, the teacher has a well thought out lesson with all the bells and whistles of having interesting content, the kids are all on board, there is plenty of rigor, the kids are on task, group working is going well, culture and language, and special abilities and disabilities are incorporated, and technology is being used and etc. Then, a kid is sleeping, because he or she is moving from shelter to shelter and gets no sleep. Another kid's family has no money for food. Another kid is being abused by a family member. The scenarios are endless.

Based on the above. How can a teacher be evaluated using the Danielson Framework?

Her response was that there have been some teachers who have received HE ( Highly Effective) ratings. The number is obvious. After all, there are only 26 videos of NYC teachers in practice who have received a rating of Ineffective, Developing, Effective and the elusive HE.

This did not address our issues. We are on the front lines and have to learn to address every student's needs, not knowing who is coming through our doors and what baggage is attached to them.

ATRs will be evaluated on the Old Teacher Evaluation System of "Satisfactory" and "Unsatisfactory". However, ATRs must have and deliver a Common Core State Standards
lesson on the day they are evaluated. This assumes that for those of us who have not been in our own school, or classroom, or given professional development, and practice to use what we have learned, are at a huge disadvantage.

Also, knowing that our lives are so different than a regular classroom teacher, that this is a
travesty really. We don't have our own set of students who know us. We don't have an
administration that knows, and in many cases does not respect us for whatever their
preconceived notions about ATRs is...The students treat us poorly in many cases, and the
administrations treat us poorly, in many cases they think that we are servants, no teaching
professionals.

And what about the professional development? In most of my traveling schools, I have been told that because the principal's budget has been targeting to their staff for P.D., that I cannot attend. In the cases where I did attend, it was a PD specific to that school I was not in, so that I couldn't use it in my pedagogy.

This whole system seems so unfair and arbitrary. The language is codified so that is can lead to so many interpretations depended on what role you play--DOE administrator, UFT office-holder or teacher.

It saddens me as a long term professional to see how this broad brush will be applied to everyone of us with no regard to the real issues of our kids and the condition that they are in when they come to our schools this fall.

Unless we as professionals stand up to these arbitrary measures to evaluate us, we will never move our kids to being college and career ready. I don't care who you are! No one is a miracle worker. If we fail to understand the ramifications of this we leave ourselves and our profession in the balance.

The ultimate losers will be our kids who we love and treasure. Those wonderful, and sometimes not so wonderful kids who will walk through our doors this fall and for the near future will not get their needs met because of the microscope that we are being put under and the data driven classes that we are being forced to teach.

This is my take on my experience at the Danielson Workshop held on August 13, 2013.

I hope that we can learn to lean on each other for support during this coming year. I hope that we can work together for the betterment of our craft and for our students. We're in this together and we need to know that we care enough about one another to make a positive change in the lives of our students. We do it everyday, let's keep it going.

If you need to reach me or talk to me, or would like to get a copy of the literature, you can text me or call me on my cell. Or, if you don't have this information, you can e-mail me at:
clareTeacher123@gmail.com. Be sure to leave your name and contact information and any and all questions. I will be sure to respond to you either with information that I am knowledgeable about or will give your the name, number and e-mail address to people that can help you out immediately.


Have a Great Rest of the Summer. May you have a wonderful 2013-14 School Year.

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