Interesting post NYC Educator wrote about the anxiety some teachers are feeling Sunday night/Monday morning as they try and sleep before returning to the work week.
I awoke at 3:30 this morning and had some difficulty getting back to sleep.
I kept thinking about that 15 minute mini observation that's coming.
I kept thinking about the lessons I had for today (which were good ones, but nonetheless I worry in the Era of Danielson) and the lessons I needed to write for tomorrow and the grading I still need to do today so I can get report card grades ready and the notifications I need to make to parents that their children have failed the second marking period (thankfully just a small group there and I have already been in contact with most of these parents.)
I kept thinking about the stupid meetings we have after school that will waste an hour and a half of my life so that the administration can tell the DOE we meet cross-department and cross grade level to talk about helping the lowest performing students in the schools.
The reality is, we come to the same conclusion every time we meet - we need more guidance counselors because many of the students in the lowest performing group are suffering from all kinds of trauma, from unresolved emotional pain over a dead parent to the disruption of living in a homeless shelter to recurring health issues to getting bounced around from foster home to foster home, and they are unable to raise their achievement levels while trying to deal with these socio-emotional issues.
We talk strategies to try and reach these students in any case, but it's difficult to be successful at this when they're either chronically absent from school, emotionally detached from their lessons, or angry/hurt/sad from the events in their lives.
As NYC Educator wrote, there isn't much you can do at 3:30 AM to fix any of these problems and losing sleep over them surely won't make finding solutions any easier.
But when you have a system run by FEAR in which the people in charge are given the power (some would say bludgeons) in the form of the Danielson rubric to rate anybody they want "ineffective" regardless of actual performance, teaching skill or esteem from colleagues and/or students, this sort of thing happens.
The good news is, they're having some sleepless nights at SED and the Regents and the governor's mansion too, as the opposition and criticism to the Cuomo/Tisch/King reform agenda mounts.
Let us do our best to keep the pressure up on these politicians and their functionaries in order to get this system changed from one that runs on FEAR to one that runs on mutual collaboration and understanding.
If I could get one New Year's wish granted by the universe, it would be that whomever takes over the NYCDOE has some understanding of the socio-emotional issues students are dealing with and gives schools and teachers the supports needed to really reach these kids.