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Saturday, September 14, 2013

My First Full Week Back...




OK... So this is how I felt by the end of Wednesday...  This week was my first full week of school.  All in all the week started out well...  The kids have been good...  Then Wednesday hit...

It was a HOT and VERY HUMID day here in NJ on Wednesday...  My art room is on the second floor over the cafeteria kitchen (nice and hot upstairs, always).  My fan was rotating on high, not that it mattered.  I have been doing my pre-assessments all week for my SGO's.  No, we have not gotten to do any actual art yet...  All my pre-assessments need to be done and on Excel spread sheets by September 30th.

We also have a new evaluation system that was passed into law and being used this year. Instead of being observed one time a year for a full lesson as a tenured staff member, I will be observed three times this year for 20 minutes each. The observations are being described a "Snapshots" of the time the administrator is in my room.  It may be the first 20 minutes of a lesson, the middle, the end or even part of two classes back to back..

We have all decided we don't want to be our principal this year because of the amount of observations that need to be done.  Well, Day five into school, my principal walks into my room on that hot, sweaty afternoon with laptop in hand and I said out loud: "Nooo..."  My principal replied:  "Yes, sorry..."  My first 20 minute observation...






I was waiting for my first afternoon class to arrive.  Went outside my door to wait for them... They arrived fresh from recess and they were a hot, sweaty, whiny mess of 2nd graders!  The class was coming to art for the first time this year..  They didn't even have table assignments yet!  I kept thinking I'm going to be getting the kids settled in to their tables and the room...  I'm not doing a full blown lesson...  This is going to be a disaster...  I told myself, "It is what it is!"  Make the best of it!

I gave my instructions at the door and led the kids in, gave them their table assignments and explained to them that we were going to be decorating and putting together their Art Passports that we were going to be using this year to keep our art history info in this year. The kids set to work decorating their passports and drawing their self-portraits for the inside cover.  Everything that could go wrong did..  Hot, cranky children, one began to misbehave and his parants had to remove him from the room, kids were annoying each other, one melted down because the other kids at the table said he was annoying them...  I kept doing my thing and continued on...  No way did I try to pull the kids one at a time for some pre-assessments! I kept moving around the room with a smile on my face even though on the  inside I was cringing thinking that all of this was my first observation!






Friday the 13th:   Picture day at school, I forgot..  This years pic on my ID is going to be just lovely...  I'll just hide it with little pictures my Kinders make me!  I have some from last year in my ID case still...

My first paycheck of the year, even more being taken out of my check for my health insurance benefits (new law passed 3 years ago, thank you Gov).  Mind you, I don't have a problem paying for my benefits but when the percentage goes up and takes up the first real raise I was going to get in 3 years and some extra it's really depressing (oh and my car insurance went up).  All I kept thinking was, the way the day was going I was going to get my observation back too.  All my colleagues on my floor knew I was observed and kept asking me, "Did you get it back yet?"  At least the weather broke the night before and it was pleasantly warm with no humidity.  So the day ended and I went home.  Got an ice coffee at the deli, I deserved it.

I checked my school e-mail when I got home and found one that said my observation was ready for me to view on line (it's Friday the 13th, do I really want to open it?) One other colleague had gotten their first one back and was really disappointed with their scores so I was nervous...  We get a score for each of 16 different things on a rubric. The scores run from 1-4 with one being the worst and four the best.  We were told that 4 was "A place that we would visit from time to time but we were not going to live there".  I opened my observation and a smile began to break on my face for the first time all day!!!  Fifteen of the sixteen items I was being scored on were ALL 3's!!!!  I got one 2 for Questioning and Discussion but who cares!!!  As I read all the documentation that went along with the reasons for the scores, I realized that ALL the hard work and time I had put into my classroom organization and management and everything that I do daily as a teacher no matter what the situation really did get noticed and does count!  One down, two to go...  :)

14 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, what a stressful week. I am so glad you got your observation back and that it was all good news, especially before the weekend so now you can relax. I wish they would just observe the teacher teaching, and that would be enough. How you relate to the kids, how excited they are to be there, and how you face disruptions, wouldn't it be great to just be able to teach?
    Hugs to you and take a deep breath, you deserve it.
    Meredith

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    1. Thanks! I decided that the weekend is going to be work free! I did my assessment scoring Friday night so I don't have it to do this weekend! I have a shawl I am trying to finish up and I am determined to finish it today! I am on the final row of edging, it's pretty Fall colors and I can't wait ti be able to wear it! :)

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  2. Wow, glad that story had a happy ending! Enjoy your weekend.

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    1. My husband always says that the number 13 is lucky! Of all that went on I'm glad thats the one that luck hit! Thanks! I am taking it easy this weekend and relaxing! :)

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  3. From one NJ teacher to another, I feel you on ALL ACCOUNTS!

    -SGO's are making me nuts! Luckily we don't have to have ours in until Nov. 15th.

    -The heat was HORRIBLE! (My kids were m e l t i n g!)

    -The new observation system is just bananas. Not looking forward to them this year, but congrats on the 3's!!

    -We got the whole "4 is a place you visit, but not a place you live" bit, too. Imagine saying that to a student? "A is a grade you visit, but not where you'll live."

    Unbelievable. I hope next week is better (for the both of us!).

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    1. All my SGO's were written and handed in for review before I left last June. My alignments are done and now its just the data thats due at the end of Sept. Once thats done I told the kids we are good for a few months. Then its mid-assessmensts in Jan/feb to see if my SGO's are working, make any changes if I need to and then final assessments in May/June. I can't wait to start actual art projects this week! Hang in there PWB! We are all in the same boat! :)

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  4. Congrats on the great score!!! Very uplifting Im sure :)

    -Birgitta

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    1. So glad to hear from you! Hope you are feeling well! :)

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  5. Wow!!!!! Any chance you would be willing to share your SGO's? I'm very confused. I'm thinking of doing it with just 2 classes. That equals 2 SGO's right?
    I teach in the Southern part of NJ

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  6. according to my principal (who used be our curriculum supervisor for many years) your SGO's need to cover the majority of your student population. I am in 2 schools. I wrote one for each school and I am assessing 1st and 2nd grade for one SGO and 4th and5th for the other SGO. I based them on their knowledge of the elements of art. color, shape and line for the one and all of the elements for the other. We'll see how it goes. So far my data is falling the way it should for pre-assessments so if all goes well at mid I will not have to make any adjustments. Good luck! :)

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    1. Also go to Achieve NJ and read about SGO's and what the state is looking for .

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  7. Observations on the first week are just wrong! We are in Maine and the heat and humidity was just as bad here last week. It was hard to function. What kind of pre-assessments do they require you to do in art? What is an SGO? Just so I can keep an eye out for it and steer clear. Our governor wants to use your governor's education model because he thinks it is so wonderful. Ugh!

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  8. SGO stands for Student Goal Objectives. If you're really interested google, Achieve NJ and the site we use will come up. I have to have data driven assessments for my pre, mid and post-assessments. Our new observations are all part of the tenure reform that our gov likes to boast about.

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  9. Holy cow how did I miss all this??? What a week! I hope this week is better for you! I see so many similarites, and some scary ones too. (I'm from Medford NJ, went to Trenton State and spent my first 4 years of teaching art...in downtown Trenton whooo hooo!!!)... and then I moved to Dallas,Texas. So, if Christy is looking at Perry (which I don't know if he is, but that would be FRIGHTENINGLike, seriously.-we have multiple "walk throughs" (15 min observations thoughout the year) and one entire class observation with 15 domains that we are graded on. It is so stressful, I stopped all goat rodeos years ago! Now I just do my thing and smile. Plus with us being 1:x this year, it is non stop traffic in my room :D. And Perry took billions out of education to fill the state budget (before that awesome presidental bid) so our insurance went up as well. We finally got a 3% raise this year. We are non-union. New teachers are making about 10 grand less than me, a 20 year veteran. Gotta love our gig! yep yep yep. Feel ya, sista! (...and you will notice I said nothing about the heat because we this awesome thing called air conditioning! ^.^ hahahaha!)Have a great week!

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