binder_research_28746_1_1_9218This “Why I Don’t Have Time to Teach” blog came to me during my prep period today. The reason I don’t have time to teach is due to the demands that APPR has put on all educators in terms of paper work. Example: Today I set up yet another account, with another password, to provide another resource, to link my students back to the state so that they can gather more data for what appears to be… naught. This time I was retrieving a new PIN and an instruction booklet for Roster Verification. The email stated: This allows you to view the courses and students that have been reported to NYSED, by my district. This paper work only took 20 minutes of my time – retrieving the password, and 40 minutes of my time – maneuvering through the maze to verify that the dates were correct. They weren’t and that was an hour out of my day.

Now I’m working on the culling of my evidence binder. All school year I have been collecting evidence of student learning, another new component of teacher assessment.  I have to hand this into the administration so they can assign a grade to me based on this compilation of varying paper work, which represents my effectiveness as a teacher. My meeting with admin is slated soon and I’ve been allotted ten minutes to share my binder. BTW, since this is a new task I saved everything, just as I was told to do and now I’m asked to weed out my evidence and get it down to 10 pieces of paper. Remind me again, why am I doing this? How can anyone judge a teacher fairly from a four inch evidence binder comprised of ten entries? And just now I’ve learned that I can buy an evidence binder template and detailed instructions at Teachers PayTeachers for only $3.00!

Here is the short list of what each teacher is responsible for in NY State:

Understanding the Four Domains:
Rubrics: Domain 1 (Planning and Preparation)
Domain 2 (Learning Environment)
Domain 3 (Instruction)
Domain 4 (Professional Responsibilities and Professional Growth)
Timeline for Annual Professional Performance Review
Formal Teacher Observation Form
Formal Teacher Observation Pre & Post Meetings
Informal Teacher Observation Form
Professional Goal Setting Form
Annual Teacher Evaluation Forms (Professional Practice and Composite)
New York State Teaching Standards
Documenting all activities on My Learning Plan

In a recent post on GettingSmart, entitled:  On Being a Real Person: The Missing Core of K-12, Tom Vander Ark states that Reed Hastings predicted computers will keep getting better at teaching stuff, and that will allow teachers to focus on what computers will never do – teach young people how to be human. Reed said new learning technology “will free up teachers to teach humanity” including the ability to create and collaborate. Tom then describes how this is not happening for a variety of reasons. I could not agree more. Teach humanity? Teachers today are too overwhelmed with data driven education, standardization, testing and adherence to the new Common Core. You can read more about this concept in Digital Learning Now!

Ensuring College and Career-Readiness for All, is what I am obliged to do for every student. Realistically, what is being taught in your average classroom is trivia. Despite the waves of change over the decades to improve American education so that advances in our understanding and appreciation of the basic fact that everyone’s different and learns in different ways, much of what students are exposed to comes down to their ability to recall and regurgitate information.  Most of this information is not retained and in the meantime creativity, imagination, and out of the box thinkers are stifled. Every day I read that the jobs of the future will involve creativity, collaboration, critical thinking skills, and communication. Forbes Magazine discusses the creative class and the edge they have job-wise in this article.

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Remind me again, why is my creativity as a teacher, and everyone else’s in this profession, being choked out by exhaustive paper work, senseless evaluations and exhaustive data collection… especially when rarely is this data used appropriately!?!

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