My name is KJ/Kerry-Jean.
I’m a 24 year old trying to make it in the exciting world of teaching high school history. Due to the complete lack of available education jobs right now, I’m currently stuck working as a substitute teacher. The only highlight of this situation is that I had ample time to complete my Master’s Degree in History.
Reading has always been a passion of mine. What started as an interest in classic mythology and fairy tales as a kid has now blossomed into a fairly substantial obsession with building up my personal library. I don’t read for escapism, but rather to push my mind to new limits, so I’ll admit to being a bit of snob when it comes to literature. I will always read a book before criticizing it, but I have difficulty taking some of my friends seriously when they gush over the newest romances or vampire trends.
This blog is my love note to literature. I use it to explore many different genres at once, discuss some of my favorite authors, and highlight books that I feel deserve more credit from the general audience. If you ever have suggestions or are looking for recommendations, I’m all ears.
Hey, thanks for this! It warms my heart.
I’m not much of a literary author. While I’ve participated in (and won) NaNoWriMo a couple times, I doubt that I’ll ever push to have those works published. It’s more just for fun and to see what I’m capable of creating.
I’m much more interested in continuing some of my academic research and someday publishing historical studies. (As much as I love to read, I’m a historian first and foremost.) This is more of an achievable goal, especially if I choose to work towards my PhD. So if you’re interested in reading about the development of ecofeminist movements worldwide or the tactics that white bureaucratics employed in the 1900s to force Native American children into boarding schools, then I’m your gal. Those are the two subjects I’ll likely pursue.
As someone going into teaching, I would want to be slapped if I ever put myself before my students. These people have no accountability and no sense of decency. Why be a teacher if you’re going to be greedy and drop your responsibility every time you don’t get what you want? Didn’t you know going in you weren’t going to make immaculate amounts of money?
“As someone going into teaching,” eh? In other words, you are not a teacher.
There is a big difference between wanting to teach, studying education, and actually being a teacher. Every college kid learns that when they’re shoved in front of a classroom their first time. Many of them change majors immediately afterward, not to mention that half of teachers quit within 5 years because they cannot handle the workload. So I say this respectfully: If you do not understand the situation, please do not comment on it. Try to make a living on this career before labeling others as indecent. You are missing quite a bit of information here and have turned the situation into black and white.
We don’t expect to make “immaculate” amounts of money, but we darn well expect to be able to stay above the poverty line while providing our students with the resources necessary to succeed in standardized testing. And yes - In a world where teachers are forced to buy their own classroom materials, those two desires are very much linked.
Here are some links that you (and everyone else) should read through:
So a few months ago I posted about the state of New York’s teacher evaluations. I talked about why it was such a bad idea for 60% of the measurement to come from a teacher’s personal performance (graded through observations and interaction with their principal) and for 40% to come from student performances on standardized tests.
This week, the NY Senate has continued voting on the teacher evaluation policy. Are they taking away the strict emphasis on standardized testing? Are they creating new forms of measurements to adjust for funding inequalities? Oh no, of course not! Instead, they’re fighting to make all evaluations actively available to the public.
The first form of the bill would have allowed any teacher’s score to be openly shared with anyone who wanted it - Parents could post the scores online, share them with friends, or even submit them to the media. Thankfully, the bill that actually passed today has cut down on a little bit of that. But parents can still request teacher scores and there are very few prohibitive policies that would prevent them from quietly passing the information around.
I am not alone in calling: Bullshit
First - The entire system currently in place for evaluating teachers is a mess and is not indicative of an educator’s abilities. Depending on the class, some teachers will automatically score higher or lower. (Poverty, behavioral problems, access to technology, and mental illness are some variables) Some teachers may not actually want to score high because that implies skills that their particular students should not develop yet (Example - My mother teaches gym to kindergartners. In order for her to earn the highest rating, her kids would have to take initiative and put away their gym equipment without being asked. This is a bad thing since 1. the equipment usually has to stay out for all the other classes, 2. the equipment is too large for them to safely handle and 3. she would have to issue a request that they then put everything back, which would automatically violate her high rating. Catch-22) The system is broken and is not an accurate way to weed out the people who should not be teaching.
And Second - Parents and the general public will not likely understand the rating scale. Teachers will be given a score of 1-4. 4 will probably never, ever, ever be earned. While 1 does not mean that a teacher is necessarily incompetent, just that they have not hit a handful of arbitrary standards. But if a parent sees that their child’s teacher earned a 2? All hell will break loose!
Parents want the best for this child, and that is both a blessing and a curse. Making evaluations public will simply lead parents to become misinformed about their child’s education, likely leading them to make impossible and highly disruptive requests on the administration. Not every kid can be taught be a 4 teacher, nor would every kid thrive in that environment. Trying to switch around schedules, force 4 teachers to take on larger/more classes, or even dealing with demands that a lower scored teacher be fired will create havoc for a school. Not to mention that the time and effort put forth to deal with the system is a money-sink.
The NY Teacher’s Union is fighting this bill. Hard. And there have been a significant amount of improvements over the bill that was first proposed. But passing this system will inevitably create so many headaches and unnecessary financial wastes for school districts that are already strapped for employees, time and funds.
The public, even parents, do not have the automatic right to see a teacher’s evaluation score. Such information is intended for the purposes of employment. A parent who wishes to decide whether or not their child should be taught by a particular teacher should instead schedule conferences (in person or over the phone), talk directly with the principal, and take a hands-on approach to looking over their child’s school work. But a numerical score is not enough information to make any such personal judgments. This system will inevitably encourage parental outrage and likely force many capable teachers out of work.