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Leadership and Activism, School Stories

Sneaky Evaluators: Who Sent You, and Why are You Disrupting My Class?

Originally posted at

There is a constant stream of evaluators and academic “coaches” streaming through the classrooms at my school. They come in driving unreasonably nice cars, and always look like they just came from a designer boutique and then a full service salon. They look like blooming movie star hopefuls or just well kept wives of the wealthy, noses pointed to the heavens and all. They’re interactions with us lowly teachers come in the form of a note in our box or a message through the principal that we need more of this or that or to put our objectives on a certain part of our boards. These evaluators float through our classrooms on Jimmy Choo heels with iPads in hand. I’ve spoken before, to be polite, when one stepped into my room. She did not look up. She just made a note—perhaps that I’m a distracted teacher.

It’s uncomfortable to have a complete stranger walk in to your classroom and start taking notes with no introduction. Further, it’s disruptive. Kids don’t take strangers lightly always. They’re encroaching on our established safe space. And, I understand what they’re doing and why, many of my colleagues do not. The way they carry themselves is less than desirable, and the fact that I hear they’re “coaches” but they make no attempt to help us know who they are and why they’re with us is problematic. I don’t teach in a rich or even middle class school. We’re humble people of humble means. We have problems, many of which are caused by the segregation of students and allocation of finances in the district. Knowing the district is paying for these celestial snobs to walk through our crumbling building is bothersome and disturbing.

Just let us know why you’re here and who you are. What are you looking for? Are you here to help or screw us? Don’t be sneaky.

It’s bothersome that this is not a rare occurrence in our nations schools. We teachers are under the gun, but we will never know the gunner, nor the reason why they shot us.


3 thoughts on “Sneaky Evaluators: Who Sent You, and Why are You Disrupting My Class?

  1. I, too, teach in a low-SES district and have experienced the constant stream of coaches and consultants. It feels like someone entered our home and never said, “hello.” It feels like they encroached on our space and never even noticed. If they are, indeed, there to observe and not judge or to coach and not dismiss us, why not get to know us? Why not be a part of the classroom?

    Posted by John T. Spencer | September 18, 2012, 8:16 am
  2. Seems very strange to me. I can’t imagine working in this type of situation.

    Posted by Blair Peterson | September 18, 2012, 5:59 pm
  3. I am keeping score on reasons why I am relieved to NOT be teaching under today’s hostile regime of corporate hijackers.I would guess I’ve collected dozens of reasons. This one, perhaps, takes the cake! Don’t even know where to beginbreaking down this bombardment of insanity upon teachers! One thing I do know is that district office commandants are so keen on securing feathers in their caps for being heroeson winning the war on education reform, that I believe they would eat their young to do so. The pyramid is inverted. Insteadof students, teachers and parents being at the tip top of the pyramid with broad support as its foundation, it is upsidedown.Students, teachers and parents are burdened with way too much topheavy interference, mandates, critiques, distractions and power mongersthat they can hardly breathe, much less think. Learning happens at the ground level Very frankly, we teachers can delivergreat learning experiences without the district office opening their doors at all. Of course, we need clerical, marketingand supply support, but nowhere is there a need for pedagogical mandates. You see, we teachers, as professionals, can be trustedto take care of business just fine without interruptions from overpaid officials whose jobs only exist because of us, the professionalswho are face to face with students everyday. In fact, their jobs can only be justified if they find something to do, which is tellingus, the only professionals that matter, the what/why/when/where/how/who of our work…here’s the honest truth. We don’t reallyneed your input. What we do can be done more efficiently, effectively and enjoyably without your interference. Get off the campuses,stay out of our classrooms, allow the principals to do their jobs, make room on the sidewalks for parents, volunteers, experts andquit trying to push your corporate business model on the important work that requires absolutely nothing from you to get it done well. Professional educators deserve encouragement, not entrapment. They have earned the right to a dignified environment. Teachersare the pillars of our country’s workforce. They have the right to be heard. They get the front seats to the experience. They arethe protectors, leaders and inspirations for the most precious part of our citizens…children. Though these privileges are challengingand often too difficult for some, they are honorable. No amount of pressure to perform, push to make the grade and robust demandswill change this one principle of teaching/learning. It only happens when the environment for both teachers and students issafe for taking risks, meaningful curriculum, best practices, autonomy of instruction, child-centered, brain-compatible and free from stress and anxiety. The more oppressive the space, the less learning will take place. Get out of our way. You are annoying us to no end. Your tactics will not work.The motives are fraudulent and ill-conceived. Nothing has ever been more transparent in education than the implausiblerhetoric coming down from on high. You know it. We professionals know it. It’s all beginning to look rather silly. We don’tsuffer fools for very long. Time is almost up. Give it up, go away, find other work…perhaps in a cubicle where you are lesslikely to do any more harm to education directly. The biggest problem of all is the DOE. Get rid of it, too. Outraged? Yeah, you bet I am! (To my partners-in-crime bcc’d, thought you might like to see the battle I decided to wage today.) Sandy Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2012 03:51:39 +0000 To:

    Posted by Sandy Hume | September 19, 2012, 11:19 am

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