The Charge and the Challenges
Chapter 10. How do We Relate to Teachers as Revolutionaries in a System that Evaluates Them?
The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn when teachers themselves are taught to learn.
—Bertolt Brecht, German playwright and poet
…it depicts a sort of war, with a clear definition of sides being drawn; teachers AKA “revolutionaries” against an evaluation system. It could be all the negativity surrounding the new evaluation system, but that was the first image that came to mind, although I like the idea of being considered revolutionary.
—Tiffanie, New York City high school teacher
As a former elementary and middle school teacher, I have a great deal of respect and empathy for teachers. Teacher evaluation, performance merit pay, measurement of student achievement, and Common Core State Standards are topics in the popular media that are often framed in terms that depict teachers and school authorities in opposition over the merits of these initiatives in school reform. As an assistant professor in a graduate school of education at a private college in New York City, I work with teachers in professional development workshops, service learning projects in public schools, and in the graduate courses that I teach. My experiences with New York City teachers in these different settings leave me concerned about their morale and dispositions toward their work. I would summarize my thoughts on how New ← 185 | 186 → York City teachers are doing as follows: Teachers are stressed about learning a new curriculum that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, while simultaneously preparing to be...
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