The ‘Silly Season’ seams to have begun. In New York State high stakes standardized testing time is rapidly approaching. Since it’s getting close to test time, it seems that ‘test prep time’ aka ‘Silly Season’ has arrived.
So why do I call it the ‘Silly Season?
Some background..In NY, because we have signed on to the Race to the Top nonsense, all districts must come up with a way to evaluate teachers, Many districts have signed on to implement Charlotte Danielson’s ” Framework to Teaching” rubric which is officially an approved ‘teacher practice rubric.’ This framework for teaching provides four domains that all teachers should be evaluated on. Through observation and evidence teachers (and some already are) will be evaluated on planning and preparation, the classroom environment ,instruction, and their professional responsibilities. Sounds good right? Well the jury is still out on how well this will work, however, it seems as though the rubric seems to be forgotten once the ‘Silly Season’ comes around.
Even though many of us have sat through endless hours of professional development (that’s what administrators have to label it for reporting purposes) on Charlotte Danielson’s ” Framework to Teaching” rubric, when the ‘Silly Season arrives we are more or less told to abandon some of these approved teacher practices, we are going to be evaluated on. You see the ‘Silly Season has arrived. It’s the season where test prep gets ramped up all across the state, and we strive to make 2’s 3’s and 3’s 4’s! Sounds silly doesn’t it?
Silly Season Traditions
Now I’ve search these new rubrics, even read them backwards looking for typos, yet I can’t find standardized test prep anywhere. Why just today I had to administer a ‘practice test’ simulating test taking procedures to my class, there by wasting over 1 hour of valuable class time. Silly isn’t it? Plus some of the topics on the practice test haven’t even been covered in class yet, super silly!
In my district we offer ‘clinics to all 3rd graders’ to help them prepare for these tests, and today we kicked off the ‘Silly Season’ with the start of after school clinics. We were all given math practice test question workbooks, we administered an opening benchmark test, and we began marching our charges through multiple choice problems.Many by the way, math problems that the children haven’t even been taught yet. Again, I’ve looked through Charlotte Danielson’s ” Framework to Teaching” rubric and I can’t find this teaching ( is it teaching?)practice anywhere. So what are we doing? We’ll it’s Silly Season, in NY and that should be answer enough.
Silly Season Guidelines
1. Chuck the rubrics and raise the score!
2. Drill baby drill!
3. Gather as much useless data as possible.
4. Smile and tell the kids, don’t make careless mistakes.
5. Teach kids how to fill in bubbles
6. Drill baby drill! ( reminder)
And most importantly do what I do!
During Silly Season, when no one is around, shut the door to your room, teach your heart out and the Silly Season will be over soon.