The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Man, what a whirlwind week. Meetings, rehearsals, shopping, craziness, and emotionally draining.  I need to try not to let myself get so stressed, but it is hard. The administrator who has been coming to observe me for my bonus told me she wants to meet next week so that we can discuss my scores and I can discuss with her anything I disagree with. This is slightly disheartening to me, because if she was giving me all good scores, then I obviously wouldn't disagree with any of it. Sadness. Plus, I honestly didn't know when I could tell her that I could meet. I told her Thursday before the show was an okay time, but literally every other second of my week seems to be full (plus, I still have to make it to Frends Beauty Supply to stock up on make-up at some point in the week- I do not know when).

In addition, I got a chance to look at the benchmark test that the students will be taking next week, with the opportunity to veto questions that were not related to what was taught this semester. These tests are supposed to measure student performance. The students' performance will determine a large percentage of my bonus pay because the school where I teach believes in giving performance pay, and starting this year, a significant amount must be tied to student performance because Race to the Top is giving funds to schools that pay bonuses to teachers "who are highly effective in the way that they instruct students," which my school has decided is best measured by these tests. Unfortunately, most of what was on the tests was so ridiculous. I don't know how they chose these. They were like half based on standards I am not teaching until next semester. Ridiculous.

I may be frustrated by the kinks in the system that I feel may result in me not getting my full bonus, despite the fact that I truly believe I am a highly effective teacher, but I do still believe that performance based pay for teachers can be a good thing... there just has to be a better way to do it.

So, back to the whirlwind this week- wrapping up my last unit of the semester, giving benchmark exams and lexile tests, and biggest of all, producing "A Christmas Carol."

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