Mar 27, 2012


    ... the Quality Review, the Quality Review! administrators, teachers, school aides, students, families and their pets are all part of drills for the most dreaded event of the academic year, the Quality Review! This is the time when madness replaces teaching, when robots take over and real people cease to function. It is, according to me, an unnatural and overly scripted time when we put on an act for judges on a prowl to find and magnify flaws and shortcomings. Times of prey vs predator. Data binders, lesson plans, students' papers have replaced our spouses, children, friends and life altogether, we mechanically partake in endless meetings and professional developments where "experts" teach us how to perform on the  review get a high score to keep the school open and save our jobs. Highly motivating!!
       In times like these decreased morale and exhaustion termite the mind leading to students and teacher under performance! Yes, some stressful situations stimulate, yet many more times stress hinders and paralyzes. And to be put under the Quality Review microscope one must be paralyzed.
     The school is under a decorative siege; it will turn into a giant showcase with students' work, standards, rubrics, teacher's comments and prompts, on a proud display of academic productivity. The current units and projects will fill the walls hang from ceilings, windows and out to dry on indoor clotheslines... I teach ESL and Figurative Language unit, covers the classroom walls all shiny and ready observation and dissection.
       Just as I stepped back to critique it the "mock" quality review conducted by our administrators,  walks swoops down on wings of trouble. Eyes are rolling up and down the walls and up again One misspelled word on a poster by the door is spotted and corrected. Then on a chart poster the word onomatopoeia gets the principal's attention, she steps closer to the chart and skims over every letter, takes a step back and gets close-up again for more onomatopoeia wrestle. Hmm...
      Next the principal turns to her trusted assistant, "is this spelled right?" she asks visibly confused, I answer, "yes, it is" she ignores both of us and walks in the hallway where she grabs a teacher in transit and drags her in front of the word in the ring. When the third response does not suffice she storms  back in the hallway and minutes later she drags in a student to check my work. OUCH!

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