Cloudy Weather for Teaching
Ariel Sacks reflects on the multitude of factors, from lack of resources to chronic student absenteeism, that can "cloud" teachers' effectiveness in low-income urban schools. It's something that needs to be considered, she suggests, when it comes to evaluating teacher performance.
Teachers at schools like mine get used the multitude of x factors. In fact, we stop expecting everything to be "just so" and start going out of our way to plan for all of the unexpected things that might happen. Does this make us less effective? Maybe it does, in a way. It is harder to address problems quickly and effectively, when new problems present themselves simultaneously. But is it fair to call us less effective? Is it actually fair to measure my effectiveness in the same way my former colleague's teaching is now measured [at a well-managed and -resourced KIPP school], when the playing field is not level? Is the job of teaching in these very disparate environments even the same?
Of course, the $10 million underlying question is, how can we level playing field? Perhaps more specifically: What lessons can be gleaned from the KIPP school her colleague transferred to?