iteach5m

Reflections and thoughts on teaching and learning.

The Frustrations of SGO

on October 11, 2015

Forgive for me for venting, but I am a frustrated teacher.  How did I get to this place?   That’s the question I kept asking myself this week as I was attempting to the complete the requirements for my SGO’s or STUDENT GROWTH OBJECTIVES for this year. When did this need to document and prove myself get out of hand?  How could anyone think that writing these two objectives would enhance my teaching practice?  What was the thought process that went into requiring them?  Was there even a thought process?

Student Growth Objectives.  I have been writing student growth objectives since I started my teaching career.  Just not in the way I am now required to do as part of an evaluation to prove my worth.  My students’ growth and improvement are always at the forefront of what I do.  I always have my students’ growth in mind when I am planning my lessons.  I have my students’ growth in mind when I am teaching a lesson.  And, I have my students’ growth in mind after the lesson ends and I am reflecting on it looking for ways to improve for the next lesson.   Every good teacher is evaluating and re-evaluating what they do to ensure that their students are making progress and learning.  This happens over and over again in the classroom. Day after day, lesson after lesson, student by student.

How can two examples or two assessments fully encompass all the learning that occurs in any classroom?  What about the differentiation I provide for those students that need it? How do I show that in an SGO?  What about the learning that takes place without a formal assessment? What about that sidebar conference or before or after school help session?

In the hours taken collecting data to prove I’m doing a good job, how about letting me use that time and do my job?  I could use that time to plan lessons on how to reach the student who didn’t understand a concept the way I taught it.  I could find a book that would interest the student who is a reluctant reader.  Anything would be a better use of my time.

I watched as the new teachers to my district struggled to choose the perfect item to have as their assessment, worrying that a poor choice could make or break their career.  I saw their exhaustion and frustration as they scrambled to add one more thing to their already overfilled plate.  All they really want and need is time in the classroom working with their students, time in the evening to organize their thoughts and plan their next day, a moment to regroup and refresh.  Time to connect with other educators and learn from each other. The same thing that all teachers want and need, but are not provided because we are under a constant microscope.  We constantly have to prove our self-worth using data that will make us a number at the end of an evaluation.

How did we get to this place?  I am not really sure, but I know we need to move away from the place we are in  and allow teachers to teach and students to learn.  We need to be allowed focus on providing our students with the best possible environments to learn.  We know how to do that.  We have always known how to do that, even without proving it in a formal Student Growth Objective.

For now, I have completed my SGOs.   The pre-assessments were given and are tucked away in a safe place.  I will get them out in March when I have to complete my post-assessment.  I will “prove” what a good teacher I am by the progress my students made on these two isolated items.  Until then, I am going to do what most teachers do, get back to what’s really important – my students and what they need to be successful.  I will be that good teacher my students and parents already know I am and will be for them.


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