Evaluators - One common complaint is that the person assessing your teaching has no idea what they are talking about. People that don't speak Spanish evaluating a Spanish class, people that don't understand history evaluating a social studies class. It happens, but this is largely overblown in my opinion. Good instruction is good instruction; however, what is NOT fair is the AP that pushes off all of your spots until May 1st then gives you 5 in one week to reach the 7 they need to give your 45 minute. That is malarkey. The point of the spots is to help coach you to be better. To help you build up to your 45 minute where you could have learned all the lessons they had to teach and you are rewarded for becoming a better teacher. That's not happening on many campuses. It's like giving an ACP to a kid that goes to class once a month. Oh wait...that's about to happen.
Achievement issues - I'm all for using tests to assess mastery and holding students accountable for their education. Including achievement in TEI is not a bad thing. Here's my problem. Some of the kids in our classes actively choose not to learn anything. Sure, TEI accounts for that by using absences to moderate the students used for the evaluations, but the bigger problem is that the majority of students at our most challenging campuses are academically behind. How can you put a teacher's livelihood on the back of a kid that shows up everyday but is functionally illiterate? If they can't read the test or don't possess the critical thinking skills to perform, why is that on the teacher? Is the expectation to be able to grow a kid from 5th grade to 11th grade in 6 months? That's superhero stuff. You could get Arne Duncan, President Obama, and that woman from The Blind Side down here and the 3 of them together wouldn't be able to move the needle that far.
Sticking it out - There is something to be said to maintaining pay raises per year of service. Some of our schools need that continuity of service from teachers that know the school and know the community. I've been in the corporate world and understand the fire performance based incentives can light under people. I'm for it, but at some campuses, just being there is worth a reward and staying there is also something that should be on the table. Some of our campuses are just plain dangerous. Some are so draining emotionally that teachers wake up wishing they'd fallen during the night and dislocated something just so they could go in late and not use up PTO day. Teachers that want to be at these schools are special and should be treated as such.
Apples to Oranges - TEI, like several of the more recent changes in DISD, assume all students are the same and all campuses are the same. I think future DISD ACE School Dade proved that isn't the case. Teachers at these schools shouldn't be evaluated against teachers at a place like Townview or Woodrow. I understand the arguments about growth being more difficult at places like that because everyone is performing at such a high level that there's nowhere to go since everyone is at the top; however, if growing a kid from a 30 to a 50 was worthy of praise, I'd be drowning in medals. Nobody is rewarding me for that. Teachers at better schools wouldn't stand for a system that works that way and many aren't willing to come down here to the failing schools to make their teacher fortunes. I don't blame them. Creating separate tracks in TEI makes sense in that regard.
Anyway, it's TEI season so I'm still trying to figure out my thoughts. What are yours?