Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reflection on Collaboration at my School Site

The Science teachers in my pod are very supportive, and we often have lunch together. I talk with other science teachers in my pod on a daily basis. There are two pods with science teachers, classrooms, and resources, but there is little collaboration or communication between the two pods, outside of our weekly team meetings. However, whenever I go over to the other pod to ask for assistance, the teachers are very helpful and supportive.
The Science Department at my site meets for an hour every week before school. Although I think the frequency of these meetings is helpful, the focus of these meetings is often on district-appointed and administrative-directed topics, which can be frustrating for some of the teachers. It seems like there are a lot of heated feelings, complaints and disagreements at every meeting, directed towards the team leader. The team leader seems to be a major connection between the teachers of the Science Department and the administration team. I don’t think the teacher’s feel that their voices are being heard. Often, the meetings are focused on vague, abstract topics like defining “rigor” or setting a goal to raise benchmark scores by 2 percentile points next year. Most meetings rely heavily on discussions and analyses of benchmark scores, which is how the districts evaluate teacher performance. The teachers feel this evaluation is inaccurate and unfair and forces them to “teach to the test”.

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