We had our performance evaluations today, two weeks behind the required date according to our contract. I was deemed by the Big Cheese wholly inadequate on all four areas of professional standards, and was put on Performance Improvement Needed status. Needless to say, I found this quite surprising, given that I've had many jobs in my life and I've never had a review less than above expectations, and rarely under far above expectations.
I smelled a rat immediately because I know the Big Cheese is having a change of heart, and that she might return next year after all instead of retiring. Since she has to winnow 50% of the staff due to the fact we were zero-based, she might be firing broadsides now about who she wants on her team next year. That's fine, but this is not how you communicate that information. I asked questions about my review, a lot of them, and all of them premised on the fact that I haven't seen her face in my room since November 9th, at which time I had a formal observation which went very well. How, I wondered aloud, could she deem me so totally unsatisfactory when she's never in my room, and rarely on my floor?
At first she told me that the ISTs and AP had told her my lesson plans weren't up to snuff, and that my classroom management was horrible. I said "That's funny, they always tell me how well I'm doing with very difficult children."
"They do?" she said. "Well, I'll have to meet with them again," she said, pulling my review back across the desk.
Then she said inspectors from the City had me on their radar as a "problematic" teacher who asked simple questions and had bad management skills. I asked for their names and contact information because I have never had anyone from the City headquarters in my room for more than 2 seconds, and I wanted specifics. Not available, apparently! She pulled my review back further, and dropped it in her lap.
Then she told me she often sees "chaos" in the hallways near my room, which proved that I had no management skills. "Chaos" in the hallways is a problem with the administration in a school, and not the teacher in the classroom, I responded. I asked for dates, incidents, and specifics again--they were not forthcoming. She told me my students were "always" running the halls, but again had no names, no dates, no section numbers. I said "With all due respect, you don't know what sections I teach, do you?" She couldn't name them. "How, then, can you assert that my students are always in the halls?" She couldn't, and decided suddenly that she was going to re-write my review after another observation. Hmmmm. Well, she poked the wrong tiger in the wrong cage. I have years of experience with HR paperwork and procedures, and you don't make allegations about my professionalism without documentation. I'm going on offense and documenting everything she said and taking it up the food chain.
Now I don't want to paint too rosy a picture: I DO struggle with classroom management (who the fuck doesn't in Baltimore City?), and I'm not very good at scaffolding, differentiating, and a whole host of things teachers are supposed to do these days. I am learning my job, only two years in, and I'm learning it every day. I DO need to improve, but if u gwanna say I am unprofessional and incompetent you best bring yo a-game, beyotch.