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Changing that Four-Letter Naughty Word

Center for Teaching Quality

Florida State Teacher of the Year and CTQ blogger Megan Allen asks: "Do you know what’s become dirty little four-letter word that I really like? Or used to like...before it was twisted and turned into a nasty term due to blatant misuse?"
Click to find out the word and how she plans on taking the edge off of it in her classroom.

Photo Credit: Grant Hutchinson, CC licensed, via Flickr

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  • Liz Dwyer

    I lol'd so hard over "Just like whispering the name “Voldemort” in the Harry Potter movies." That is really funny, and all too true. I don't know how someone can be an excellent teacher if they don't use data at all times to inform how a lesson is taught, the check for understanding, the reteach, etc. What teachers are reacting to is the way data is being used as a tool to punish and further politically-minded aims/policies. I find myself thinking about a story I read a few months ago about a NYC teacher whose students were all scoring at the advanced level. But to meet the growth requirements, they'd have to go from something like the 98th percentile to the 99th--and they didn't achieve it, so she was given a poor evaluation. That sort of use of data is just ridiculous.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I find it really sad that data determines the success of employees a lot of the time. Yes, data is informative and we can use it to inform our decisions and strategies, but it doesn't always have that human touch. I love that this teacher looks at data in a different way:

    "First of all, data should be a storyteller. And not just a page or chapter of a story, but a miniature version of the growth that has occurred. It should paint a picture of the whole setting, not just be a peephole into a tiny segment. For quantifiable data, how about:

    -How many books my students have read by the end of the year (thank you to Donalyn Miller for that great nugget of an idea from the Book Whisperer!)
    -Parent surveys
    -Student surveys (The Metlife Survey of the American Teacher found these to be great predictors of “teacher effectiveness.” I find them to be great data for me as a growing professional!)
    -Family communication: the number of times we’ve communicated, worked together, and the perceptions of parents on our partnership
    -The number of hours spent researching and reading to make our practice stronger (I think this would be laborious, but I think it would be amazingly interesting!)

    And for qualitative data:
    -Student reading journals and reading logs
    -Self-reflections completed about student growth as readers and learners
    -A portfolio of each reader’s progress throughout the year
    -Videos of my students learning
    -Student interviews
    -Interviews from my colleagues and teammates"