The Highlords Cometh, Part the Second.
This will post on the first day of the WASC walkthroughs. We have had “Mock WASC” walkthroughs, and the feedback that I got for my classroom and instruction was glowing, to say the least. Still…this will be a day of class wherein Suits will be traipsing through, unannounced, as the day goes on, potentially more than once per day. The whole thing is generally disruptive to the educational process…whenever ANY kind of Suit comes through.
I haven’t made any significant modifications based on the WASC visit. Mostly, this is because I believe that my educational practice should stand on its own two feet, and be pretty respectable. A secondary reason is that I put a good deal of effort into lesson planning, and am not going to shift my pedagogy or activities to put on some phone show for a bunch of tools. Lastly, though, and at times, the most important portion…it’s not ME that is being evaluated here. The point is to evaluate the strength of the school and its programs, of which I am only a small part.
As I mentioned before, the people who have something to be concerned about are the people who create and define those programs, the Administrators. I like our Admin group, so I am doing my best to put forth an effort that will reflect well on them, in the context of my usual lesson planning structures. Still…the coming of WASC Highlords has thrown a number of grating obstacles in the way of reality.
Let’s list some:
1. All posters with the Acronym “ESLRS” needed to be taken down, as ESLRS is no longer a trendy Acronym.
2. Suddenly the “no hats” rule for students is being enforced. The same is true for the often unenforced “no cell phones” rule. I had been a tyrant about both, so this is no change for me.
3. Conference periods were given up evaluating other teachers. The idea was so that they, and their classrooms, could be prepared for the WASC.
4. An entire hour long staff meeting last week was spent on WASC. In theory, I am supposed to spend an additional hour after school today attending WASC oriented meetings.
5. The Department Heads all came in on Sunday for a “meet and greet” with the WASC people. Thankfully…I am not a department head.
6. A sudden interest has been taken by admin in posted student work, that is current, with feedback.
7. Unrelated, but very much on point…”Open House” night is on Thursday, as well as the opening of the grading window for the Ten Week report card.
So you see where the metaphor of the annoying “grasping hands from the earth” comes from. None of those things is hard to deal with, except that the reality is that you have to deal with them. Every one you deal with is less time spent upon the real tasks at hand, which in turn slows down everything. For instance…the lack of real conference periods in this time frame has put me just a tiny bit behind in the entering of graded assignments to my spreadsheet, and in all probability, that issue will only slightly magnify this week, despite my efforts to “catch up.” It will all work out by the time the grading window closes, but with the kind of “maximum effort” curve that dealing with random magic hands from the ground would cause.
Note that the Highlord in the picture, making the crazy hands come forth, looks pretty damn smug. Highlords tend to be that way. Kind of smugly moving about with clipboards, noting things. Making more little hands to grab onto your fancy boots, and trip you up. Also note that the protagonist is dressed both well, and genre appropriately…she takes this kind of thing seriously, just like I do, even if she resents it a bit.
With the tandem “dog and pony shows” of both WASC and “Open House”, this week is sure to be a long one, True Believers. In addition, I’m actually helping to give a training to teachers, as well as running my Magic: The Gathering tournament. Let’s not forget…I’m also teaching Tenth Grade English, along the way, with a report card due before break.