Help! My school prizes have been rigged

Dear WeAreTeachers:
I teach art in high school and every year we as a departmental team collaborate to select a senior who is most qualified not only by grade, but also by talent, attitude, perseverance and growth. One of my students joined the Advanced Placement Art class with very little experience. He had worked hard to catch and pass students who had previously been admitted to many art classes. I asked her to attend the awards ceremony In the blink of an eye, But when I met him there, he said he had not seen his name on the program. I quickly learned that our new mentor has changed A lot Recipients of prizes at the last minute without talking to teachers. And this counselor uses a computer report and focuses on the GPA. I talked to my student and he took things forward, but I feel terrible. Tell me if you think it’s wrong! – Frustrated and discouraged

Dear Dad,

It’s wrong and sensitive! The end of the year is already full of work and passion. I can only imagine the sinking feeling that you must have felt. I fully understand why you are feeling so discouraged. It would be prudent for a new counselor to change the criteria without involving too many voices and attitudes. They should have talked to teachers or department heads about input criteria. I worked in a large district where the new leadership did not value historical knowledge, and it was frustrating. It is hypocrisy for a counselor to take part in such activities and not realize their negative effects. It is not right to make children feel bad and to keep teachers in such an uncompromising place.

This is an example that schools often focus on quantitative information rather than qualitative evidence of learning. Quantitative information is measurable, computable and relates to numbers. Test scores are a good example. So often, academics run reports and create graphs and pie charts, yet numbers and percentages don’t tell the whole story. Numbers can tell us how many, how many and how often something happens. Yes, we can measure progress and set goals. But it is a snapshot of the student. While there is a tendency to look at trends and patterns with numbers, qualitative data is also strong.

Qualitative assessments include teachers’ anecdotal notes that emphasize the use of language for approximate description and control of concepts. Such data includes observations, journals, and student interviews. Often, quality assessment helps our students understand how and why they are learning. Teachers I know There is a more holistic view of students and their qualities related to academic and social learning. Quality assessment is more personal and responsive and allows students to set more specific responses and goals.

I’m sure you’ve done your best to support your frustrated student. I bet you explained why they were so worthy of recognition. I hope you do more Specific Written response. This kind of positivity on a handwritten card or note can be more meaningful than a reward. It makes me think again: Is the award ceremony worth it? Are there more unintended consequences than benefits? Reward gatherings are often long and lacking in substance. Often, they create competition among students and can feel like a popularity contest. The Gifted Guru blog explains how the awards ceremony can “discourage kids who have worked just as hard (or harder), even as much as they have, but since there is only one, they have received nothing. When you promise that ‘if you do this you will get it,’ but you don’t get it, that’s a problem.

Lastly, be sure to talk to your principal about what happened. Share the impact on many students and teachers. Communicate how you want to be part of the solution. Consider requesting a meeting with the counselor, admin, and department to discuss what happened. Also, share the importance of involving teachers in setting reward criteria. You can also support a more holistic approach. Let’s try to use this push as an opportunity to reflect and improve.

Dear WeAreTeachers:
My new principal is very excited for the year-end faculty performance at the school’s talent show. I’m not. They are doing a dance, and I feel like I have two left legs. I am self-conscious and considering being sick for days. Most of the stuff seems open and less interrupted than me. I want to do something outside of my comfort zone, but for some reason it wants me to crawl into a cave to hide. I know kids and families love this kind of thing and it would be noticeable if I didn’t. Practice will begin this week. Do you have any advice? – The way out of my comfort zone


You know you’re not alone in being afraid to act in front of other people, are you? So many of us have performance concerns. WebMD describes how “being the center of attention and keeping all eyes on you can be stressful. Your body reacts to the situation in the same way that you are attacked. Your body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ mechanism begins, which is why stage fear symptoms It’s just like the symptoms that happen when you are in real danger. “

Management thinker Judith Bardwick wrote a book, Danger in the comfort zone, Where he defines the concept. “Comfort zone is a behavioral condition in which an individual operates in a stress-free state, typically using a limited set of behaviors to provide a stable level of performance without a sense of risk.”

Yes, you have the advantage of extending yourself from the comfort zone. It helps us to innovate and improve our systems, relationships and other aspects of our lives. Pushing yourself to try new things can make you feel more confident and have some unexpected joy. But with that being said, if anxiety triggers you to a point where it overrides you and you feel weak, start small. Maybe you try to learn some dance moves by yourself at home or go to your favorite music and see how it feels.

We all have different definitions of “fun”. Try not to beat yourself up too much for not wanting to perform in front of the school. Your feelings are also valid! It is true that children and families like to see teachers in a playful, humane way. It takes all kinds of support to stop a talent show. And there are many ways you can get involved without being a dancer / actor. Consider proposing to help with music, costumes, decorations, performance introductions, or video recordings. While this is going to take some courage, ask your boss to talk to you about finding other ways you can get involved. Let them know that you want to help in other ways. As teachers, we are told to be responsive to the needs of our students. Well, that includes teachers!

Dear WeAreTeachers:
I am a high school history teacher, and I have a student who challenges almost every subject I present, especially around the nation. He refuses to complete the assignment, saying that the content goes against his beliefs and values. This student stood up and said that there is no such thing as white privilege. He went on to boast of being color blind. I wholeheartedly believe in creating an inclusive classroom. Also, I want to make room for different perspectives. However, other students contacted me that they found his comments offensive. I have a diverse class, and I’m afraid they might feel inhuman. I’m trying to find common ground. Do you have any advice? – Divided states of America

Dear DSOA,

I can feel your heaviness, and I realize you can be frozen and stuck. It is a normal reaction to something so layered and complex. Our country has faced racial oppression for hundreds of years. In his epic book Race: The source of our dissatisfactionIsabel Wilkerson explains, “Slavery was not just an unfortunate thing that happened to black people. It was an American invention, an American institution created by and for the benefit of the elite of the dominant caste and applied by the poor members of the dominant caste who tied them to caste rather than their conscience. ” No. We have the responsibility and the opportunity to create a safe and courageous place for healing in a single conversation in the classroom.

Isabel Wilkerson goes on to describe the power of radical empathy: “Radical empathy means working to educate oneself and listening with a humble heart to understand the experiences of others from another’s point of view, not the way we would feel. Outright empathy is not about you and what you think you will do in a situation where you have never been and probably never will be. It is a kinship connection from a place of deep knowledge that opens your soul to the pains of others when they perceive it. “

It is important to talk one at a time with students who are refusing to complete assignments. If they do not agree with the content, their job is to refute the ideas and prove their point. It’s not just an option to avoid work. I will also raise the question, how do you think your ideas and comments are influencing others in the classroom? Creating self-awareness is the key to understanding and promoting empathy.

It is clear to me that you are intent on creating a positive classroom community where different perspectives are valuable. While I know you want to respect this student’s point of view, we also need to support human rights. You have students who are offended by the comments, and it needs to be addressed. I will start by establishing rules for conversation. Include ideas as there are no barriers, critique ideas and listen to understand, not people, and give everyone a chance to speak. Rules need to be put in place to turn difficult conversations into healers.

With clear rules, discussions about the concept of being “color blind” will be less responsive and hopefully appropriate for finding common ground. We can acknowledge that some people have good intentions but do not realize the negative effects of this parable. Many experts say that color-blind reasoning is actually making it harder for us to move forward in a more empathetic way.

Oprah Daily senior writer Samantha Vincenti writes about race: “Unfortunately, however, I can say directly that some people still Really I don’t want to talk about it. Not at all. The first thing they will tell you is that they don’t have racist bones in their body and you don’t care about white, black, purple or blue. In fact, they say, they’re ‘color blind’ again — that is, they don’t See The race and the refusal to see it often goes hand in hand with the urgent need to stop discussing racial discrimination as soon as possible. “

Thank you for being an educator for equity. The National Equity Project defines educational equality so that every child gets what they need to develop their full academic and social potential. We need rebellious leaders who will take up difficult issues such as race and content for the convenience of discussion and learning so that success and failure cannot be predicted by student race, economic or any other social factor.

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Dear WeAreTeachers:
I have been teaching for 12 years now. For the past six years, I’ve shared work with another teacher. He works Mondays and Tuesdays and I work Wednesdays and Thursdays. We trade off on Friday. She is an excellent teacher, and it has been an excellent partnership. We know we can depend on each other. It was great when we were both kids and could cover each other for maternity leave. But now that my kids are a little older, I want to go back to full-time. I “own” the job, so that’s my call, but I don’t want to hurt my partner’s feelings. How can I break it to him without ruining our friendship?

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