As health and physical educators, it’s easy to feel frustrated by school district politics or sense a lack of support for your teaching. I completely understand and as a middle-high school health and physical educator I’ve been there many times myself. However, I also often think that as teaching professionals we don’t give ourselves enough credit.
We are in the business of creativity. Health and physical educators are routinely challenged to think outside the box. We constantly need to differentiate our instruction (sometimes 5 or more ways within a single activity), adapt to a wide variety of skill levels in our classes, and simultaneously manage and try to teach more students in small spaces that would give most classroom teachers nightmares!
Despite these impressive talents, we too often allow ourselves to get focused on the funding, or lack thereof, within our district. We think, “It sure would be nice to have a bigger budget or PEP grant! I could have a variety of climbing gear, fitness stations, on-line portfolios (I do love the portfolios. . .but have never had to pay for them), outdoor recreation and challenge course equipment, and so much more!”
Ready or not, here it comes! New teacher evaluations, high stakes student assessments, and common core standards have been implemented whether educators are ready or willing. While most teachers out there are plenty able, the real question is whether or not we have the ability to find the time to figure out how to implement the new content, collect enough evidence, differentiate various artifacts, and decipher between SLOs, GLEs, EALRS, EOCs, CBAs, and any other acronym I may have missed! These days it seems as though there is so much more to learn and do ourselves we may actually forget our true task at hand – teaching. Honestly, when do you have the time to stop, collaborate, and listen? Wait, I mean to collaborate, collect, plan, assess, communicate, and analyze? What time is left for the actual teaching itself?
School districts across Washington State are now following evaluations provided by Danielson, Marzano, and the University of Washington. I don’t know about your trainers for your chosen model, but ours have all made it clear that we are never going to be “Distinguished” teachers again. Instead, we can all hope to be so lucky to be “Basic” and every now and again on good days “Proficient.” While I do know I will continue to shoot for “Distinguished,” I must commit to being “Efficient” in order to keep up with the changing of the times.