Thursday, January 6, 2011

Elections, Councils and Ambassadors...Oh my!

So, in recent school news I was asked by my principal to be our TEI Ambassador for our school. I have to admit that like many teachers in the MCS system I have been very concerned with what exactly TEI is and what it means. For a while now there has been a feeling of the unknown and I think many teachers are worried about what a new evaluation system could mean for their jobs and their work. Many educators in MCS are incredible, educated and wonderful teachers. Some need a little help with becoming more competent with integrating technology, others many need help with peer-to-peer communication, but there are some very bright stars in our midst. From what most of us can understand about the TEI (Teacher Effectiveness Initiative) the goal is to help find the weaknesses of teachers in each of the 6 Domains of Evaluation and in turn be able to develop a true action plan for each teacher that will help make them more effective and successful at what they do.

Unfortunately, of late, Memphis City Schools has been having a very public arguement with Shelby County Schools about disolving the MCS charter, the possibility of consolidation and SCS getting a "special schools" disctrict charter. Overall, the biggest problem that teachers and the general public are having with this, is unanswered questions. Many of the questions, it seems, can not be answered effectively because the correct, current answer is, "we don't know." Obviously, no politician is going to say, "I don't know." even if it is the actual answer. It is a frustrating place to be.

For teachers, there are some pros and cons to consolidation:
Pro: Shelby County requires smaller class sizes for their classrooms
Pro: On average Shelby County spends about $0.50 more per student
Con: Several teachers in MCS are worried that they might not meet the standards of the SCS
Con: Consolidation may also mean reorganizing zoning, busing and attendance AGAIN

As you can see there is no simple solution and these 4 points are just surface things, there are many bigger issues at play.

In the latest personal professional news, I found out yesterday that I am a newly elected member of the M-PACE Council. The M-PACE council is the political action council of the MEA (Memphis Education Association). It handles interviews of candidates, recommendations for candidates based on education issues, certain issue campaigns and activies. This is supposed to be a "great leadership" opportunity, however, I have not done enough soul searching or pondering to decided if this is something I really want to do. Not to mention, I don't really know what all of this means or how I got the nomination in the first place.

On a happy note, I have had 2 very successful evaluations and have found, to my delightful surprise, that administration at my school really like having me on staff! YEAH!!!
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