Thursday, February 23, 2012

Waiting for Marzano

In case you are a seasoned teacher and haven’t undergone your Marzanoscopy yet, maybe I can help by providing you with a timeline of what it was like for me in the days and weeks leading up to the procedure, followed by a play-by-play of the Thing Itself, then a reflection on the entire journey.

I may also include a checklist which should be especially helpful now that we know teaching can be both assessed and perfected through the use of weights and measures.

I hope readers will not be put off by what appears to be whining and complaining. I have tried to be honest about the whole thing, and not worry over whether I’m pleasing any particular audience in the process. So, if it is whining, it’s at least genuine and heartfelt whining. This is what it actually felt like to me, a 35-year veteran of teaching.  

Furthermore, in case what follows is so off-putting that readers can’t get themselves to finish it, I’ll give you a brief version of my conclusion: The process is absurd and wasteful, but not without benefits – benefits I seriously doubt were ever intended by Marzano and his fellow rubricifiers.

August 2011: During preplanning, I hear ominous references to a new evaluation process and to something called iObservation and to something else called Marzano, which turned out to be someone’s name. I tune most of these out because I am too preoccupied with something called Skyward, a program that would soon be taking hours away from my efforts to be a highly effective teacher (HET). Also, I always like to look forward to the new academic year, and I don’t want to be brought down by this intrusive junk.

October 2011: We are alerted during a Wednesday in-service about upcoming workshops to help prepare us for the Marzanofication of the evaluation process. Some would be for rookies (may God spread his mercy upon them), others for out-the-door old-timers like me. I mentally hit delete on the dates for the rookies and go into denial about the others because I have too many papers to grade and I’m still not sure how to change grades on Skyward.

November 2011: As pre-evaluation workshops begin to proliferate, Marzanophobia (or Misomarzano) sets in. I learn there is an especially long meeting on the horizon, a Marzanopalooza, for old-timers, and I immediately set out to learn the most critical information about it, i.e., is it mandatory?

December 2011: I write a snarky blog entry in which I imagine Marzano raking in the dough from this obnoxious system and roasting his chestnuts over an open fire. I also quickly make a mental list of 39 things teachers do that aren’t part of Marzano’s list of indicators, not even his Super Marzanio list of 60, and wonder if it’s okay to stop doing all of these things in order to better my chances of becoming HET.

January 2012: Finally, I’m knocked out of my denial when, at either an in-service or a PLP, I’m handed a date for my pre-observation meeting with a list of requirements for said meeting and a list of the indicators my observer will be iBalling. I guess I will need to fashion a lesson that allows me to allow her to check “YES” on those babies. Now the worrying and fretting can begin in earnest.

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