Last night I didn't sleep very well. I tossed and turned. I had a disturbing dream. What was the dream, you ask? Well, it was a teacher dream.
I dreamt that I was forced to transfer to sixth grade (I teach second grade). I dreamt that I had no choice in the matter, and was not consulted. I dreamt that I was nervously greeting my new students, trying to get to know them, while at the same time trying to remember what I was supposed to teach. The overall feeling of the dream was incredible discomfort, nervousness, and a sense of hopelessness at not having a choice in the matter.
Now why did I share this information with you? I shared this because I have very real feelings of nervousness and anxiety about the changes to our new teacher evaluation, just like all the other teachers I know. Yes, yes, the dream was not exactly about APPR, but the reality is the feelings I experienced are the same as those I feel about my upcoming observation. Regardless of the generous titles I have earned, (and the most wonderful experience a teacher could ever have) I am still a human teacher who sometimes has lessons flop. I, like every other teacher I have spoken to in NY this year, am very nervous about this brand new process, as well as very hopeful that the day my administrator observes me is not one of my "off" days!
On countless occasions during a conversation about APPR I have been told, "You'll be fine." On many of those occasions I've also been told enthusiastically (and very kindly,thank you) "You're Teacher of the Year! Why are you worried?" Yet, I'm still nervous, and of course I have put forth an extraordinary effort to complete a thorough pre-observation form (thanks for the help Jen R.!) and a well thought out lesson plan. Wouldn't you?
My point is this: Every good teacher- every great teacher- is nervous. That's because we are reflective, conscientious, determined professionals. And, we are ALL striving to put our best foot forward. Anyone who looks at me in response to a question about my lesson and deprecatingly says to me, "Ugh, your APPR? You'll be fine. Geez. I can't believe you're asking me that." doesn't understand the true nature of teaching, or teachers.