Sunday, November 17, 2013

Days of Thankfulness, Day 17

On Wednesday, I met with my boss for my formal post-eval meeting. I had already received a copy of the evaluation form that will go in my personnel file at the district office, and it was very, very good. Teachers are scored in various categories, everything from classroom management to subject matter knowledge, and there are four distinctions a principal can choose from (language varies from one district to the next, but this is what ours uses): unproficient, needs improvement, proficient and distinguished. Most of mine were in the proficient category, but I did have quite a few distinguished. Nothing in unproficient or needs improvement. This is an excellent evaluation--it shows that while I still have room to learn and grow, I'm doing my job well and showing promise, according to what my boss has observed.

I wasn't nervous about meeting with him; he's proven to be an up-front, tell-it-like-he-sees-it guy, and I appreciate that about him. Having also seen my evaluation before the meeting, I knew he had a lot of good things to say. Still, I was unprepared for the words that came out of his mouth when I had closed the door to his office and taken a seat at his desk.

"Well, we are just so lucky to have you here," he started off, as my eyes widened. "I don't know how we were so lucky stumble on you, but we did, and we are glad." I interjected with a half-whispered, "I feel so lucky to be here!" as he rolled on. "If anyone can grow this program, it is you."

He continued on with how much fun the students are having in choir, how impressed he is that I'm continuing the Choir Boosters, etc. I just sat there, half-stunned. I knew he liked what he saw in my classroom, but after my last two administrators--the owner of Petite School and my previous principal in Stockton before that--I became almost conditioned to being told that I'm not good enough. That no matter how much time and effort and love I put into what I do, it's not enough, not enough, not enough. It felt so good to be told, "You are doing a great job." Believe me, I'm not going to rest on my laurels. I have a lot of work yet to do. Thing is, I love the work--it's really not like work at all--and knowing that everyone appreciates what I'm doing goes a long way to make me even better at it.

And I'm thankful to be doing something I love--teaching choral music--at a school I can be proud to work at, with kids who make me laugh, who challenge me to be a better teacher simply by sitting in my room each day a with an incredible willingness to learn. I'm thankful that finally, I seem to have found the place where my style of teaching works (it did at Petite and in Stockton, too, there were simply weird extenuating circumstances and insane politics going on).

Towards the end of September (how time flies!), I wrote a blog post about some of the same thoughts I'm trying to articulate in this one. The ending of that post is writing I'm quite proud of, and seems the appropriate ending to this thankful post:

I spent a full day at school today, subbing my last day in the guitar class, teaching my own class, getting a ton of stuff done in my office, running around as I do. A little after 3:00, I loaded up my backpack, dug my purse out of my desk drawer, and started shutting the place down for the weekend. Something compelled me to stop for a moment, and I stood in my office, looking out towards my choir room. I looked at everything I've done so far, and the work yet to do, and felt very, very satisfied.

As I turned out the lights and took out my car keys, I paused again and looked around. I said, out loud, "Don't you ever forget how very blessed you are."

Don't ever forget, Meg, that you are a teacher.

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