Administration sent out an email this week. It stated that he would be coming around to check our reading running records to see that every student has an up to date Instructional reading level.
Now, they say that a lot. Instructional reading level. Very important. Here’s the thing: I’ve spent my Guided Reading instructional block, since before the winter break, testing kids. I know they need updated levels. But if I had kids with new (and higher) Independent levels, I left it at that and continued with the next kid. Because, after all, the Independent levels are where we’re aiming for, right?
So I came back on Friday, having been out sick for two days, to find that someone, probably a colleague, not administration (don’t even get me started on that), had gone through all my running records, haphazardly replaced them mixing up all my groups, and left a stack on a student desk with a sticky note: “These students don’t have Instructional levels.” Before I could properly lose my mind over this turn of events, I was called over the PA system, by name, along with Miz O-Postrophe and New Mama, to come to his office.
Apparently First Grade hadn’t followed directions. Oh, except for Spazzy Clueless. Hers were all correct. A point he used to make Miz O cry. “Why don’t these students have Instructional levels?” he demanded. We tried to explain our reasoning. It seemed a waste of instructional time to continue to take these kids further at this time. We needed to help them dig deeper into their new Independent levels, make sure they have mastery of that level’s benchmark skills rather than just gather meaningless data. He remained unmoved. “All your students need to have Instructional reading levels in ten days.”
I think what pissed me off the most was being treated as though we had been lazy and incompetent. He completely disrespected our professionalism. If several strong and successful teachers have it one way, and Spazzy Clueless, who’s had about five kids removed from her classroom this year due to parent requests, has it the other way, seems like that would be a hint and a half for your ass.
I admit it, I got a little smart ass. “So I guess I’ll continue to throw out small group instruction so that I can test.”
“That sounds like a plan,” he said.
At this point I realized the situation was hopeless. When administration tells you to skip instruction, you’ve lost the battle. And so have the kids.