Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I am the star teacher at my school (high school math). My students
adore me. My principal says she’ll slit her wrists if I leave. But my
district just decided that we have to set “smart goals” so the district
can show that there’s improvement in student learning. What a joke!
They should be called “dumb $^# goals!!” My time would be so much
better spent in regular meetings with my students. I just got called
into the principal’s office for failing to submit them on a timely basis.
We both worked hard to be civil, but when she showed me my buddy’s
goals (which he’d proudly told me over a beer had taken him a total of
twelve minutes), I lost it. Now I have to do them pronto. Advice?!?
Dedicated But Annoyed
For occasions such as this were invented thesauruses. Synonyms are a
writer’s great friend. Ask your buddy for a copy of his goals in a
word.doc. Ask his permission to modify them appropriately. Then sit
down and go through them line by line, changing every verb to a great
synonym. Then go through and change the subject nouns to what’s
appropriate for your specific classes. Resist what will be an inclination
to get sarcastic or fancy. This is a case where The facts Ma’am, just
the facts will serve you best.
While there may be a legitimate reason for writing these goals, the
real focus of a teacher should be teaching. And the more time you put
into student contact, as opposed to administrative chores, the better
for your kids. The next time you need to do these goals, take the most
obvious shortcut. Buy your buddy a beer. Take your smart gadgets to
a bar and set the times for ten minutes. Whoever finishes last can buy
the second round.