I received my TRIPOD scores from the 2012-13 school year on Sunday evening, November 3rd, 2013--- one day before my 2013-14 students were to take the TRIPOD. As I began to look at my scores, I chuckled. I called my husband in the room and he immediately said, "What's this?" "My 2012-13 TRIPOD scores," I told him. "What a joke," he said.
And he was right. My scores were incredibly low. You see, I am an ESL teacher in Metro Nashville Public Schools. My students are early childhood age, and have little to no developed vocabulary. As I sat at my home computer, looking at the scores I was incredibly horrified, but more so, insulted. One of my lowest areas was a 22/60--- how I CHALLENGE my students. The state average was 50. This didn't make sense. I was a "4" teacher in 2012-13. These scores did not correlate.
As I went on a tangent, trying to figure out why my scores were so low not just in this one area, but all the way across; I remembered a question my students answering a question on TRIPOD. The question was, "Does your teacher push you to do your best?" I chuckled, remembering my ESL students asking after the survey if it meant that I physically pushed them. Perhaps my students all answered no to this; I would NEVER put my hands on a child.
This year, the TRIPOD survey is 5% of my TEAM evaluation, and quite frankly--- I don't think it is fair. I did not go to school for over 20 years to be evaluated by 6 and 7 year old children. I did not pay nearly $50,000 of my hard earned money (much of it which I am still paying on) to have a CHILD much less a CHILD WHO DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH evaluate my effectiveness as a teacher.
It is my hope and prayer that the state of Tennessee will WAKE UP and realize they are running off the best and the brightest teachers by treating them like dirt. I will be totally honest here--- I have been in this profession less than 5 years and I am not sure how much longer I care to be in it. I am already exploring other career options. Oh, yeah... and remember I am a "4" teacher--- above and beyond what Tennessee likes to call "rock solid."
Commissioner Huffman and other Tennessee lawmakers must know that to keep the best and the brightest teachers in Tennessee, it is not about paying them more--- it's about treating them with dignity and respect. They have degrees. They went to school. They know what they are doing. Wake up, and remember that. Let's keep our GOOD teachers, not run them out.
(This was posted anonymously, with permission, to protect the privacy of this teacher in Metro Nashville School District)