Thursday, 4 November 2010

What it is all about...

This is a section of my tracking. A document which is the summary of seven weeks of hard work with 37 small children. It shows where I judge a child to be, in developmental terms, using the documentation which tells me where a child should be in age related terms. Government produced documentation, at great expense, consulting large amounts of experts, so that I can produce this. It will show me my whole class at a glance and let me know where I should be targeting my efforts to get these children all to the age related, expected developmental stage by the time they leave the nursery. This document represents hours of work-the real work of being with the children every day and trying my best, along with the rest of the team, to help them. The actual piece of paper took a very long tome to type and fill in fancy colours, and I am dubious as to its real value. I already know, without looking at this piece of paper, which children are doing well in which areas and those who need extra help and support for whatever reason. But, I have to produce this, to show (prove) progress. I have to produce it to show managers, one of whom in particular has no idea what I do day to day (the other two do so I will let them off!) Ofsted, (the school inspection body), are due soon. They, hopefully, will love this. They had better love it! It is weird-I am kind of pleased with this piece of paper, as I devised this latest version, and it does show what I want it to. But it makes me sad, the way we are forced to make judgements on people so young, when they have so far to go. I wonder if this country will go the other way soon, where trying to measure so much about us, and to target set in every single little piece of our lives, will become out of vogue. Or will it just continue to get more and more ridiculous and unmanageable? In great contrast, this is the real joy of teaching. Going to Forest School for the first time this term, with a new group, and having such a lovely relaxed time. The children loved it. One of them, who came with me yesterday to help collect rubbish, calls it 'going to the forest'.
We found this really beautiful piece of fungus on one of the logs at base camp.

One of the children spotted these two contrails in the perfect sky. 'Two' was all he said. He was excited, happy and showing me he can count to two! Hurrah I shall tick it off! (joke)
When I am stuck at the computer filling in tables, I will remember this-as this is what it is all about.

14 comments:

snoopydog said...

Sarah, your post made me feel very emotional as I read it. But thank you, because it encapsulated everything I feel about the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in. I need say no more, just 'Thank you!' I will remember your post. Ros

aimee said...

Oh, yes, the ratings... we've struggled so much with it. It works with some kids, and some it doesn't. I have one of each. I think you have a super healthy approach to it.

Noelle Renee said...

I love this, Sarah. Yes, "two" lovely contrails, that is what it is all about, the wonder and mystery of the world around us, the fungus on a tree. You are a lovely teacher. I used to be one. It is a hard compromise, I know.

Linda Sue said...

Whomever is the head cheese there where you work has his/her/their head in the darker regions where "the sun do not shine!"It is so frustrating that people tally success, measure it by comparison- especially children's development.
I was always a bit shy and therefore thought as being slow- It took 35 years to overcome that label! Not much was expected of me- This post really hits a nerve! I am so glad that you are there for the kids- fug the cheeses! And yes, the forest and the sky are what count-- to two, maybe but count none the less.

frayedattheedge said...

This is so different to when Stuart was at nursery (1982/83) He went 5 afternoons a week, and really it was all based round learning through play .... building blocks, a sand table, playing with water. They were told stories and played games and sang songs. If anyone ever wrote a report on him, I don't remember seeing it - all the serious report wrting didn't start until he went to primary school. Children develop at different rates - and children who are born prematurely often lag behind ...... Stuart was born 3 weeks early and I was told that it takes roughly a year for each week for the child to catch up, so to compare them to other children and charts is wrong. Anyway, Stuart disproved the theory when he had his 'developmental' check when he was three he performed all the tasks with such ease, the Health Visitor gace him the four-years old tasks and he did them too!!

Tracy said...

What an enormous work load you have, Sarah. I had such respect already for what you do, but hearing you break things down, seeing this table/chart... I'm in awe, frankly. And not surprised that you have felt swamped by your work situations. There is much drudgery, but much good too. Thank you for sharing this with us... and about the bright lights that get you through. :o) Happy Weekend ((HUGS))

Leenie said...

I echo all the above comments. Teaching can be so rewarding. Good teachers can make such a great difference in a life--if they are not overwhelmed by beaurocracy. Nursery school children change so much so fast. And they are great teachers as well. Hang in there

cloudbusting2 said...

You are right. That is a really beautiful fungus. Like a jewel. It reminds me of this album cover: http://www.canyouseethesunset.com/uploaded_images/bon-iver-for-emma.jpg

Lynne said...

I think you're a fantastic teacher Sarah. It's just such a shame that you are bogged down with all that paperwork.
Enjoy your weekend.

Kat Mortensen said...

Excellent work, Sarah - both in the real world and on the tracking sheet. It's those little surprises and advances along the way that make it worthwhile, isn't it?
"Two" Ha! That's great!

Kat

Noelle Renee said...

Hey Sarah,
Haiku my heart link is on my blog this week if you want to write one and link up. I am doing it while Rebecca is away.
xo,
Noelle

Rattling On said...

I think tracking is even more of a pain at senior school. Levels have to be given on each subject, depending on which one it is the teacher may only see the student 2 hours or so each week. Maybe hundreds of students each week in a year group.
As with most things it's the ones in the middle that suffer, they are plodding along so don't get pushed for either reason(to pull up the scores/ to excel.)
I work with the worst of the behaviourally challenged kids. Just getting some into school is an achievement, but it's very hard to measure some of their successes. On paper at least.

pea said...

Hello!
You have fantastic blog, very very interesting pictures~i love it!

→lisa said...

You know, I think there's always something rather disconcerting about reducing a person to a bunch of numbers on page. I don't envy you having to go through that process with your young students.

I wish you had been my kindergarten teacher! My teacher, Mrs. Kump, was such a cow!

Your chart *is* bright and pretty. You could print an extra copy for yourself and use it to make a collage -- transform it into something really lovely :)