Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I don't know what it is about being evaluated that sets me off. I guess it's my competitive nature or something.

I tell myself it doesn't matter, but I won't listen.

This isn't even about my real job, either. It's my part-time online teaching job, which according to my calculations pays about twelve cents per hour that I put into it.

It's not that the work is hard. And the pay IS decent. It's just that I am so driven to perfection, to overachieving, that being marked DOWN for something really gets my goat.

Almost as much as cliches do. Sorry.

One category I got marked down in (receiving a 3 out of 4) was in responding to emails and phone calls. I'd like to see the documentation, please. Because I have NEVER, EVER failed to return an email or phone call related to one of my online students. I even respond to them in the middle of the school day, when I'm not actually (ahem) supposed to be working on my "other" job. On the other hand, when I placed an urgent call to my immediate supervisor because I had a student who was locked out of a quiz and I didn't know how to get her in, I got her voice mail. I explained the situation as best I could.

She emailed me back IMMEDIATELY and tried to guess at what the problem was and gave me a non-solution.

Thanks for that, but if you'd actually TAKEN MY CALL, I might have explained it a little better. And we could have resolved it quickly over the phone instead of the ensuing forty-two emails it took.

And this is the person who docked me for not responding to phone calls and emails.


Let me say here that I adore her, and I WOULDN'T HAVE HER JOB, because not only does she have to teach like a gazillion kids online and she has two young ones at home herself, she also has to deal with the GROWN-UPS in the online world, the teachers who AREN'T perfectionists, who DON'T overachieve, and wouldn't READ THE DIRECTIONS about how to do something if their lives depended on it.

She has it tough, I'll give her that.

But I take it personally when I get a 3 out of 4 that is completely unjustified.

Mark me down on grading within the required 72 hours, because I readily admit guilt in that department. Because I was teaching a course that was brand-new to me, often I hadn't read the assigned material when the students got to it. I guess I could have just graded them anyway without doing the reading myself, but that's not my style. So there were a couple of occasions when I didn't get something back to them with appropriate feedback within the 72 hour window.

I also got points deducted for not volunteering for extra things.

Excuse me?

It isn't like this is a traditional school, and I could offer to do someone's hall duty because she was on crutches. Or run copies for someone during my planning period. Or chaperone the prom. [An online prom......now THERE'S a concept I'd like to see developed a little more fully.....]

What was I supposed to say, "Got anything I can volunteer for? In the spare time I have between my full-time job and my part-time job and the elliptical and the pool?" I DID volunteer to teach AP English online, although I shudder at the thought because I have never taught AP English in the REGULAR classroom. It's such a high-stakes course, and I don't think the one-week training session I went to 3 years ago makes me necessarily qualified for it. But my online employer was the one who footed the bill for the training, so I felt obligated at least to consider teaching it. I certainly hope they don't take me up on it. Still, I VOLUNTEERED.

And when they were trying to develop a broadcast journalism course and asked who had yearbook or broadcasting experience, I opened my mouth on that one too. When the response came back that I didn't have the necessary qualifications, I said, "Find out what I need to do, and I'll do it." Not because I need the money, mind you. Just because I like taking on new things, and I thought I could help them out. So I VOLUNTEERED.

I wouldn't mind their little rating scale if A) I got an explanation of the things I was marked down for; and B) I got extra points for extra effort in other areas. For example, each teacher was required to do 3 hours of online professional development during the course of the semester. I didn't get marked down for that one; I got a 4 out of 4. In the comments section, it was noted, "You had 15 hours. Great job!" So for doing 500% of what was required I don't even get one of my 3's taken away? Or maybe a 5 out of 4 just to balance things out?


I spent roughly 16 hours last weekend coming up with a pacing guide for summer (a 5-week schedule and a 6-week schedule) for a course I've never taught before. I spent several more hours setting up the live computer sessions required (3 per week in summer, thank you very much) and pretty much arranging my entire life around this summer session. Only to be told today that my department chair doesn't have enough students to satisfy her contract, and she may have to take that course back from me.

Which is fine. Really.

Even considering the fact that she MAY be able to give me two other courses, each half of the one I had already set up (don't even try to figure it out), only those WON'T BE SET UP YET.

Forgive me -- I didn't really intend for this to become a bitch session. I had another perfectly good blog topic picked out, but I need pictures to do it justice. Maybe I'll get them tomorrow, but everyone has to be gone from the back parking lot to do it. Ponder on THAT for a while....

I think I'll just go back to my book about two runaways now.

This vent has been brought to you today by the letters R and W and by the number 3.

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