Friday, May 23, 2014

Elfank-Dana: Video Formal Observations - Admins YES, Teachers No - Calls for UFT to Fix This

...my AP said today, “No video… It’s my call not yours and I don’t want this lesson videoed"
.... the video is a saving grace for the strong teacher that happens to be a “trouble maker” for the principal
....it is clear from the informal observations the APs look for the glass half-empty. You’d think I was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of a teacher comparing my formal with informal observation reports....
The UFT cannot let this stand. Video for the administrator to use, not the teacher?
John Elfrank-Dana, CL Murry Bergtraum
Of course an AP with a grudge doesn't want a lesson taped. Imagine this scenario: A teacher uses a hidden camera to tape a lesson. The AP gives him a U. The teacher uses the video as a defense. The teacher gets brought up on charges for taping (one of the ridiculous charges against Portelos).
My advice: buy a mini-camera and hide it.

I'll let John continue:


I had my first and today, second, formal videoed by a colleague. I firmly believe I wouldn’t have gotten an Effective rating for the first formal if I didn’t have the video- they know their evaluation couldn’t contradict the obvious level of engagement of my students. I know this because it is clear from the informal observations the APs look for the glass half-empty. You’d think I was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of a teacher comparing my formal with informal observation reports.  I know this because of my own experience and numerous complaints from my members. Many factual inaccuracies are typical in these observations. 

This is why the video is a saving grace for the strong teacher that happens to be a “trouble maker” for the principal. 

However, it looks like the UFT didn’t see how video was treated in the final APPR. In the King decision it states that video is at the discretion of the administrator. 

“The use of video as an alternative observational tool may only be used for the formal announced classroom observation and/or informal/short unannounced classroom observation with the express written consent of the teacher.” (p.15) 

A teacher can have to agree if an administrator wants to use the video. But, the video is for the administrator to do his/her job. They even choose the clips to reference. 

"The ability to capture a lesson on video can help an evaluator play back parts of the lesson that are addressed in the Danielson Framework while filling out the rubric and writing observation analysis notes. Videos can also help during a post-observation conference to show a teacher what is being critiqued.” 
No mention of a teacher-initiated video. 

Thus, my AP said today, “No video… It’s my call not yours and I don’t want this lesson videoed.” I knew she was right… but, had an argument. Our principal last spring handed out flip cams to many of us encouraging us to video. She even put on our IPC forms the option to check of for video of formals if we wanted. I told the AP that and insisted on continuing with the video. She said it will be noted in the post ob that I was uncooperative. We videoed. It was again, 100 percent engagement. 

So, why did the principal change her mind (the AP does and says nothing without the permission of the principal)? Could it be that I have called her out for incompetence in the press? 

The UFT cannot let this stand. Video for the administrator to use, not the teacher? 

Then the AP brings up the fact that I don’t have a media release form for the kids. I said, it’s for internal use. It’s not going to be published. I don’t need one. Why don’t we have a media release form for every student in the building for the surveillance cameras then? Furthermore, the King decision mentions nothing of a release form.  But, fine. I can blur the faces of kids that don’t return a release form by next week. 

The bottom line is this- Why would she not want the lesson videoed? There’s only ONE answer- So she can write what ever the hell she wants and I have no way of proving her wrong. 

The UFT must fix this.

In solidarity,

John

1 comment:

  1. I hate to say this but if Eterno was a thorn in the union's side and did not come to his nor his school's defense when it met its final days of existence, then John will suffer the same fate as Eterno. It's sad but true the union comes to the aids of those who have "learned helplessness".

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