The Best Defense is a Good Offense 1

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



10 thoughts on “The Best Defense is a Good Offense 1”

  1. One thing about this is that we must learn to self-advocate. Many teachers in so many fields do so much but nobody notices it and so our efforts get unnoticed. Since these admins are our employers, maybe we should keep a file of things we do, workshops, trainings, what we do for our kids in the way of differentiation and responding to observations, and just generally keeping the lines of communication open with them instead of closed. We could send a copy of it to our admins periodically. They have to respond. Such advocacy tells them we are all right and they then would turn their attnetion to other teachers in the building. Administrators target people. We can’t let that happen to us. I know by experience, where at East High School those who opposed CI put me and my crazy ideas up for scrutiny and I ended up leaving that school.

      1. I think putting the ball back into their court after an evaluation is basically necessary. They give a couple of talking points and then you go away for a few weeks and e-mail something like your example, Ben, and presto! You’ve shown a good level of maturity and follow through by listening to and acting on an evaluation, something I would be surprised if more than 10% of teachers actually do for real. It’s even better if the admin doesn’t require any feedback about changes you’ve made: You’re acting the part of that 4%er who goes home and does extra reading and does a book report on it. No teacher is giving that kid a bad grade.

        1. Yep. Going on right now: both the supportive administrators and the complaining parent. Reading in the PLC really helps! I am so glad for a sense of perspective from you all.

  2. I was reading an article in a newspaper yesterday and it said that in terms of keeping employment the quality of our work (in any profession) is far less a determining factor in keeping employment than whether our bosses like us. That is sobering and suggests that we might want to quit trying to be perfect, and relax a little, smile, and like our bosses. It’s Monday. We need to relax. Dude.

    1. Ben,

      As they say in France, mieux vaut attraper les mouches avec du miel qu’avec du vinaigre (better catch flies with honey than vinegar). You were very proactive with your administration and IT DIDN’T GO unnoticed!
      You are so right, better play defense and play the game defensively b/c offense is not an option in the times we re living, so better to remain under the radar. Sad state of affair!

      I just had my second observation with my AP , who’ s name BTW is Susan Gross! She is no Susie though as she knows nothing of CI. But back in November when she 1st observed me I gave her the 90% ACTFL Position Statement on our pre observation and kinda gave her a mini Krasen 101. And it worked!!! She knew what to look for even though it wasn’t written on HER piece of paper.

      These administrator remind me of the Businessman character in the “Little Prince” ( he is the caricature of a grown up who is always so busy that he can’t even greet visitors, b/c all he does is own and count the stars in the sky all day but cannot remember what their names are or why he s doing it!)

      In our school we use the Danielson’s framework For Teaching which assess different domaines (Planning and Preparation/Classroom environment/ Instruction/Professional Responsibilities) . So much work for the observers who have to go and be trained especially to observe us, WOW!

      Two more formal observations to go through before the end of the year and some informal ones as well will determine if I’m deemed good enough to teach those kids. Plus an evaluation from the kids about my teaching will count for 10% of my final score. I can’t wait!!! I hope my sarcasm doesn’t come through too much……

      We are under tight scrutiny, that’s for sure. It s unbelievable that we have to feel like we are put under the microscope and judged on snapshots really b/c all they get when they observe us is that : a snapshot (and a very contrived one I might add b/c the kids act differently when there is an observer). The observation IMHO is nothing but a still frame that may have nothing to do with what we are all about and what we do day in and day out.

      OK I will meet with my AP tomorrow to debrief. She told me “great class” but since 93% of all communication is non verbal, her visuals and body clues told me otherwise. I shall see tomorrow….

      One more thing, on her 1st observation of me back in November , after giving me high ratings in every domain , she said :
      “Oh I don’t have anything to say negative because this was a great class but since we need to show room for growth , b/c the district wouldn’t like it if everything was perfect, we’ll have to downgrade one of those ratings. Which one shall we downgrade ?????? She had to ask ME!!!!!!!

      I had to really bite my lip and I’m sure my face showed the utter shock I was experiencing then. How absurd is this?????

      Someone should write a play / a satire preferably of what the life of a teacher is……

  3. Sabrina and Ben — Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice in Wonderland would say.

    But… you both handled these situations with grace.

    Sabrina–do let us know what you find out. My thoughts are with you!

  4. I have to say, though, that my evaluator’s job is on the line here just as much as mine. He told me during the interview that every piece of paper dealing with the Leap evaluation on every teacher he evaluates is read by our principal. It’s like when Sabrina’s evaluator asked HER to suggest areas of improvement – it is absurd, of course, but not when we think that, the way the system is designed, these people have to get their boxes checked just like ours. I have gotten to a point where I add stuff into my classes that I know they are looking for as a matter of course when I am being observed by an administrator. Sometimes I then pause and look at the administrator who is usually writing what I said down, to give them time to write it before I go on. It’s like a kind of game. As long as they don’t trust us to do our job, it’ll be that way. Many of us freak about it, I laugh. Honestly, it’s funny stuff. Of course being so close to being fully retired is not dampening my sense of humor these days.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben