This week the Tennessee Department of Education released teacher scores. They take each teacher’s assigned students, analyze how they perform on the one big state assessment and then score that teacher on a scale from 1 to 5. The teacher gets to say whether they want to be evaluated on student growth or overall performance, but the goal for the teacher is be a Level 5 Educator.
I could use this blog as a place to air all my frustrations with this evaluation system for teachers – how unfair it is, what it does and doesn’t take into account. But – this is not my space for that kind of venting. This is where I process what God is teaching me – and He is. He is teaching me through this state-run, government-required, teacher-evaluation structure.
Last year was my first year to be gauged by my students’ performance on this one test. As a first year, fully certified teacher, I did not expect to be a Level 5 Teacher. Even as I have gotten positive evaluations from my administrators and their observations, I knew a “5” was a lot to ask for. In all honesty though, I was disappointed that my rating wasn’t higher.
In the meantime, I have been meditating and memorizing Psalm 84:11-12.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.”Psalm 84:11-12 ESV
You see, I don’t need the Tennessee Department of Education to validate me as a professional educator. Don’t get me wrong, the recognition would be nice. I would appreciate it – but “they” aren’t my ultimate authority. I don’t teach for their approval. Ultimately, I teach because I know teaching is what God has called me to and gifted me for. He is the One that I work for. He is the One I want to please. He is the One whose favor and honor I want to receive.
As I think about God being the One who ultimately bestows favor and honor, I have to acknowledge His sovereignty in bestowing favor and honor in ALL things. As He dictates even the roll of the dice, no matter the outcome, He controls the winners and the losers of all the competitions, promotions, and, yes even the elections.
God chooses and places people in positions of authority. He does this intentionally, with His all-knowing wisdom. In my finite mind, I cannot even begin to fathom why it appears that the ungodly prosper and the immoral succeed. But I can understand and faithfully trust that He knows what He is doing.
His plans and His ways are higher and better than mine. He is the One who should be bestowing favor and honor. I am the one who should be humbly submitting to His will, His plans and His ways. Besides, His word promises in the book of James that He will lift up or exalt those who humble or submit themselves before Him.
What does this look like for me personally? I will trust the faithful God that I depend on for ALL things. He will take care of ALL things in my life. He will make sure I, my husband and daughters are given the “due” that we deserve. He knows ALL things and has proven that He can be trusted to make sure ALL things resolve exactly as they should. I don’t trust in karma, but I do trust in my good God to rightly bestow ALL favor and honor.
What does this look like for me professionally? I will submit to the authority of the Tennessee Department of Education. I will do my best work, not for them or my principals, not even for my students, but for my God. He is the ultimate source of favor and honor.
A Good Day
Yesterday was a good day. Wally, the girls and I got out of Clarksville to spend the afternoon at our favorite mall in Nashville. We visited the ABLE store and ate at our favorite new-to-us pizza place, Nicky’s, in the Nations neighborhood. After a stop at local coffee shop, using the GPS on my phone […]
The Older Man and The Younger Man
As I stood there, I watched the two men walk away down the path from the patio, pass the lilies, to the driveway. The older one being led by the younger one. I never had noticed that their heads were shaped similarly with the same balding spots on their respective crowns. The older one’s back […]
Operation Do It (O.D.I.)
Tomorrow starts the third week of the girls’ summer break from school. Over the years we have developed some structure for the girls’ free mornings so they wouldn’t spend all day every day glued to some screen or begin begging us for something to “do” at 10 am each day. I am not sure which […]