A conversation with VAM
Teacher: Thank you VAM for finally showing up a year after my evaluation. What took you so long?
VAM: No comment. Blame your union.
Teacher: VAM, could you please elaborate on what it means to be rated “effective” in student growth measures? Do you have any advice on how I can improve my teaching practices so my students show more growth on next year’s exam making me qualify for “highly effective”?
VAM: No comment.
Teacher: Would it be possible for you to provide your predictions for how much our students are expected to grow at the beginning of the year so we can better monitor their progress through the use of district interim assessments?
VAM: That’s Top Secret information. If I told you, I would have to kill you.
Teacher: For a man of so many variables, you are a man of few words.
VAM: Words are for touchy feely teacher types. I’m a numbers man. I believe in hard data, quantitative only. Qualitative data is for sensitive ponytail men who listen to Yanni.
Teacher: Before you leave VAM, only to return again a year past any usefulness, can you offer a “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” teacher any constructive feedback on how they can better serve their students and enhance their craft?
VAM: No comment for helping your students. You can better serve yourself by finding a new group of students to teach and by sabotaging your fellow teachers. Steal their books, distract their class, invite all their students to a pizza party in your classroom during the other teacher’s class time. Their students won’t show much growth over the year and you will look like the master of bioengineering a super crop of test takers.
***Before you think Kafkateach has lost her mind due to chronic sleep deprivation and call Child Protective Services on me, this imaginary conversation was meant to illustrate how completely useless VAM is in providing meaningful feedback to teachers and improving instruction. At this point I think I am completely VAMmed out and I need to find something new to blog about. Check back next week when Kafkateach does some undercover reporting and compares Zumba fitness instructor training to the teaching profession.
A follow up to this blog post with a Q&A from the district which was strikingly similar to my imaginary Q&A can be found here. https://kafkateach.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/vam-speaks/