One Sunflower

solving my problem about Maria

on April 19, 2011

This week our Head Start agency is undergoing a federal view. This process is a train I’ve been riding all year, and I am sooooo ready to get off!

I decided to write today as though I was Maria, the reviewer I met with yesterday and today, whose job it was to interview a small group of teachers, visit their classrooms and review student files.

…….Here they come, the eight lucky teachers chosen for this part of the review process.  They sit like scared little bunny rabbits, as far away from me as they can get!  I bet if I said “jump three times and scratch your nose,” they would do it. Here we go….

“Hello, my name is Maria.  I always tell teachers a little bit about myself.  As you can tell, I am Spanish.  I live in Florida and have been working with kids and teachers a long, long time.  When I was a principal, we had Head Start in our school so I know about you, and I know how you feel right now because I’ve been there too.”

I’m not sure if that puts them at ease but I hope so.  I know the questions by heart; I’ve been doing reviews like this for a few years now.  Which question should I begin with today? It seems that I already have a lot of information about these schools from our interviews with the family service people…

Almost three o’clock, I’ve been in town for 24 hours now.  These teachers probably don’t realize it doesn’t take me any time at all to see whether an agency has administrators who know their stuff, who have systems in place which are going to support the Head Start mandates.  Just a few answers from these teachers and I’ll know the same about them too.   Yes, I can tell these gals know their work; they are naming everything I’ve been told to look for and are giving me good examples too.  I wish I didn’t have to type all of this in, I wish I could just check a box that says “super.”
My, the drive out to this school was long, but beautiful – I love the sight of those mountains. I can’t believe I saw hail on the ground, get me back to Florida!  I hated coming into the classroom an hour after school started and interrupting the teacher to set up my computer, my charger, and make requests for the documents I need.  I know bulletins have gone out about the paperwork we are going to review but the information is always incomplete.  This poor teacher was hauling notebooks out of drawers, pulling lists off of walls.  Luckily, I only had to interrupt her once after that initial blast into her space.

I tried to listen to what was happening in the classroom as I answered the questions on my computer.  Thank goodness I’ve been doing this awhile so I can pay attention and type at the same time!  The kids were busy but well behaved, shows me the respect they have for the teacher and for each other.  Two of them were even flying paper airplanes around the room but it wasn’t too disruptive.  Then that cute little girl with the long braid strummed on the xylophone and suddenly they were all cleaning up, amazing.  I know there are unique opportunities for the children when they are housed in a public school like this class is and I was able to witness one today.  Some older students came to the classroom to help the preschoolers get ready for a performance of some kind.  I’m not sure what it was all about but they were playing Lummi sticks to music and doing a nursery rhyme and sign language to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  I was charmed.

And then, before I could blink again, the older students were gone and those little ones were all front and center listening to their teacher draw the cutest story about when she was a child and her mother measured her against the door frame on her 5th birthday. The children were absolutely rapt with attention and then four of them went to the easel to retell the story.  I loved to hear their little voices fumble around with the English they are learning, brought back memories to me!

I had to leave right after that, off to another school.  I’m sure the next teacher will be just as good; I can tell these teachers have received great training and support for what they do.  I’ll spend the next 4 days chirping about it on the computer but I could leave town today satisfied that these children are receiving a great education.


5 responses to “solving my problem about Maria

  1. Mrs. V says:

    I liked how you turned what is typically a stressful situation into a positive assuming good will that the reviewer would be noticing positives, rather than just picking everything apart. I hope that the whole process goes well!

  2. Linda Baie says:

    We are going through our accreditation week this week, so I understand a little bit of what you were feeling. You told your story in such a clever way, & emphasized all that was good. I enjoyed it all the way through!

  3. DonnaSmith says:

    You forget sometimes “the rest if the story”! Nice perspective.

  4. elsie says:

    When we can take another’s point of view, it makes us appreciate the situation more. Good job of being Maria, I am sure she was quite impressed with what was happening in your class. I know I was.

  5. Tam says:

    Great way to look at a reviewer–if you’re the teacher I know you are, it’s all in the game. Here’s to you for all your hard work this year!

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