Unsatisfactory Teachers

by beccaborrelli

A 2009 report by the New Teacher Project looked at teacher evaluation across the country and found that less than 1% of teachers were rated unsatisfactory. Given the dismal performance of many schools, such ratings defy common sense.
— NY Times

*Cue metaphor*

“A Narrative to Provide Context” Act I:

Once upon a time there was a group of restaurant servers. Their job was to bring food to patrons of a restaurant and care for their needs while they ate.

To make sure that guest’s needs were taken care of, corporate policy required all servers to have a degree. Within ten years of being hired, servers agreed to complete a graduate program at an accredited university. This restaurant wasn’t f-ing around. They had high standards.

Yet in spite of high standards, the restaurant was failing. Patrons were leaving mal-nourished, and under-stimulated by the bland, processed food provided on the menu.

Chef decided to make changes.

He began to create his own recipes based on the special needs of his guests. He asked the servers for input. Together they observed cultural background, community influences, and the environment of the city they worked. They then mixed unique flavors, brought local ingredients into the restaurant, and created a balanced menu of diverse tastes, nutritional content, and exciting varieties of texture.

Restaurant guests flocked in. They loved the food, and the servers loved serving it. They proudly served the food and personalized their service to each guest further than ever before. They listened to tales of heartache, provided complimentary coffee on hard days, and words of praise to faithful regulars.

Freed from dealing with streams of problems and bad guest experiences, servers became passionate and inspired. Their energy was funneled into tailoring a meaningful experience for each guest, rather than putting out fires and attending to bureaucratic tasks.

One day Chef received a letter from corporate. In standardized letter font, he was informed that in order to streamline all restaurant production, deviation of any kind would not be permitted. Relunctantly, Chef complied.

“The Current Plight” Act II:

After reverting back to the old menu, servers became disheartened, and many of the good ones quit… being unable to continue serving bad food in good conscience.

The remaining faithful servers continued forth, knowing there were little things they could do to perhaps change the system slowly. Not surprisingly, the restaurant continued to fail, and corporate members began to feel pressure from the government. After all-  guests were getting sick.

In order to determine courses of action to be taken, corporate executives hired analysts to study management practices at their restaurants. When the data returned six months later they were flabbergasted at the findings:

Only 1% of their servers were rated as unsatisfactory.

Clearly restaurant management was far too lax on their ratings of server performance. This would have to change.

“Perhaps we might have the servers compete for best customer nourishment and satisfaction,” suggested someone. “Then we can pay them on a sliding scale, based on results.”

“Wonderful,” said another.

“BUT… BUT… said Chef… it’s not the servers, it’s the food.”

“You are defending mediocre servers because of personal sentimentality, Chef.”

Chef left the meeting downtrodden, yet hopeful. Let them try this if they must. Surely after exhausting this alternative with similar results, they will see the truth.


*stage darkens, drop curtain*