Teacher Makes Dog And Pony Show For Formal Observation
He could be principal if he brought his dog and pony to school every day
Nervous about his next formal evaluation, 10th grade biology teacher, John Smith, can’t possibly have his principal see what goes on daily in his classroom. Students throw pencils at each other from across the room. There’s a fight every other day where Smith has to call the hall monitor. Smith spending all period with his feet on his desk and playing on his phone have all his students expressing they have learned nothing in his class. Not only that, but Smith calls in sick at least two out of five days a week, without submitting emergency lesson plans for a substitute.
As a result, Smith has opted to go for the dog and pony show, when a teacher puts on a performative act instead of being evaluated. However, he has been reprimanded by his boss numerous times for failing to do his job, and in behind closed doors conversations, his administrators have implied he is not going to keep his job next year. Very disillusioned with his job, lack of departmental support, and inability to make a difference in his students’ lives, Smith has decided he does not care about his job anymore.
However, he knows that a regular dog and pony show is not enough. Instead, he has opted to go for a literal dog and pony show.
On the day of his formal evaluation, he brought his horse, Sparky, and his dog, Charlie, into his classroom. For the first time all year, his students are engaged. Even his principal, who came into the classroom looking to rate him completely ineffective, is enthralled by watching Sparky and Charlie jump through hoops and hurdles together.
For the first time, student-student interaction wasn’t only confrontational. The kids talked to each other about where they would get a pony like Sparky. All of Smith’s students wanted to know how he got his horse and his dog to bond, and how Charlie was able to jump high enough to hop on Sparky’s back. All class, the two performed tricks and nuzzled students and the principal.
At some point, Charlie, about 1/8 the size of Sparky, carried the horse on his back and jumped onto Smith’s desk. As Smith’s principal jotted down notes, Charlie jumped onto the principal’s desk and started chewing his papers. Other teachers and students in the school stopped their lessons and activities to see what in the world could have possibly be going on in Smith’s classroom, and a crowd gathered around the classroom and outside to watch. When the bell rang, students, the principal, and other teachers all gave their applause.
At Smith’s post-evaluation conference, he went in confident, with his head held high. He was going to announce his intention to leave education and move onto a financial consulting job where he sold his soul to a big bank. However, Smith’s principal gave him highly effective scores, expressing that he had never seen a lesson so engaging in his life.
“Most dog and pony shows are charades,” his principal said. “But this was some next level shit.”
The scores guaranteed that Smith would earn a raise for the next year, and the principal even offered to pay him a hefty bonus out of the school budget for starting an equestrian club.
Smith now regrets putting on such a good dog and pony show, feeling pigeonholed into staying in education. He realized he could be on the fast track to becoming department lead, and then principal, if he bought his dog and pony to school every day. Now, he felt coerced into resigning from his high paying financial consulting job since he is now a highly effective teacher, sucked into a career he does not enjoy. What has he done?