...or SOU for short. A term that sends a shiver down the backs of veteran teachers from my school and can cause a novice teacher to curl up in a ball under her desk.
No we are not talking about the annual speech that the U.S. President is required to give to the nation to assure that the we aren't all going to hell in a hand basket. I am talking about the quarterly report our beloved leader requires us to submit in person that lets him know we are doing what we all said we would do when we signed up to be teachers, which is to teach. Imagine that! They expect us to TEACH.
This report and meeting began as a result of a greenhorn principal finding out in a baptism by fire initiation that not everyone does what they say they are going to do. At the end of our principal's first year, when the state test results came in, I am sure he was amazed to find out that not everyone passed. Unfortunately, his laissez faire attitude toward letting grownups be grownups didn't work. The next year, he was on a mission for "RECOGNIZED" status, and recognized status we would achieve, but not without a few tears. We had this database that we had to fill out including reading levels, previous state test scores, nine week exam scores provided by the district, DNA samples.... Once that was completed each teacher had to sit at a "round table" of administrators and peers to explain what he/she had been doing to help our school reached this holy grail.
No one knew what would happen as we walked into the library. "Don't be nervous. They can smell fear," one well-seasoned teacher whispered to the trembling newbie. One by one we faced the firing squad crying, "I regret that I have one life to give for my students!" Each teacher gave his/her all. As the next group of teachers entered the chamber of doom, they became unhinged seeing the previous group limping out with their egos bruised.
Well...That was more than five year ago and our principal has more than mellowed since then although the districts requirements of him have gotten more stringent. We are still required to sit through that meeting at least twice a year. We still scurry to gather our data to present to that same round table group. But the administrators have gotten smarter. Now they feed us before they chop off our heads. :-)
3/10/10 - 8:10 p.m. update: We all returned unscathed.