Yes, the geeky-English teacher that I am has jumped all over The Hunger Games craze. Yes, I’ve coerced all of my students into buying the book to use in class, most of us have seen the movie, plan to blog our fingers off, and are in the throes of crafting brilliant literary analysis essays that utilize the 12-18 prominent literary elements featured in the book. . .
So forgive me if I’m seeing connections between The Hunger Games and current teacher evaluation methods.
Example: Districts in fictitious Panem, with limited resources, are forced to fight against each other to win favor (which translates to grain, protein, money, etc.), for the district belonging to the one victor who kills all of the other tributes that are forced to fight to the death in the yearly “hunger games.” The Capitol’s goal is to remind individual districts that rebellion is futile and that blind obedience is rewarded.
Anyone else reminded of Race to the Top’s rewards to states that have changed legislation about teacher evaluation and tenure just to get more funding? No? Just me?
How about this: As Katniss and Peeta (protagonists from District 12 in The Hunger Games) muddle through all of the grueling points of rising action, the Capitol keeps changing the rules as to who can be the victor(s). First there’s only one winner, then two, then back to one, then ultimately two after the main characters threaten to kill themselves a la Romeo and Juliet double-suicide pact.
Anyone else making connections to the different rounds of winners in the different rounds of The Race to Hunger, I mean, Race to the Top? Anyone else not too sure what, exactly, constitutes “student growth” in new teacher evaluation instruments? Anyone else have evaluators not quite trained to adequately evaluate the people in the grand ole game competing for the prize of “performance pay?”
Guess it’s just me then.
Good luck to my colleagues engaging with the many makers of the many edu-games that dominate the topographies of our arenas for teaching and learning. This tribute from district Arizona gives you a heartfelt, sealed-with-a-kiss, 3-fingered salute. I know that, in a perfect-edu-world, the odds would ever be in your favor.