I never felt that you could just base a grade in English on tests and homework. Class work is especially important for a teacher to assess how well a student is learning the subject. Special projects give every student a chance to excel. Now another teacher, using passwords supplied by administration, had deleted everything from my computer grade book and established a system that might have been okay for math, but certainly wasn’t what was utilized in English.
The new grades certainly didn’t provide a fair assessment of my students’ work. I had left a book that contained 10 grades per student, more than 1200 grades in all. Now there were two grades per student, the result of one spelling test and one homework assignment. Eighth-grade English curriculum district and state standards were very specific. They were based on writing, speaking, listening, reading, and critical thinking. For each category there are long lists of specific student learner goals and student performance indicators. The list goes on and on. How could I meet with my students parents and explain grades based on only two items. It was clear that someone wanted to picture me as a bad teacher.
I was standing in my own classroom, but the room was bare. Where was all my stuff? Where were my student portfolios? Where were the Big Books? What had happened to the bulletin boards? Nothing was the same. I couldn’t even log on to my computer! It was as if a giant eraser had been used in my classroom. Everything that identified the room as mine was gone.
It made no sense. Teachers went on sick leave all the time without having all their classroom materials removed. I’d come back to school to find that a substitute had taken over my classes, my grade book, and my computer. What’s worse was that the substitute wasn’t even certified!
I finally gathered myself together and called Jerry Halperin’s office. A short time later his secretary, Nicole, arrived and began taking notes about everything I’d found upon my return.