My Instagram feed has been filled with fun, celebratory, #lastdayofschool posts today. doughnutThey’re only outnumbered by the insane number of colorful, candy-colored, National Doughnut Day posts. Meanwhile, I’m over here crunching numbers for my SMARTR goal and definitely not eating doughnuts, f* you very much. Some of us still have a few weeks of school left, and some of us have egg allergies. Whatever. I hope you choke on your doughnut on your way to the beach.

Ok, not really, but I am feeling a little bitter. Did you read that part about the SMARTR goal? I’m basically in art teacher hell right now, trying to calculate the achievement of my students using math. [shudder]

Fun fact: I suck at completing things on time, returning emails, completing paperwork, and pretty much anything that involves the phone, a calendar or planning ahead. Which is why I find myself pulling my hair out trying to complete my SMARTR goal data and paperwork a week after it was due. I expect a scolding email from my assistant principal any day now.

I hate SMARTR goals. When they were first introduced in our schools, I cried. I’m not kidding. I had no idea what I was being asked to do, and I had even less of an idea of how to make it work for art. Thinking about it made my head buzz. Fast forward a few years to today, and I have a better idea of how to translate it to art, but not necessarily a better idea of how to make it work. But I understand that I have to set a goal to meet by the end of the year, and I understand that this goal has to be measured in percentages, and I understand that if I don’t meet this goal, I will need to come up with some sort of plan to do something that I don’t understand because I didn’t bother paying attention to this part because I always expected to meet my goal. It’s art, for crying out loud. How can I not meet my goal?

I didn’t meet my goal this year.

What’s worse, I missed meeting my goal by 3%. 3%! That’s like, one student. One student! So now I’m over here trying to decide if I’m going to go back through my data and fudge my numbers or create an imaginary student who achieved an exceptional amount this year. Hey, if presidential candidates can win elections this way, I should be able to achieve my SMARTR goal this way. In case my conscious wins out, and I end up submitting my real data, I’ve already gotten a head start on my plan for achieving my goal next year.

My Plan For Achieving My 2015-2016 SMARTR Goal

  • Set the bar low. I mean, amazingly low.

Maybe I’m trying to measure too much. Maybe I’m expecting too much from my students. Next year, I’m setting the bar really low. Next year, I’ll measure student achievement by how many students are able to put their name on their work at the end of the year. 85% by the end of the year? That shouldn’t be too hard… um… on second thought… maybe not. I just remembered the insane frustration I felt last week when I discovered that not a single student in one of my second grade classes managed to put their name on their painting. Not a single student. Come to think of it, more students are capable of putting their name on their work at the beginning of the year than the end. I wonder what happens when your SMARTR goal percentages decrease throughout the year?

  • Insist that students show up for class on snow days.

I’ll also expect them to skip all assemblies, concerts, field days, field trips, and yes, even SOLs so they can come to art class. You want to know why I didn’t meet my SMARTR goal this year, Principal? Maybe because the class that I chose for my SMARTR goal missed 20% of their art classes this year. 20%! Now there’s a percentage for you.

  • Assign art homework.

Classroom teachers have SMARTR goals. Classroom teachers get to assign homework to ensure that student achievement is occurring. 2015-2016 will be the year of art homework! No, I don’t care about your dance class, Chinese lesson or the math homework you have. You need to analyze these five pieces of artwork and label the illusion of depth techniques used in each one. How else can I be sure you’re actually learning and achieving anything in my art class, huh?

  • Ask my principal to write an achievable SMARTR goal for me.

Watch as panic and confusion overtakes him.

Seriously though, one of the most frustrating things about being an art teacher, or a “specialist,” if you will, is the discrepancy between being told we’re all equals, and the reality of not being treated as an equal. We’re expected to meet all of the same requirements as classroom teachers, attend all the same workshops and meetings, meet all the same standards for student achievement, and yet, we aren’t given the same time or resources as classroom teachers.

It was a requirement in my school this year that all teachers’ SMARTR goals be math related. Um, except for you specialists, because, um, you’re different. All teachers are expected to attend staff meetings and CLT meetings, even you specialists, because all teachers are equal. All teachers are required to learn the information being presented during this workshop, even you specialists, because, again, we’re all equal, therefore we’ll have subs available to cover classrooms during the workshops so all teachers can attend one of the sessions, except for you specialists, the subs aren’t available for you, so you’ll have to get the information on your own time.

So in conclusion, equal means different, but also the same, and if you don’t have your SMARTR goal in by the close of business on the Friday following a span of two months in which you only saw your SMARTR goal class twice and have yet to have time to deliver the post-assessment within the given time frame, that’s going to be a problem.

Now excuse me while I go and finish inputting the data for the new student who just joined the fourth grade class into the spreadsheet. Do you think John Smith is too obvious a name?


7 thoughts on “SMARTR Goals are STUPDR

  1. Yvonne says:

    In my school they call this data SGO’s, or student growth outcomes. I have the same issue asking my principal for imput regarding this data. She nods at me, but I’ve never gotten a response.
    No one even pretends that specials are equal. If asked why the classroom teacher has more prep time, I’m told that their prep time is more important than mine. Never mind that I see 170 students in one day or follow the progress of 600 hundred students. Never mind that everyone else’s problems come to my room. If a student has been acting out in a dangerous way and thus removed to the dean’s office, they will still send that student to art so the dean can have a break.
    If it helps, I have come up with an in class art test for just this purpose. I write the names of the artist that we have covered this year on the board along with key elements of their art. I have each student select an artist to be “inspired by.” They must write the artist name and how they are inspired on the back of their work. I have them read or state their sentence to me. I have a little rubric for their performance.and I mark off their grade right there in class. Tada! I’ve generated data regarding student ability to apply/ analyze/ and synthesize art content. Apart from tabulating the results I have done all the work during class time. It works for me. I hope this helps.


  2. Syl says:

    Thank you so much for saying what we are all thinking!! Mine are called SLT (Student Learning Targets) and they stressed me out. Worse part is my district has now put into place a $1200 bonus for those that have an 80% or above, well no not for us “electives” to get the $1200 I have to have 95% of my kids make 80% or above to get it while the “core” classes only need 80% make at least an 80%!!! They say its because we don’t use a standardized test to measure our SLT so they have to raise the bar. I had two kids forced to take my Art 1 class (both are FT players and wanted to be in gym) and they were almost the reason I lost the bonus. I didn’t thank God but was right there on the edge where that little voice in my head was telling me “give them a better grade, don’t screw yourself over because they suck!” Thank goodness I just scrapped by and made the 95% (Take that you little creeps who drove me crazy and almost ruined my bonus! You still got your C in Art and I get the $1200!)
    Yeah, I agree SO STUPDR!!!!


  3. I AM YOU here….I feel you, I am you, I wish we were at the same school and were friends. Then I would have one…too bad the other TWO visual art teachers are way to busy trying to stay ahead of me ( seniority rule) to dare share a kind word with me. One just got highly qualified and told me that his evaluations are a wave and a thumbs up from the male administrator that evaluates us. Yet when he walks in my room and I am discussing the new template that was given to us to do our SMART goals or new district art standards, he says things like ” I have no clue what you are talking about” and a chuckle. The other one I will call her Ms PPA – Perfectly Passive Aggressive – panics and says where did you get this? I don’t have this? wait ……I MUST …..bc……. I am perfect. She loves to take all the credit for anything WE ALL do. The emails are hastily sent after a show, thanking everyone on behalf of us then signing her name to the email instead of arts team. Well I have been down that road and seen that teacher before, I just run her over and keep going.

    I don’t need kudos from a 35 year old 3rd year principle to make me feel like a good teacher….like you basically said, its celebrity status and guess what MS. PPA, do they know your name? they don’t seem very excited to be in your room?? Do the parents come in just to tell you how excited their child was when they heard they would have art with you? How many parents came in your room for parents night while I had parents waiting to speak with me ? One thats right ONE is the magic number but don’t dare turn your back, you will have an exacto implanted in your head. Yet I get needs improvement on a drop in evaluation??Ummm WHAT? I TEACH college kids how tot teach and what does the vice ….whatever he does know about art?? Maybe, Because you came in the class 5 mins before we had to leave….So sorry my goals, objectives, essential questions and essential vocab, SLO’s and SWBATL were not still up on the ONE white board I dug out of the trash so I have to erase it every class, maybe if you weren’t afraid of the kids and asked them to see their notes you would have seen all of that.

    AND BY THE WAY DUMMY – you were following the elementary schedule not the middle so you though the class ended in 20 minutes not 5, you made the stupid schedule so follow it, I have to. MAYBE I WONT MAKE YOU LOOK MORE STUPID WHEN I COMMENT BACK TO YOUR ignorant and UNINFORMED EVALUATION – When I tell you it was not 4th grade you saw it was 7th, and it was a an elective that was so popular I had a wait list and have to do it again next term because parents were calling to ask why their child did not get my class and had to take soccer, volleyball, dance, hip hop and ballet, debate or theatre. oH I forgot BASKETBALL TOO and I have the wait list?? YA, we all know the truth, I am an excellent teacher,popular with the kids and parents, I am just a bit too old at 46, and have the seniority so if one art teacher goes it not me. So I am getting evaluated out of the system( they call it that here.) He also to ld me to learn from my colleges how to do it go see their art rooms. ARE YOU KIDDING ??? I checked out what they had up in their classrooms BEFORE your dumb head came in, it was BS goals that counted to NOTHING, very general, then covered by art work so I couldn’t really read them, that was Ms PPA, the other one Mr. Highly Qualified, well he wrote task 4th grade and bla bla bla, task 5th grade bla bla bla… since when is an objective or slo a “Task” do they work for merry maids? Who is that even acceptable these days??? Where is your SWBATL – ya I know you have no idea and I wish I didn’t either but we are all equal here, so where is your STUDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO LEARN >>>>>>????? I am held accountable for 8 grade level and 22 different classes on a,b,c and sometimes d grouping two autistic classes 3rd and 5th grade ( let me be pc students on the spectrum ). Well now my room looks like a beautiful mind threw up all over the walls, because you wanted all info for every class for the entire week up so you can see it. It looks like i went crazy for three days straight covering every inch of the room with what was asked. and no, I am sorry i did not have student exemplars on the wall yet, I’VE ONLY SEEN THEM FOR A FULL CLASS THREE TIMES!!!!! IDIOT!

    Oh and mr Vice, you are right 5-3 mins is plenty of time to clean up but not 10, ya, great wording, and look at the schedule next time dummy, we were actually late to next class NOT 10 mins early as you stated… vice.

    MS. OH SO COOL ATHG I bow to you! really I do, bravo for saying what most of us can’t and have to endure. My crazy rant was just a drop in the huge bucket of a week in my life theres the child abuse change against me for trying to stop a mean nasty boy from throwing more food on me and 10 other students. HE is successfully dismantling a career I loved and worked sp hard to get where I am. It was a learning experience and a great journey, now I will take the road less traveled, because I think I am actually loosing my mind…..I have to leave teaching, its not the same, what a shame, its not my job its who I am, or was.


  4. Pingback: ATHG Presents: 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions | Art Teachers Hate Glitter

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