In my last blog post I published my unsuccessful Level Three Classroom Teacher (L3CT) portfolio for the entire Internet to see along with a blog about why the result I received was questionable. In this blog post I was still quite defensive about my portfolio but I did leave the door open to be proven wrong, and proven wrong I was. So now I’m writing about how good (or bitter) this big, fat slice of humble pie tastes.
After publishing my L3CT portfolio I was contacted by two Level Three assessors who volunteered to read through my portfolio from top to bottom. Without going into the specifics of what these two wonderful people told me, they basically confirmed that the original judgements of the two assessors were correct. There might have been some variation with a couple of indicators however my L3CT portfolio didn’t meet the standard, its just that simple. It wasn’t good enough.
Failing like this reminded me of two other situations in my life where I spectacularly failed. Firstly, failing the officer selection board interview for the position of a Specialist Service Officer (Psychologist) in the Australian Army back in 2006. Secondly, failing the merit select process for an extension of my 1-year contract at Oombulgurri Remote Community School by one sentence of one subsection of one paragraph based from my application letter back in 2007. To add insult to injury, I still remember hearing a conversion from a remote teacher at the Kununurra hotel who told the group about how they copied their mate’s letter and got in. FYI, I still hate you, you plagiarising fraud and I hope you get hit with a notice for substandard performance. A pox on your house! I guess I still might be a little bitter about this.
What these two crushing defeats, along with my most recent defeat, have taught me is that there are two choices when it comes to failure. You can stay bitter or get better. For both of my previous defeats I remained extremely bitter for 1-2 years. I had convinced myself that I was wronged and that the selection processes for these two positions were absolutely terrible, blah, blah, blah we all know what bitter people sound like. Eventually I gained important insight into why I failed these interviews/applications and learnt from my failures. The good news is that my period of bitterness over my unsuccessful L3CT portfolio is much shorter and far less vitriolic on the ears of those who will listen to me.
There is another point I also wanted to address from my blog and it’s this. I wasn’t let down by the six Level Three teachers who helped me with my portfolio. They were great for bouncing ideas off of and they helped me formulate great examples but they were not assessors. The most recent assessors who looked over my portfolio said that there were some good examples that just need tweaking. However, I was let down by the assessor which my school paid $650 (one day’s relief) to. The fact that I scored a 1 for Indicator 3.2, ‘Plans and implements personal and professional growth through a range of activities and opportunities’ is a pretty poor return of investment for the cost of the coaching, and goes to show that paid services don’t always produce results. This result should have been picked up during coaching not afterwards. I’m not going to drone on about this point other than saying I won’t be using them again in the future. If anything the fault is mine for not enlisting another assessor to look over my L3CT portfolio.
If there is anything I have learnt from my failed L3CT portfolio it’s this, everything you write down must match the assessment rubric. The examples I used for competency four were absolutely, positively, awesome but they didn’t meet the rubric and I didn’t properly show HOW they benefited the students because I didn’t write that down. Just like I didn’t write down that extra sentence for that one subsection of one paragraph in my application to extend my remote teaching service contract.
I also want to leave you with one final point. Own your failures and talk about them openly and without shame (when you are ready of course). To illustrate this point, there is an important quote by Tyrion Lannister, which he said to Jon Snow at the start of ‘Game of Thrones’ in the fantasy series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’.
“Let me give you some counsel, bastard,” Lannister said. “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
If I didn’t open up my L3CT portfolio to the world I would not be in the position I am in now and I would not have gained the critical feedback I require. So on that note it's time to start re-rewriting my portfolio for the millionth time. Wish me luck!