Claire Robertson-Kraft


Claire Robertson-Kraft is a doctoral candidate in education policy at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focuses on new systems of teacher evaluation, compensation, and professional development. Prior to coming to Penn, she spent 3 years working as a third grade teacher and program director with Teach For America in Houston. She is very active in the Philadelphia education community and serves as President of PhillyCORE Leaders. You can follow her on twitter @ claire_rk.

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I’ll never forget my first year teaching. The day I arrived on campus, I was called to the cafeteria for a new teacher meeting. Over the next hour, I was given the third grade standards, provided an overview of the assessment my students needed to pass by the end of the year, trained on school procedures, and handed the curriculum, which detailed what I was expected to teach each day.

As a new teacher I eagerly welcomed the guidance. But as the year went on, my initial enthusiasm was replaced with frustration. After a few weeks, I realized that only four of my twenty students were on grade level; yet, I wasn’t given any leniency to modify the curriculum. One day in mid-November, after watching my students struggle through a particularly challenging lesson, I went to my neighboring teacher for advice, and she told me quite simply to “close my door, do what I thought was best, and hope no one noticed.”

Photo by  Dankarl via Wikimedia Commons

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