Friday, April 15, 2011
This week I learned two things...first - I really enjoy sharing ideas with other teachers and secondly - that I am headed to the dark side and have truly started teaching to the assessment. On Tuesday of this week, I had the opportunity to leave the building. This was really cool for me. I haven't been gone but a half day all year. The other part, is that I am in a group of teachers that is rewriting the curriculum for the entire 7th grade Literacy. I felt very good to be asked to participate with this group of teachers. Without getting into all the details, it was a productive meeting AND it was interesting to hear all the things that are going on around in the district. It was nice to connect and reconnect to other teachers in the district. I really did enjoy the day. And we got A LOT done! :-) The second thing - which has slowly been a depressing insight to me, is that we have truly started teaching to the assessments. Last Friday and this Thursday we had the kids take assessments to see if what we covered they were able to learn and understand. The results were very telling. I found myself sitting down last night and trying to figure out how to get the kids to pass the next assessment by teaching almost, with the same terminology, the test we will have during the next term. Today I sat and talked with the students. I told them how they did on both assessments and then I laid it on the line. I said that we had to figure out a way to do better on the next assessments. I told them that we'd sit down after the pretest, go over the answers and talk through ways to get them to the answers that they needed for the post test....as I did this - I cringed inside. While I understand the benefit of assessing students, I don't agree with how we're are being asked to do this. I wish people would understand that these assessments are not how we show what our kids know. These assessments only show how they did THAT day. It's only a score on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, what people should be looking at, is not what the nation wants to look at....it's the other assessments we do, the observations we make, the mental notes we take - it's just so hard sometimes. I guess I'm just tired. It's getting to be the end of the year...the kids are tired and done. It's going to be an every day conversation to keep them as on task as they can be for a while...I'm hoping that they can do it....I'm hoping that I can do it.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I've been discovering that it's the little things we do that make a big impact. Last year was hard for me personally. I could feel it in October and about the time of Winter Break - I actually was thinking of quiting and finding something else to do. I was really unhappy...I didn't feel like anything was going right or that anything I was doing was going right. It finally culminated last spring. I was asked to come down to talk with my principal....and got reamed. I mean I was flabergasted...I had no idea that I was doing so poorly - or that she felt I was doing so poorly. I left that meeting in tears and feeling like I was terrible at what I did. I felt like I had wasted a college degree. I went to another teacher in the building...we talked. I asked her what she thought and I thought about what she had said. I also went to my Literacy leader. Our conversation was helpful as well. We got to know each other a bit...I learned that sometimes she wasn't sure if she could be direct with me and she learned that she needed to be direct with me. I waited for two days and processed my situation...then I went back to my principal with the teacher I had originally spoken with. I went in, told her what I had heard, asked her some questions and we talked. It was productive. Today, my principal came to me again. This time she stopped me in the hall, she looked me in the eye and told me that I was doing a great job. She told to be happy with all that I had been doing this year and that I should be proud of my accomplishments. Today was the day that I felt appreciated and justified in my profession. I've learned that sometimes you need to take things - even the bad ones, and find something you can learn from the experience. And hopefully, you might even get a nice compliment in the end.