I wrote this over 8 years ago! As we return to school and work, we will be inundated with data, (which I love!), but we have to remind ourselves that it’s about the growth our students make as they move along their educational journey. We need to remember that each of our students has his or her own story, just as we do!!
After reflecting and ruminating, I have come to the conclusion; I am more than just a student test score. I have felt discouraged, disappointed and overall degraded. I have asked myself many questions. What can I do better? What can I do different? What am I doing wrong? Am I in the right profession? I have had the opportunity to share my thoughts, concerns and feelings with fellow colleagues within the school, an elementary school teacher and a teacher in another district. They too expressed the same feelings as I had. They too are more than a student’s test score.
I am a teacher! Do my student’s test scores reflect this? Yes, to a degree. Are they as good as they should be? No, and I have beaten myself up enough to realize that I can do better. So, I redesign my lessons, my approach, and my delivery. I have high expectations of ALL of my students. I don’t see race, I don’t see poverty, I don’t see disabilities. What do I see? I see potential in each and every one of my students. Potential to be the best they can be. I see opportunity to impact a life or two in some positive way.
I’ve only been teaching for seven years. I don’t have the experience that some others have, but I do have the desire to be the best teacher I can be. Does that mean that because my students aren’t meeting some level of proficiency set down by the state and the federal government, I am less of a teacher? NO!! What these tests do not take into consideration is that I do impact lives. Lives that are full of chaos, uncertainty, poverty, death, teen pregnancy, violence, gangs and drugs. Yes, I work in an inner city high school. I chose to work here, I love working here, and I will continue to work here.
How do you measure with a test score the tears of a 17 year old boy, who you hold in your arms as he sobs because he had to make the decision to take his mother off of life support? How do you measure the test scores of that same boy, as he sits in a funeral home? How do you measure the test score of a 15 year old mother who’s life has been turned upside down because she has no place to live for her baby and herself? How do you measure the test scores of a young man who spends countless hours after school and on the weekends trying to decode the nonsense that is math, so that he may just magically make that 350 that will allow him his diploma? How do you measure the hugs you receive from students?
How do you measure the illumination in a student’s eyes, as they finally “get it”? How do you measure the test scores of a student you’ve watched grow, mature, blossom and come into his or her own over the course of four years; the same student you watch cross the graduation stage with pride and tears, knowing that they will be ok!
Each and every one of us is unique and special in what we do and who we are. We all touch many lives throughout the days we see each and every student that walks on this campus. Just think of the one student, who at the beginning of the year grumbled and complained about being back at school, yet by now, the fourth week of school, they walk through the classroom door and there is a smile as you say hello and ask how they are. Each and every one of us can and does make a difference to our students. We are a special staff! Even though we have personal differences and get beaten down emotionally and mentally by the politics of the district, state and federal governments, we are teachers! All of us were called to this profession for some reason. Only you know the reason you were called into this very trying profession, and please, we all know it’s not for the money or the glory!!! 😉
It’s a calling of the heart…