It's been a while since I last posted... I'm hoping to pick up speed... Scratch that... I will pick up speed.
As part of Teach For America, it's no longer about the coulds and shoulds, it's about the I wills and I musts.
I will start blogging more. I will teach my students to the best of my ability.
I'm excited after these past 5 weeks to see what my students have learned. As you could guess from the title of the post, today is testing day. In fact, my first student just finished his test... Yes, I should be correcting it, but I also need to write this blog because I'm slacking.
A lot of people will give me slack for not writing because "I've been so busy teaching." or "I must be exhausted every day." To be honest, I've been having the time of my life.
Don't get me wrong, teaching is not easy. Teaching can be fun though. For me, it was the teaching mixed with the learning that has made Teach For America Institute (training) so much fun.
Everyday, I went into my classroom thinking about how I could better serve my students. There have been days where I just felt that my students weren't getting it and others that my students were making strides. Even though my students were getting 30s, 60s, and the occasional 100s on our end-of-day exit tickets, I knew there was a lot of work to do.
Test day is over... (I got distracted by a student asking a question)... The scores are in. There was a lot of excitement all over the school. "Oh my student made 99% progress toward his growth goal!", "My student made 85% toward her growth goal!"...
I understand that people are excited. I'm proud of my students as well! One student scored 105% of her growth goal, another 97.8% of his. The list goes on of the positive growth that my students have made.
Let me be honest, though. I'm not satisfied. I'm a part of Teach For America to hold my students to the highest degree of rigor possible and I expect the highest scores from my students. It is great that we give them a goal to achieve for our 3 weeks of learning based upon past statistics, but I do not believe in growth goals. My student that scored 105% of her growth goal scored a 58 on her test. How dare I hold her to the expectation of getting a 58 on a test?! She should be scoring a 100 on the test. Regardless of where she started we need to hold true to our motto of holding high expectations. We're here for 3 weeks and I will hold my students to the high standard for those 3 weeks. They learned a lot, but they could have learned so much more if every person was committed not to the 58, but to the 100.
Like I said, I'm so proud of the progress my students have made. My students tried hard on this test. They deserved a 100 on the test for effort, but they didn't have the expectation of getting a 100.
Let's backtrack a little, this was a test of my students knowledge, but more importantly of how well I taught my students. Understandably I've been teaching for a total of 16 days this summer. In 16 days we saw my students grow so much and I am proud. I have learned just as much if not more from my students.
I look forward to moving forward to my full-time position at Lanier High School in Jackson, MS. I'll start August 7 and I will teach Algebra I and Compensatory Math II (Pre-Algebra). I'm going to my students to the highest standard possibly. They are in school to learn for themselves - to unlock the golden doors of their freedom. Their successes will be my successes, their failures will be my failures. Ultimately though, I will be the one to push them as far as they can go. I expect all my students to get 100s in my class. I will document their growth to prove to everyone that they can and they did. I will show the world that if you give students a high expectation and goal, they will meet it.
There is a brilliant child locked in every student. Marva Collins