All students have the right to feel like they have something valuable to offer the world and it's our job to ensure that no test takes that away from them. There is more to each of us than our score on any given exam and we must keep this in perspective. Until we move away from exams completely to other, more effective and meaningful assessment like portfolios and project based learning, students will have to endure the ticking of the clock and the use of number 2 pencils.
Providing feedback is an art and as we continue to propel our students into independence, we need to carefully monitor where they are providing them the necessary steps like training wheels until they are ready to ride alone. The magic is in that moment when they realize that they know how already.
We need to recognize that children have very active lives both in and out of school starting at younger and younger ages now. They play travel sports which helps foster physical skills and team collaborative skills that build stamina and frustration tolerance. They play instruments which develops discipline and a love of music and additional fine motor skills. They join clubs that encourage them to dig deeper into their passions and connect them to what they are learning already in a social environment.
Starting a new job this year has added a bunch of new responsibilities and I'm always worried that I'm not doing enough. Afraid of not pleasing my new bosses and even more scared of feeling like a fraud, I overwork myself, judge myself and then run myself into the ground. The irony is that I know what I should be doing, but sometimes I just can't get out of my own way.
You may hear stories about "super" seniors, those who take longer to graduate than the allotted four years of high school, and think that it's a challenge to work this group of kids, but there is something really special about it too.
Journalism is a discipline that has always supported true creation and application of 21st century skills and does it in a way where students are doing more than they are sitting and getting.
If we just assess students without telling them the purpose and more importantly giving feedback on what we see, then we'd be committing a great injustice to our students. We often talk about actionable feedback to move progress, and consider this best practice as educators... Which begs the question, why would it be any different for teachers?
In the first five years of teaching, writing lesson plans was absolutely necessary for me. Meticulously I planned the period, minute to minute insuring that everything was covered... just in case. Fearful of deviating, even a little, I wrote down questions with the exact answers I expected. This way I could tell if students were getting what they needed. I look at those early lesson plans and shake my head now, but I needed to be rigid until I found my teaching voice. As time went on, I became more confident and flexible in the classroom, spending less time on ...
Having a productive and positive morning routine can help every day start off well. So making sure you get to bed early, pick out your clothes the night before and preset the coffee to brew in the house if you aren't stopping on the way. We deal in the business of people and that can be challenging to begin with, so we want to create the best possible scenario to for a great day, every day.
Teaching reflection and self-assessment in a culture that isn't used to doing it takes time. But for a gradeless classroom to be successful, students must know success criteria and how to identify it in their own work. These baby steps will allow students to start looking at their work with help and then with their peers and then on their own.