Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A narrow escape...

Phew! That was a close one...

I almost caught myself thinking that maybe I would enjoy classroom teaching as a career (the beginning of this week was great) --- and then today happened.

It wasn't too bad as far as days go, just one of those, "No. No way. Absolutely not. Never again. The children are better off without me," kind of days.

Each time progress reports go out, I find myself strattling a fence - and it's a very, very, uncomfortable one. On one side of the fence, I'm failing too many students; on the other, I'm passing too many. I spent an hour in a meeting putting my 12+ students who are failing (with very generous daily grades on my part) on Tier 3 Interventions with the Principal, Asst. Principal, and Intervention staff all shaking their heads at me. During the meeting, my principal tells me my daily grades should not be counted so much on effort, but on accuracy, and be better reflective of assessment scores. Legit. But to me, and from what I've heard, to other teachers, the only way to get more students to pass in terms of daily and test grades is to walk them through any independent practice activity and guide them on assessments. So much for data.

Now, I have no intention of helping my students on any test I give, but my failing students will have to receive incredible grades for the rest of the year to have any chance of recovering from those they've received thus far. Regardless of what growth they've shown. For example, I have a couple of students who have made leaps and bounds in terms of number sense and conceptual understanding of basic operations. Little of this growth exhibits itself in grade-level assessments, because even if they now understand that 17 is greater than 15, they can't multiply it by 83 yet. Even if they've learned that addition and multiplication put things together and division and subtraction take them apart (a concept completely lost to them earlier this year), they aren't yet masters at constructing function tables. Who cares that you're working hard and learning content you were supposed to learn between grades K through 3? You're already 10 and you can't do algebra?! FAIL.

Did I mention grades suck? Grades suck.

On the up side, my school is making changes to our intervention schedule. Rather than pulling kids from class, we're going to keep them in the classroom. (What?! Imprisoning struggling students in a place of learning? How cruel!... Sorry, feeling sardonic today.) During my centers with Mrs. W's class, I'll have an interventionist leading a center with my Tier 3 kids. Meanwhile, I get to work with my other 6 students seriously struggling in class. Plus, this woman's tough as nails. I might actually get to teach. PERFECT. Then, a few days a week with my homeroom, I'll have the inclusion teacher working in a group with students from Exceptional Ed. and a couple of Tier 3 students while I work with my other low-performing students. Again, LOVE IT.

We may take a while to reach a logical conclusion at school, but once we do we dive in head first. :)

As soon as we take a break to eat some turkey. ;)

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