Friday, March 25, 2011

Teacher Triumphs

Number of essays submitted for term 3:

1A: 33/40
3A: 24/25
3B: 34/36
4B: 29/31

That's a total of only 12/132 kids who decided not to do the essay. If you know how many unmotivated students I have, you know what a big deal this is for me.

Not to mention that my students have done better on this essay than any of the ones they've done before. I'm VERY proud of them. And I have to say I am proud of myself too. I'm learning every term what it takes to be a better teacher--what to do and what not to do--and try to fix myself and my processes as I go. So on our third essay, I think the writing process has been laid out much more effectively for student success.

I love being happy while I'm grading essays. It pleases me immensely to see them try so hard and see them succeed. And it pleases me even more to see the kids who haven't tried before at all actually give it a shot this time and do well! It's such a triumph for me to watch so many of them succeed and feel like maybe something I did contributed to that.

Number of failing grades for term 3:

1A: 12/40 (but 9 of them do less than half their work, as in like, a third of their work...)
3A: 3/25
3B: 11/36 (but 8 of those are ELL--English Language Learners--who I tried to help, and 5 of them could have easily passed with just a little more time and effort)
4B: 5/31

If you know about my upset in term 1, where I had the most Fs in the school, you'd know that this is a huge jump in the right direction. My grade weights have always been in their favor (they can pass just by doing class work), but the way I did it this term made it so they had a more accurate perception of their performance in my class on a consistent basis. This pushed some of them to work harder.

I sent home calls on a weekly basis to invite kids to 5th Period Friday (intervention), and informing their parents that they were not passing my class. I'd send home about 70 calls and get maybe 4 kids a week who actually came.

I posted grades weekly or even more often. I put notes next to some of their grades for them to come and talk to me. Most didn't.

I sent texts by email to some kids to come and talk to me. Most didn't.

I also put together packets for a lot of the kids who were "on the verge," so to speak, so they could do the work they were missing. Most didn't.

I did so much to try and help them pass. I felt like it was a waste of time because most of the kids really don't care, so why should I? But it is gratifying for me to know that I did all I could.

I've omitted my developmental reading classes from this report because those classes are not core classes and won't devastate students' progress. A majority of the kids in those classes are highly unmotivated, low-performing, and/or resource students. I'm very easy on them and give them lots of time to succeed and catch up. So I refuse to use their grades to assess myself as a teacher.

In short, my jump in essays submitted, my jump in essay performance, and my fall in student Failures have made me feel so proud of my students and of myself. I hope for continued and increased success in the future, for them and for me. It's victories like this that remind me occasionally why I do this job.

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