Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 – Day 104
As reality would have it, sometimes I hate being a teacher. I hate when I have to give an English test to an 8th grader who can barely read Georgian much less read a paragraph on endangered animals, and then have to answer questions.
I hate that I’ve been working my ass off to teach kids the ABC’s when they should have learned them three or four years ago.
I hate that I can’t ring the necks of parents and teachers who let kids fall through the ‘cracks’.
But most of all, I hate anything and everything involved with grades. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not some teacher with enlightened expectations, thinking students at the age of 15 or 17 will do work simply for the sake of learning. What I hate is the evaluative process of characterizing a student’s intelligence, ability to learn, and work ethic through the usage of some arbitrary number or letter.
It’s easier – yes- to give students a B or an 8, but what does it even mean? Have a B, of course, means the student is a good one, maybe not great, but pretty good. And still, I ask, what does it even mean? What I’d love to see is a little footnote explaining the student’s strengths and weaknesses, the can & can’t do’s, which rewarded him or her a B.
Today, I had to fail two students for cheating on their tests, and I hate having to do that. In fact, I would say it’s one of the worst parts of my job. I don’t say this because I’m a softy with a bleeding heart, albeit I am. I say this because I want to be able to have wonderful, interactive lessons, where all we do is learn. Most of you, of course, are probably asking how a teacher is supposed to test his/her student’s knowledge without tests/quizzes. And this would be a valid question. I really don’t have any suggestions to offer – no new, inventive methodologies – just a horrible feeling that arises every time I give grades.
needing a pick me up a.k.a. a slice of strawberry cheesecake,
xo xo m