Like many people, I’ve been trying my hand at freelancing here and there for extra income over the past few years. In my case, it’s nothing glorious – just writing (or rewriting) web content explaining the benefits of regular eye exams, how a reverse mortgage works, or where Eddie Murphy’s net worth ranks him compared to other actors or comics.
I’m not sure I want my students to succeed.
How’s that for an attention-grabber? Now I'll skillfully jump back and lay the foundation for such an outrageous claim and hope it’s enough to keep you reading until we reach it again further on.
In the wide realm of things everyone else seems to have heard of except me, a colleague shared this video at a recent PLC:
I hear repeatedly from otherwise respected voices that it really shouldn't matter WHEN students do the assigned reading, master the required skill, absorb the expected content, as long as they GET it some day in their own special time and way - my shoulders tighten and my stomach hurts. I appreciate the theory, but education reformers and ideologists aren't known for being bound by the same reality as the rest of us.
If reforms were horses, then students would ride... and teachers would walk behind them in the parade.
In a few days, I'll be entering final grades for this semester. I hate it. I try to be firm - you get what you get – but in reality I’ll end up browsing the final scores of each class, noting especially which students ended up a few points away from a different letter grade one way or the other.
What exactly am I attempting to measure here? Is it how much they've done? How far they've come? How well they've met state curriculum expectations? What they can DO decently in terms of social studies skills? Effort? Cooperation? Whether or not they're a huge pain in the @**? What am I measuring each time I give one of these 'grades'?