#Reverb13 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give participants the chance to reflect on the past year and take the opportunity to write down some hopes for the coming year.
Prompt 12: Free writing - write for five consecutive minutes on the work jump as it pertains to this past year. No editing. Set a timer. Just write.
I became a teacher because I love English. I love to read and to write and even to do research (word nerd ALERT). But over the past few years, I've felt like I'm teaching students (people) less and numbers more.
I don't mean that I'm teaching math now. That would be scary for all of us, as we all know from the sliiiiiiight miscalculation I made in my 2012 mileage.
What I mean is that instead of looking at my students as, well, students - individuals who each bring something different to the table - I am now looking at them as bits and pieces of data, fit only to pre-test and test and test again, just to see if they made a specific improvement on some sort of standard set by a bunch of people who haven't actually ever taught.
I realize that we need standards in education to make sure that Johnny CAN read (hint - he actually can't, but he can fake it on a test). But I spend more time in professional development discussing ways I can improve student achievement on tests like AIMS (the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) and the PARCC (whatever that's going to stand for whenever we start using that instead of AIMS) rather than on how I can get students excited about learning, well anything.
At the end of the day, while I want my students to be successful on their assessments, the thing I want more for them is to remember something that they learned in my class. Whether that "something" is that being a Romeo isn't really a great thing (spoiler alert: he's kind of a dumbass, and he dies at the end), how to write an actual complete sentence, or finding inspiration in the writings of Wiesel and Achebe, I don't care. I just want them to know that I want only to jump for joy at the fact that they leaned and thought and questioned, not that they improved a certain percentage on a test that doesn't once ask them about their connection to their learning.