Saturday, June 03, 2006

Grading, passing, and failing

I finished my final grades. I still cannot believe I have to figure grades. Sometimes it feels very fair—I just enter numbers into a computer and then it spits out a number that determines whether the student will pass or fail. In reality it is not that easy—I dread grading. Not because I do not like the mental act of checking off right and wrong answers-- but because I root for students and when they don’t deal well—I have intense sadness. What should I have done better? Why the *&&* didn’t they understand I did a great lesson on this? Etc, etc, etc. What I have discovered throughout this year in terms of grading is that there are elements of subjectivity, objectivity, correct choices, errors, poor teaching, and good teaching—and you just have to keep making it harder for the students not to fail. And some students, even though you don’t accept the choices they make—you keep riding them—even if it is two years before they understand what you said to them. I had really special goals for all the students that got held back last year—and they all passed with C’s and above! It is a good feeling—but then I have students who did not pass my class—I sit around and cry when I think about them stuck in the same classrooms, with the same books, and same teachers next year. Summer school would the perfect option for them and that is all they really need. A swift kick in the pants (metaphorically of course) and a way to have some extra time to learn the material that they missed.


That is why I am excited to teach summer school. The vision of seeing a 16 year old in 6th grade will probably never leave me. I had many 14-15 year olds who just could not get out of the 6th grade. I cannot imagine the psychological impact that must have on learning and esteem. Did districts have special programs or plans for these students? Nope—nothing—not a single option! I know that teaching summer school will be a lot of work, but these students deserve a second chance to be in their correct grade and to master the material they need to know how to do. I can’t wait!

1 Comments:

Blogger Jess Wysopal said...

it breaks your heart to leave one behind....mine broke 22 times this year...I feel your pain.

But just remember you are better for your pain, because to feel pain is to love...and these kids are already doing better in school just by having you love them.

1:36 PM  

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