Today I cried in class. Well it was after, but there were numerous tears that I could not control. I was talking to Dr. C about the class and most specifically, quiz 1. It has been a joke in my cohort that we only need a C to graduate. Who knew the first quiz would jeopardize that C. It was a funny joke because none of us have made a C in a course yet. It wasn’t so funny when I made a 26.7 on the first quiz (most scores were terrible, but mine was extremely bad). I emphasize the .7 so everyone knows that it rounds up to 27. Well Dr. C said that he was astonished we did so poorly as a class. Honestly, I’m not sure many of us were astonished, I know I wasn’t. I bought the book Thursday, before the Friday test. We were told the material would be on only what we read, not what we discussed in class-which I thought was ridiculous and so therefore I didn’t believe. I figured the assessment would be a synthesis between the reading and the discussions in class. Yep, nope, it was purely on Joyce Van Tassel-Baska and memorizing specific topics. I had taken notes, I had all of the answers…however I messed up the sections. I put the topic after question 2 as it’s answer. When Dr. C announced that we could do test corrections/explain our answers to improve our grade my classmates went home and wrote out the correct answers (from the book or notes) and explained why they did poorly. Some turned in revisions on the test, others turned in four pages of rewrites and I’m sure ass kissing (I love you all, I do). I looked at my test, discovered my errors and put the test in my notebook. I deserved my “27”. I did not study as much as I should have. I did not memorize what should have been memorized. However after emails and urgings from Dr. C it was pressed upon me to turn in an explanation.
My beliefs on education are that not one person can dictate appropriateness for a general population. I have already expressed this concern in my Common Core post. I am enamored by the Sal Kahn debates in the Washington Post right now (he is not a king of math, he is just a guy with a good video voice). I can memorize JVTB’s beliefs, but I don’t believe that me copying them from the book would express that for Dr. C. I also don’t feel that I was given an outlet for relearning the material. Remediation and relearning information is a huge platform for me and integrating parts of Rick Stiggin’s Assessment forLearning. I provide my students newoutlets to learn, guidelines for turning in/showing their new learning. Test corrections do not do this in their practice alone. As a teacher, I consider it my job to ensure that students learn and that I have measurable, whether quantitative or qualitative, outcomes to demonstrate their learning. As the AFL framework suggests, these outcomes are not solely for me, but they are for the students too, so they know their learning objectives and can assess for themselves if they learned them. I do not know if my learning objectives for this assessment were to memorize JVTB’s work or to explain how this assessment was either appropriate or inappropriate. When it came down to it, I had higher priorities on my list than rewriting answers. Good attitude? No. There go those disposition points….
So back to me crying. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I’m sad about leaving my classmates, embarrassed about my performance in the class or that I’m exhausted with thoughts running through my head. Dan asked me this morning how my family was handling all the changes in my life. He emphasized “all” and I knew what he meant. How are they handling them? Well it ranges from excitement for my new beginning, to fear for the lack of children in my immediate future, to complete disregard for any future changes…I started the program married, confused about my educational stance and with a 5 year plan. I am ending the program divorced, overly confident in my educational stance and no f’n clue what my one year plan has, let alone a 5.
I entered this program because I needed more in my life. I wanted to learn how to teach all kids better, especially the gifted students. I wanted to be a leader in my school and lifelong learning example for my students. Did I expect all A’s? No. If I had known half of the personal and professional ups and downs I would encounter in this process I may have expected less of myself. I believe that the fact that I made a B in my math class was fantastic. That was the semester that I taught three preps, coached tennis, lead professional development and moved out. I spent a lot of time on the math steps and processes, very little time on the journals. I put emphasis on what I thought was valuable for me, at the time, in my classroom. I made an A in our Foundations course. That, in and of itself is amazing, considering I never did the second half of the final exam. My first half kicked ass (thanks Liz!) and I learned SO much from it, I did not write the reflection of it. I learned so much in these classes, and I feel that I showed that I learned a lot in these classes, however I also prioritized my learning. This is a way that we differentiate in our classes whether it is from tiered lessons or unit matrices, students learn what they need to learn, but can focus on their interests through authentic assessment (cough: JVTB: cough)
So let’s Dweck this out. One thing I have focused on is constantly challenging myself. I want to build stronger, smarter, me. I want to surround myself with people that encourage and challenge me to learn more and be better. So what can I do with this “27”? Learn from it-reread, and then do better in the future. I tried my hardest on quiz 2…even though I didn’t follow Dr. C’s guidelines of only using JVTB because I don’t think we can just synthesize on JVTB. I want to put everything I’ve learned into practice. I have put a lot of work into our curriculum unit and expanded on my previous matrix skills from Anderson and Krathwohl to a more intense plan. I’m anxious for the final exam tomorrow. I’m nervous that I will not show how much I learned in this course. I’m nervous my over-exuberance in over-citations will annoy Dr. C. I’m also nervous that I will cry because the waterworks still have not stopped. I’m sad that I will be leaving some of the greatest professional development I have ever had-the people, the professors and Elon’s resources.
So think about me around 10 am tomorrow. Whether you are excited for new beginnings as a masters graduate or worried that all this “smarts” will make me not want to have kids (Gee and Pa) just send good vibes my way. I’ll make you proud. It may not be the way you want me to go about it, and it may involve more than you want, but I’ll make you proud. Or at least I’ll make myself proud.