Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 01 2012


“To them we cannot say ‘tomorrow.’  Their name is ‘today.’”  -Gabriela Mistral

Today marks the first day of the second half of summer school.  I left my lesson on Wednesday glowing.  The kids’ exit tickets tied my first lesson for their highest average scores!  In discussion, students were smiling and articulating the steps of finding word choice and contextual evidence (our objective).  One student, D, even went to the board and played teacher.  I was SO PROUD of him for being such a leader and commanding the class.  He had S read one paragraph and then said “okay stop there.  Go back.  What words did you pick out?”  Then he underlined them on the board and made the class walk him through the next steps.  J looked dubious at first and glanced over at me, sitting in D’s desk.  “Don’t look at me,” I said, “D’s the teacher now.”  D’s face lit up like the 4th of July and my heart just about burst with happiness.

These kids are getting it.  We talked in the beginning of class about checking in on our vision and goals and where they thought they were and where they wanted to go.  The students talked about what made them proud and what they wanted to work on and how we, as teachers, could help them.  At the end of class, they took surveys to give us feedback.  One student, L, wrote “My teacher shouldn’t do nothing more because she got it.”  While I disagree with her and am excited to see how much further I can push myself to keep pushing them.

Today, I made a student cry.   …because she was so proud of her growth thus far.  L has grown by 45% since her pre-Institute assessment, meaning she has now achieved 103% of her growth goal.  Our goal is for all of our students to achieve 100% of their growth goals by the end of Institute.  L started to cry and said she was so happy and she now knows she can achieve anything she puts her mind to.  Yes.  And we’ll be there to help you!!  She made a new goal for her final test, to keep pushing herself.  S, our student with the highest pre-test score, was the only one not to show growth on the mid-Institute assessment.  As soon as I showed him that he had fallen by 5%, he said that’s not okay.  I can do better than that.  I couldn’t help but agree!  He, too, set his own personal final assessment goal to be higher than his expected growth goal.

Our kids showed serious joy today, and their self-reflection of strengths, areas for growth, and ways to keep pushing themselves continues to motivate me, today and every day.

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