The Learning Curve

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 06 2012

making quilts from scraps.

I recognize it’s been so long since I’ve blogged that it’s probably more conducive to any real narrative to have a summary insert, but I can’t bring myself to do that. Suffice to say that time has passed, things have happened, and I’m still here.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the school year so far. It’s been filled with ups and downs and I’ve learned so much in such a relatively short amount of time – an amount of time that feels much shorter in hindsight than it did in the present tense. Nonetheless, it’s kind of pointless to rehash what’s happened since. I’ve had some successes and disappointments but I guess the point is to keep going.

I’m about a month out from the last day of school. Things are truly on the downswing. Everyone’s so restless now. The nice part of it is that my kids and I have adjusted to each other in such a truly familial way that we’re finishing each other’s sentences and anticipating future moves. It would wig me out if it wasn’t also cute and a much more efficient way of running the classroom.

I’m trying not to live too far in my own head about this year. It feels good to have survived but it mostly just makes me feel sad and heartbroken. There were too many failings to call this one a draw. I keep looking to next year and all of the things I’m going to do differently then, using the knowledge of things I had no way of knowing 9 months ago.

I think the thing that breaks my heart the most is that my kids have grown so much this year from the beginning to now. Both as little people and as academics, they have soared to heights that even I, frankly, was doubtful about. But the sad part is that likely won’t be acknowledged. They started the year so far from 3rd grade level and now most of them are approaching being on a 3rd grade level – huge leaps and bounds, scholastically, but in the world of testing and statistical results, it means close but no cigar. It’s sad to me that they could work so hard, add nearly two years worth of book-learnin’ growth to their little minds, and not be celebrated for it. But that’s kind of the way it has to be. It’s good… but it’s not good enough. It can’t be. They’re still being outpaced by everyone who had the headstart. So they have to keep running and forget about the hurdles they’ve already jumped. They’re behind us; they don’t mean anything anymore.

I’m rambling and I know it, and I’m so much happier than this post seems, truly. It was a good year. I gained so much from them. I am nervous for their iLEAP tests because I know we still lack so much. We were the underdogs, but we still didn’t prep enough to be ready.

High stakes testing waits for no one, though. So we’ll see. And I’ll have a better year next year, with these things I know. But I don’t think you ever really forget the first ones you’ve failed.


One never should, anyway.

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