So I know my kids are as intelligent as the kids in the wealthier neighborhoods; that’s why I want to teach them specifically. I know poor kids are underserved—period. They score low on standardized tests, and the district, the community, and THEY define them by these scores.
I was bummed as **** by ultra low scores last time, so one day, I pulled my chair out into the front of the class and asked them what would compel them to really try on one of these big tests.
One kid says ‘a PlayStation party’ would be enough for him. This was a way above average kid who is just checked out academically. I ran with it, got the other teachers on board, admin approval, and now it’s a big deal.
The school is sorta agog at 40+, 30+ point increases across the board, but
frankly can I say here—**** admin—the KIDS are telling everybody who’ll listen about their increases. I’m in ******* hog heaven.
I wrote their names and the precise numbers of their increases on posters and taped them up in the hall. I felt like an idiot doing it because our student population would be expected by any sane adult to tear down anything on the wall immediately—but crowds gathered around it all day between classes and talked about it. I feel like we’ve made academic achievement sexy, and I am over the moon.
The growth is astonishing. The kids are buzzing. I am floating.
Good teacher day.
Some weird things have happened since this day. One made me cry, and I think in 15 years, one thing most people here probably know is I am NOT a cryer.
I asked my instructional coach what my kids’ specific growth scores were for the year. She said she wasn’t allowed to tell me. She’d always been free to tell me before. I worked my ass off teaching, modeling, helping, and I spent some of my money and a hell of a lot of my time planning, decorating, blah blah to facilitate the benchmark party and the graduation party.
I hated being shut out of my own damn information.
Long story short, today, in a meeting about something totally unrelated, my IC whispered, “I have to tell you...”. She said a few lines... “I have to tell you...the biggest growth...”. I asked, “in [my grade] ELA?” And she said, “in the whole school, by far. You brought the school score up.”
It felt pretty good, but I knew it was my gimmicks— the parties, but now we know they know a LOT more than they show on tests.
This is a full-on brag. Any teachers wandering by—feel free to crap all over me. Sturgis! You have no such invitation!! 😀
I feel like I know what I’m doing—and I have receipts.❤️🎉