And suddnely it all becomes real. It seems like four years of college and I left thinking I knew everything. Or at least if I didn’t know the answer then I could find it in a book somewhere. For the first time I am up against something that is much larger than a textbook definition, and something that is hardly understandable to most people in America: the achievement gap.
As I have said many times, I am teaching 10th grade English. They took their dianostic tests earlier this week, and I have students reading on a lower 7th grade reading level. They have not learned to write a complete sentence. They have not learned to read and answer a writing prompt.
So, I left the classroom on Wednesday feeling defeated. I had great management and I got all the students (even those that did not want to be there) to participate. However, by the end they still were unable to answer the writing prompt to communicate they mastered the daily objective. Defeated. But, the fight goes on. And I shall just keep marching on and fighting to close the achievement gap. I am a perfectionist by nature, but I have had a good friend remind me that there is no such thing as perfect in teaching. There is always something more you can do. There is also another lesson plan to write, or one that can be modified to make it a little better. But, at some point it is that you have to take care of yourself and then go into your classroom and give it your all. Because that is what the students need, and deserve. I teach for every student in America who hasn’t had access to a high quality education. I teach for every student who is behind in reading, writing, math, and every other essential life skill. I teach for every student, everywhere.
And tonight, I am getting the sleep I need so I can get up and teach my kids about symbolism so they can continue to build their toolbox of literary devices to better be able to access any and all texts that life hands them.