Be The Change…

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 05 2012

And the scores are in……

There is rarely a day that has gone by during this school year that hasn’t left me completely shocked by SOMETHING. Sometimes it is a student’s misbehavior. Sometimes it is something an administrator says or does. But, sometimes it just the greatness that is teaching.

We took our summative assessment on Tuesday and Wednesday – our Spanish 1 end of level exam. I used the NY Second Language Proficiency Exam. In NY, many students will get two years of solid foreign language instruction before taking the test. My students and I got one year because of the structure of our program, and this left me afraid as to how the students would score. After the kids finished their tests, I sent samples of student speaking and writing off to teachers in various places to get their feedback on grades to make sure that I was grading my students as fairly as possible. Here is a data recap of how my kids did:

  1. Combined class average = 84.3%; lowest class average = 80.2%, highest class average = 88.2%.
  2. 106/122 (86.8%) of students tested earned a 70% or higher on the test marking significant gains.
  3. In New York, 93% of student’s tested passed the exam with above a 65% (the New York State passing score). Comparatively, 94.3% of our students scored a 65% or higher on the exam.
  4. 10 students scored a 100% on the exam, marking superior language acquisition during Spanish 1.

 

After I got many of their scores back, I started sending students messages to let them know how they did. Two of them left me sitting at my dining room table with tears in my eye as I looked back at the year:

1.

Me: your grade just came in
Student: is it bad?
Me: Year right! 92.5%, you’re a rock star!
Student: OMG u scared the crap out of me!
Me: I thought you could use a little shake up! I’ll call your mom tomorrow afternoon and let her know.
Student:Ya if you want me to have a hear attack! Haha and thanks Gray for always helpin me …And being my friend

2.

Student: What did I make on my test?!
Me: Probably a 0.
Student: Wrong. But for real …
Me: 92.5%
Student: Ahh, thank you!
Me: You’re very welcome! Congratulations – I’m very proud of you!
Student: Thanks! I have the best teacher teaching me!

 

I don’t know what left me more emotional (and I am hardly a person to show ANY emotion) – seeing my kids so exciting having done so well, or to think that I may not have these same students next year. I’m afraid of what the future holds for them. I’m afraid of what happens should they wander into a teacher’s classroom who does a poor job teaching them, or shows a whole lot less care for them as individuals. I’m afraid of them falling back into the same monotonous rut and just going about their day with no laughter and joy in their learning.

I then had my end of year conversation with my MTLD and she said: Your greatest strength is your relationships with your students and their parents. What first lead you develop these relationships? And honestly, I don’t really know. I don’t know where I started, or when. I don’t know how my relationships got to be so strong. But, what I do know is that my kids are bright, very bright. And when pushed, in a loving way, to excel – they do excel. I teach some of the most loving and bright students and feel so fortunate to have had them make such a great impact on my life.

So, as my first year teaching comes to an end – on a mostly successful note – I look forward to next year. To making learning fun for students and to work with students to push them, day in and day out, to think about the world around them and what a powerful role they will some day play in our world.

 

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