Saturday, May 19, 2007

Reflections on the Oh No Second

You can't take it back.

Human relationships are delicate and easily bruised. As a developing teacher, I believe that one of the pitfalls of our profession is being too judgmental. We are called upon every day to make judgments about our students based upon data we have collected and analyzed. We reward or fail our students based on the aggregate data but should we take a step back from the brink before we issue our judgments?

I have tried to encourage students to see themselves in full control of their grades. They show their mastery of content and receive marks based upon the skills they demonstrate. If they fail, I still try to encourage them. I have seen many students who are interested in the content of my classes but have not developed habits of mind, motivation, or organizational skills to pass the battery of tests, homework, or projects I assign.

The 6th graders I teach are just emerging from elementary school and they have widely different levels of physiological and psychological development. They are sometimes unable to perform at the level we are requiring at this stage of their life. Very often, they come back as 8th graders to tell me how much they have improved with a little maturity.

I enjoy teaching art because it gives me a chance to let children be creative, expressive, and playful. Some of my most talented artists are not successful in my Math and Science core.

My mother is a wonderful professional artist and I always remember her teaching me how to use materials but not how to make art.

Creating art is a personal expression and should not be judged in the same way we grade math. Kids are wonderful about assessing themselves and trying to improve their work. I really enjoy looking at their portfolios and helping them improve.

The Art Class

Our power to create negative feelings towards learning needs to be carefully considered before we cast our students in too harsh a light. Whether as teachers, or family members, or valued friends, the way we treat each other can build or destroy relationships and ultimately harm ourselves as well as those we cherish.


Vanessa said...

Great! I could relate to many of the points you made. I have so much respect for teachers like you, who not only realize, but also have the ability to see beyond grades and data in order to "judge" their students' progress. As I've said before, if only I could have had you as a teacher. I'm looking forward to seeing more posts like this. Thanks!

Charlie said...

Thanks V