The Meanings of Words – #Slice 26 of 31

My brain has a whole bunch of  terms swirling around in my head tonight based on a whole lot of different conversations and things I read today.

    • Standards.
    • Rigor.
    • Grades.
    • Assessments.
    • Evaluations.
    • Multiple Measures.
    • Evidence.
    • Data.
    • Scope and Sequence.*
    • Planning.
    • Response to Intervention.
    • Inclusion.
    • Co-Teaching.
    • Professional Development.
    • Rubrics.

These words are the jargon of my profession. They take the forefront of so many discussions with our colleagues in our buildings and describe what we do and how we work together. But I honestly don’t think of these terms when I think about my students. When I think of my kids, I don’t think of numbers. I think about their interests or the last book they were reading or what they wrote about in their journals or what poems they picked or how they reacted to Romeo and Juliet last week. I know whether they are silly or serious. I know what kinds of mistakes they still make in their writing and  what their strengths are. I know who said they read for fun before I had them and who still isn’t. I know how they sound when they read aloud and how they sound when they are excited about something.**

I know that they are all works in progress.

So are we all though, right? Amy told me today at school that she worries about me when we hit this part of the year because I start talking about what I want to do to get ready for next year and that I always sound like I’m going to reinvent the wheel. That’s not exactly true, but I do look over what I have done and how I can do it better now that I know some things I didn’t know before.

And it gets adjusted just a little bit more when I meet and get to know my students.

The goal is for all of us to walk off into a brand new summer better than we walked in the building in at the end of the summer before. Us. The kids. Me. All of US.

I know that I am just a blip on the timeline of their educational lives. This just means that time we have together is brief and precious – and needs to be used with care in the hopes that we do all get better. (No pressure or anything…)

Those words up there? They are all big picture ideas with their own connotations and motivations and insinuations and recommendations about the what and the how we should do things better and for whom. It’s up to us, with our own professional judgments and expertise and knowledge of our own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of our students to create the best fit for our piece in the great puzzle of students’ educations in our own corners of the world.

*You really can’t separate these two, can you? They’re kind of like Samneric from Lord of the Flies, aren’t they?

**I guess these are all data – but of a different kind than most people think of when they hear that word…

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5 thoughts on “The Meanings of Words – #Slice 26 of 31

  1. I think the data that comes from knowing and caring for our students, the data that comes from watching them everyday matters so much more than the numerical data that the rest of the world seems so focused on. My goal (one of them, anyway) for next year is to improve how I collect data that matters so I can share it in a meaningful way.

  2. I really lo.ved how you summed everything up in your last paragraph. One thing I love about being a teacher is that every year we can start anew with new inspirations.

  3. The end of the year was always exciting that way. I would pick out a still struggling student and try to think back to the beginning of the year and ask myself, how could I have gotten to know that student better and more quickly, so that I could have helped them sooner and more effectively. Then when the next school year started, I’d try to find that student I thought I might be identifying as “still struggling” at the end of the year, and give them more earlier! Hmmm, is that clear?

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