Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

"Teachers have to do their job better."

This was the response I received from someone on Twitter.

I'm bothered, so let me back up.

I wanted to lend one high school student some support. Another person replied to this high school student who was tweeting with the hashtag #MyGradingStory.

This person said...

I wanted to support the other student, so I got involved. I'm not one for confrontation, yet I felt I could share without being a jerk about it.

I replied that the student was not the "only one who has a...

I thought this would lend some support, and also share some resources.

I couldn't let it go. So on my way into school, I replied...

The person replied very rudely, so I replied (one last time - Joy, when will you just let it go?!)

Snotty? My mom would think so. ☹️

Now that you have the background...

I believe teachers all around the world are trying to "do their job better." What's with the animosity over trying new ideas to help kids learn? When averaging points is out of the equation (standards-based grading, anyone?), educators can report a more accurate picture of how students are doing.

Once we know better, we're supposed to DO better, yes?

This morning I woke to another reply from this person...

And this just makes me have a gazillion more questions. Is this just the perception of this person? Is this true? What is the percentage of teachers who "don't care" about their students? How could it be "most" when it's their profession - why would they stay in this profession? Do non-educators think teachers are not trying their best?

We've just finished with one week with students. Teachers are making connections with them, are in the hallways saying hello to everyone who passes, stay late to chat with former students, and plan with peers to make lessons as relevant as possible for all students.

I wonder... how many of my own students think this? How can we change the tide if (since?) it's not true? At least this person kept the conversation going a bit. I didn't know how to respond to the last reply, so I left it. I didn't think any response would be helpful. I have a reply in my drafts... Any ideas as to how to make it better?

I DO know that there are a LOT of teachers (my heart wants to believe "most!") who want to do their job better and better each year. When I write like this, I know I need to switch my mindset to one of gratitude, so I can let the angst go by the wayside...

Thank you for all of you who read other educators' thoughts through this avenue we call "blogging." I am truly appreciative to those of you who keep the conversations going by sharing your thoughts, opinions, ideas, and questions. You help make me a better educator, and keep me motivated to do my best each day.

My "gradeless" resources so far: "FaR" tabs of our classroom Weebly
                                    Feedback Instead of Grades LiveBinder for parents to inspect
                                    My own reflections on this journey

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this thoughtful post. Yes, there are many teachers who really care about children and really want to do their best to help all children learn. However, there are some who have become desensitized, if you will, due to working for years in a dysfunctional school system with poor leadership and no support, morally and otherwise. It's really a systemic problem. We need to reeducate teachers and school leaders about what we really want for our children. Is it about the learning or the grades? If we come to a consensus that it's about learning, then the next question would be: How do we measure learning in more authentic ways, not grades?