Give students an assessment test the first week of the school year. Grade it and file it away, don’t record the score. At the end of the school year, give them the same exam and grade it. Then hand them the copy of the exam they took the first week of school. Let them see how much they learned.
Then stand back and prepare for tears. Some of them will gush and look you straight in the face and choke out the words, “Thank you.” It’s hard to know the impact teaching makes. It’s hard when teaching English or math. You never really see how much they have learned and improved in one year.
It’s easier in a foreign language class. I have taught both English and foreign languages, German and French. But the best feeling I ever had teaching is when a student in an eighth grade English class looked at her two exams and realized how much she had learned. She became emotional and showed her gratitude on her face. She knew we had done that together. I helped her on her path to college and she was grateful.
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