Monday, October 17, 2016

If You Want to Feel Good about Teaching

Give students an assessment test the first week of the school year. Grade it and file it away, but 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, look you straight in the face and choke out the words, “Thank you.” It’s sometimes hard to know the impact teaching makes. It’s especially difficult when teaching English or Math. You never really see how much they learned and improved in one year.

It’s easier in a foreign language class. I've taught both English and the foreign languages German and French. The best feeling I ever had teaching was when a student in an eighth grade English class looked at her two exams and realized how much she had learned. She became emotional. Her gratitude was written all over her face. She knew we had accomplished this improvement together. I helped her on her path to college, and she was grateful.

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