Can’t believe the left picture is from back to school night this year and the right from last week. Progress.
I’d be lying if I were to say it’s smooth sailing from here on out. It’s not. Even though we’re 3/5 completed with the first PARCC test of the year, I feel most lost now than ever. Before the PARCC, I knew what I needed to build toward. I knew the list of skills I wanted to review and stress and practice and practice and practice before testing week. As we approach the end of the first test, I’m unsure of where to go from here. And.. of course.. to add insult to injury, I have my second observation two days after testing ends.. which is this Thursday. Joy.
My best friend and I recently got together over sushi to share war stories from within the classroom. Sass here, outburst there. We laughed at the ridiculousness of the teenage mentality while simultaneously smiling at it; it’s the life we have chosen. Amid giggles and raised eyebrows, we shared experiences from this week that helped remind us of why we’re doing what we’re doing. After a horrid experience with another adult, Ms. Bohemian spent a class period reminding her babies that they are a family and that no matter what happens, they are safe and loved in her classroom. She reminded them that in her room, they are home.
My reminder came in a different package. One of my toughest girls to crack, Bianca*, was borderline screaming in the hallway to her girls about how so-and-so made a racial comment about her being on the softball team. Had this happened last year and I had approached her, she probably would have cursed me out and stormed away. With a simple question, she spilled the entire story about how a teammate of a different race made a racial comment about Bianca and her friend being on the team. In short, we talked about how sometimes people say things for the reactions of others and that Bianca’s game will speak for itself. She had then walked down the hall, stopped, and turned to say what has proven to be the most heartfelt and meaningful thing any student has ever said to me:
“Ms. S., you make me want to do good things.”
At that moment – after a long day of arguing and PARCC worries and shhhh’ing – it became so clear that if at least one student grows to become a better human being, my job as a teacher is successful. Of course I care about using proper grammar both on paper and off, and of course I care that the students understand the difference between making a case and picking a fight. But that.. that comment.. I want my students to grow as people not just as writers, and if even for only one instance they stop, think, and change their course of action to make a better decision, I have done my job to the fullest extent.
So, here we are at the turning point. The second half of marking period 3. The second half of PARCC. One month until opening night of the musical.
Praying to the education gods to keep this good juju flowing.
ngiza buyabo beso bo.