I have been thinking a lot about grades. This post has been sitting in my ‘Drafts’ category for a while now, and I have been unsure how to get it out of my brain and out into the digital world. How do we establish a safe, productive classroom culture dependent on trust and courage?
If grades are supposed to be an adequate reflection of the knowledge each student has gained (value added), then why do we have standardized tests? Are they to show students, parents, or the community the knowledge gained throughout the year? I do see the value in examining our pedagogy at every opportunity, but it all seems a little excessive at the national level.
How can I create a unique classroom community in which student learners feel safe enough to take risks, but rigorous enough that they are adequately demonstrating what they know on these high-stakes tests? I really think that we are creating another generation riddled with anxiety disorders. Enough about why this teacher does not see many positives to the high-stakes testing world we live in. You have all heard these arguments before. Let me explain how I set myself apart in my classroom.
Here is my plan for the upcoming school year. The goal is to create an environment in which student learners…
- feel loved and safe.
- challenge themselves and are open to challenges I may pose to them.
- learn from mistakes.
I plan to do that, just like the lady in the above photo did for me. She was, and is, such a mentor in my teaching life. I have lost touch with so many of these important individuals that I leaned on while teaching at Hargrave. I owe so much to those mentors.
First, I plan to create a physical learning environment that honors my students, their beliefs, and their backgrounds. We will create a classroom culture by building relationships with each other. We will make the classroom rules together, with guidance of course. My vision for the Loudon Learning Zone includes flexible seating, but it will depend on the building climate that my class is a part of that will dictate whether the flexible seating choices are an appropriate expectation. I will plan to blog about my class, weekly at the least. Notice that I have changed the name of the blog here to Loudon’s Learning from TeachTechGrl! It will be a blog in flux until I figure out how this digital space will showcase what we are doing in the classroom to extend toward keeping parents in the loop!
Next and synchronously, I will create instruction that allows as much student interest as possible to drive the curriculum. An appropriately rigorous curriculum will be the most important facet of the classroom. Data will drive instruction and student learning needs always come first. That is why I do what I do. To teach is to touch a life forever.
More reflection ahead at another point. Off to Mexican with my parents. A visit home to collect my fur baby, Pistol Pete, was necessary after the wedding festivities.