Saturday, April 26, 2014

Celebrating My Students!

Each week on Saturday 
bloggers celebrate at Ruth Ayres Writes
Won't you join us? 


As we enter the season of testing, finding celebrations becomes more of a challenge. Our focus shifts, our stress levels rise...
I was talking with a colleague yesterday and she was getting lost in the numbers...the data...and feeling like a failure...losing perspective. I asked her to come up with a list of reasons why she's a great teacher! She started to decorate her writing notebook with those words and I saw some sparkle return to her eyes. I made my own list. Numbers and data are not sitting in front of us every morning...our students are. We need to remember our students and their progress and their achievements and them as people before we fall down the rabbit hole of testing. Here are a few of my reasons why I celebrate myself as a teacher...

1. My most reluctant writer in September, now walks around school with a notebook to find poems. She asks to write instead of read some days...and this is the student that is ALWAYS reading. 

2. A struggling reader is working hard to finish a book that's a challenge for her. Everyday she comes in and we chat about where she is in the book. She never thought she could finish a book like this and now she's almost done. Seeing the pride in her eyes makes me smile!

3. While writing persuasive essays (about which dog I should adopt) three students discovered the dogs they had picked had already been adopted. I told them that it was fine and they could submit that essay. Two of those three started again!

My students have made these accomplishments, not me...but I've provided an environment where they feel challenged and supported and they trust me. When testing occurs, I remember that my students are readers and writers. I remember that each of them has made gains and grown as a person. 

I choose to remember that instead of numbers. 

13 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great week Michelle. It is always great to keep our students' accomplishments in mind when testing time arrives. No child should be reduced to a set of numbers. Enjoy your week!

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  2. Somehow the growth of students who were most challenged at first shows the best that our actions, beliefs and support matter. See you soon #TeacherPoets.

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  3. Love your thinking! Students before the data -- yes, yes, yes! I celebrated growth this week too -- and not just in the numbers!

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  4. It's an inspiring post I hope many listen to, Michelle. I love "Numbers and data are not sitting in front of us every morning...our students are." If only everyone could remember they teach students, not topics. I love hearing about the students always-what a gift you give them every day!

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  5. This is wonderful! I loved this line, "...and I saw some sparkle return to her eyes." Monday is the last day before testing for my 6th graders, and I always debate about what to do on that last day. Do I cram more last-minute info in? Review test-taking strategies? Freak out? Ha. Maybe I'll do what you did for your colleague. Have them list positive words that make them great learners. Hmmm....Thanks for inspiring me today!

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  6. I too like the list of positives. In the face of the numbers, remembering the individuals (ourselves and the students) behind the numbers can help ground us and inspire us too.

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  7. We must remember the sparkle, the writers, the readers, and the hugs! People make schools, not numbers and data. Let's look at the people. Let's listen to their eyes!

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  8. Oh Michelle you've chosen what is important. I fight this fight all the time. This year we will have no numbers because the state is testing the test with no results. What a relief to look at my student and not know a number just what they need and how they have grown. I celebrate you and your students! Bravo!

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  9. No matter what the numbers say, students are always more important as human beings than as data numbers! It is definitely time to celebrate you as a GREAT teacher who inspires her students!

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  10. Finding these successes to celebrate is important throughout the year to keep us going, but I agree it's especially important when we are in the middle of data collection at the end of the year!

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  11. Wonderful celebration!
    The most important (and life-changing) learning cannot be measured with numbers!

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  12. Fantastic learning and stories of engagement. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  13. Numbers and data are not sitting in front of us every morning, our students are. Yes, yes, yes!! It sounds like a wonderful week for you and your students.

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