High Expectations, or Just Unrealistic?

Black and white. Day and night. War and Peace. My first year of teaching and my second.

With control and competence comes a feeling of euphoric invincibility. I have a feeling that anything is possible. I feel that my kids can accomplish anything. Not a bad feeling, right?

Now, even before the school year started I set a goal to help every student pass the state ELA with a 3. Once the school year started I felt even more passionate about this aim. This would mean every single student would be at grade level (at least according to a flawed standardized test). For context, three of my 27 students last year scored a 3. Of my 25 students this year 5 scored a 3.

This leads me to question myself. Am I heading for a major letdown? I know success is impossible without high expectations, but what if my expectations are impossibly high? I don't know the answer for sure, but I know that I'm going to keep working as if this goal were possible, which still means I will be working very, very hard. What's the worst that could happen?

Comments

I'm having the same internal conflict right now when thinking about my 1st graders. According to TC, they are supposed to be reading at level "E" right now (last year, TC said "D" was the November benchmark, so it is higher this year). TC even handed us a grading guide (who are they to tell me what grades to give??? totally separate dilemma) which rates level "E" and "F" as a 3 on the report card. I only have 3 students out of 26 who are reading at or above this level. I have a couple of kids at "C" or "D" which is a 2 on the report card. EVERYONE else is getting a 1 and the "promotion in doubt" box checked. I'm so depressed about it because my kids are working hard. How do I explain to parents that their kids are making progress when all they see is a 1 on the report card.
Hugh O'Donnell said…
Every kid can meet standards unless they've got a physical challenge that sets them too far apart.

Those kids who can meet standards, but who need differentiated assistance will test our strength.

We grow stronger with greater effort, experience, and professional development.

A teacher's real education doesn't begin until the first day of class. Imagine what a powerful force you will be in five, ten, fifteen years. Look forward to that, and give the moment everything you've got.

Just keep learning and getting more effective in the classroom. Some teachers repeat year one twenty-nine times and then retire.

Instead keep on building as you have on your previous year. :)

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