It's a reality of teaching in a high need school that many if not most of your students will suffer some backsliding over the summer time. Studies show that students regress around 2 months in reading and 2-3 months in math. The effects are especially pronounced in lower socioeconomic communities and among students who are English language learners. So, suffice it to say, the first day of school is always a little interesting/overwhelming/daunting at schools like mine.

But after today, I have to confess that students are the only ones who backslide during the dog days of summer. While my students may have suffered from learning loss from an extended period undoubtedly spent playing video games, watching cartoons and visiting water parks, I felt equally dumbed down by "teaching loss." While the students and I shared some poetry, created our class rules and played a few ice breaker games, I still have to say I felt today.

It's hard to find your rhythm after two months of free concerts, beer gardens and beach trips. The first day is also just generally tricky, because the essential lessons based around rules, routines and procedures don't align with the usual flow of a workshop-model based day. Excuses aside, I'm anxious to overcome the summer rustiness that slowed down my teaching today. In the mean time recognizing my own backsliding may force me to stop complaining about the kids'.


Ginger Snaps said…
We take the MAP test three times a year and I had several students who MAP tested at the end their second grade year and went down like 10 points when they tested this fall. So discouraging.
jonathan said…
Is there teaching that does not suffer from so much backsliding?

I'm think that NCLB/RTT-inspired test prep might be more vulnerable (since the proportion of real learning is lower) than other, older types of teaching and learning.

What do you think?


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