What do I want my students to remember about me? Well, I know for certain that most of my students will remember me by one thing…that they were taller than their 6th grade teacher! Think about how exciting it is for a child to walk into his classroom and be taller than his teacher. I know that this has nothing to do with my teaching, but I also understand that my students will not really remember much about my teaching methods or if I helped them get a “3” or “4” on the state test. But, they will remember that their 6th grade teacher was only 5 feet tall!
I hope that my students will remember me for other reasons as well. I know that they will remember that I cared about them and helped them realize their full potential. Every year I work hard to try to help all of my students reach their goals. I know that I have made that happen many times throughout my career. I am that teacher that requires my students to be honest, responsible, caring, and hardworking. I ensure that my students work to the best of their ability by encouraging them to put in their full effort all of the time.
I am that teacher that cares about my students. I learn what each student likes about school so they can feel successful at what they are doing. I like to hear stories about their outside activities and lives; I make a connection with each and every child. My students feel comfortable in my classroom because they can ask for help, and they know that I will be there.
I am that teacher that tries to be funny, but is not really very humorous. Some students laugh at my jokes, but I think that is just because they feel bad for me! Even though sometimes my classroom atmosphere is lighthearted, I still maintain control. My students know when they can joke around and when we need to be serious. I like my classroom this way. These children are only in 6th grade…I want them to still like school!
I am that teacher that has high expectations for my students. I challenge them and expect them to work hard every day. I also realize that each child is different and has his/her own learning style. I create lessons that enable all of my students to succeed in their own way. I am that teacher that sees growth in each of my students. I can tell you what skills they have mastered and which ones they still need to work on….even without a state test!
I refuse to be that teacher that does test prep all year long. I will not subject my students to a learning atmosphere that only teaches them how to answer questions. Students want to delve into a novel, but they do not want to have to answer twenty questions about each page. Nor do they learn anything after they have shut down due to the repetitive nature of test prep.
I refuse to allow my students to become a test score. Each child has his/her own strengths and weaknesses, and I do not need a standardized test to tell me that. In fact, the state tests do not help me learn anything about my students. This is for three reasons: the passages are extremely challenging, the questions are poorly written, and the scores are not sent to me until the following September. I also refuse to worry about my teacher score. If I am rated a “2” because of the NYS test scores, then so be it. I do my best helping students all year, and I hope for the best when they take the test.
I refuse to give up the lessons that I know work with my students so I can teach modules all day long. My favorite units are the kids’ favorites too, and these are definitely not the modules! Thank goodness I am only required to complete two modules this year! I will adapt these modules to meet the needs of all of my students while keeping them engaged in the novels we are reading.
Most importantly, I refuse to give up this fight for my students and my own children. I will not remain quiet about the detrimental impact that Governor Cuomo’s attack is having on our educational system. I refuse to let him win! I hope my students remember that I was that teacher that stood up for their future.