I Am That Teacher

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

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.

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6 thoughts on “I Am That Teacher

  1. I want to be That Teacher and most days I believe I am. I love my students; they are absolutely amazing young people with so much to offer our world. Like snowflakes, no two are the same. Each and every one has different backgrounds, talents, strengths and weaknesses. I like to think that the most important things I teach them go way beyond curriculum. I teach them to be kind to themselves and others, to be confident in their abilities and to accept that some things in life are worth working hard for. Sometimes the best rewards are hard won.

    Sometimes a 65 or 70 on a test is an absolutely amazing accomplishment and needs to be celebrated. I can be found in my living room dancing around in pure joy with one of these tests because I know what it took to get that grade.

    With all the pressures surrounding the teaching profession today, I sometimes find it hard to remember who I am as a teacher. Working with struggling students always brought me most joy because progress is so easy to see hard work pay off. The same progress that had me dancing, now gives me cause to worry. Many times the growth students make, no matter how great will not be enough to get them through the testing. I already know how well the kids will do before I put the test in front of them, I have after all been working with them all year. The hardest part for teachers is watching those that struggle and have probably worked the hardest, lose the confidence they gained over the year.

    If 50% of teacher evaluations are based on these assessments, who will want to teach the struggling student? It is not a question of passion or love for kids. I honestly don’t care what my score is, but if it comes down to losing my job and my financial stability, how long can I afford to be That Teacher.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I so agree that “the most important things I teach them go way beyond the curriculum.” I would also like to point out that these are things that will not be on any standardized test. Also, having spent most of my teaching career in schools of poverty, I wholeheartedly support and celebrate the progress students make as opposed to making a “cutoff” score. Administrators initially say they want progress, but when the scores are reported, progress is ignored and proficiency is glorified.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For year after year as I taught inside our very low-income school, as reformer after reformer came and went, as innovation after innovation was instigated and then pushed aside, it quickly became clear that — inside the ever-churning and ever-changing chaos — just as you said: the progress was ignored while only the proficiency was glorified.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You have done a great job of saying what is important to you and your students about your teaching. I know you are an inspiring teacher. Unless you object, I am going to write a post on my blog that gives a shout out to you and reflects what is important to me in the classroom in a similar style but from the prospective of an early childhood teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: I Am That Teacher Too (Introduction) « education pathways

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