Sunday, January 27, 2013

Taking a deep breath

Allrighty folks . . . 

This is what I faced this morning with report cards looming over my head.

I am not proud of my system of organization...

I have now dumped out the contents, have sorted the stuff, and have tackled the report cards.  Sadly, although we have a new report card which is aligned to the Common Core (YAY!), it is NOT clearly organized and we have not yet developed clear performance standards to determine what, exactly, we feel "grade level work" is. . . I know that everything is a process, but it sure is tricky to do report cards without those things clearly defined!  It is tough to declare a child is not at grade level when I am not quite sure what "grade level" is!  Baby steps, right?  My curriculum director told us at our opening inservice "We have to eat the elephant--but we can only do it one bite at a time."

(Frankly, I am not that fond of elephant, I have discovered.  I must remind her to find a better analogy for next year.)

So . . . as I move forward into third quarter, I vow to try to do a better job of making expectations clear to students . . . to SHOW more examples of work so they can see what it is I expect . . . to give more and better feedback so they can make steady progress . . . and to NOT BEAT MYSELF UP when things aren't neatly tied up with a pretty little bow.  

Teaching and assessment aren't like that--and that can get a little frustrating for "I want to do it right!!!" people like me.  So. . . as I plug away at my report cards, I am going to take a deep, deep breath and tell myself that I am doing the best I can with what I have--and as long as I keep working to get better, the elephant will get smaller.  It may not taste better, but it will get smaller.  

Have a great Sunday!


  1. Thank you! As a teacher with more than 25 years of experience I have found this year to be the most difficult and frustrating. And I love my profession! On the way to work last week I also was telling myself to "just breathe". As the day unfolded, my students continuously reminded me of my mission and why I love teaching. Thanks for reminding us that we don't have to be perfect and that sometimes the best we can do is actually pretty good! May the force be with you, my friend!

  2. Thank YOU! I have 20 years of experience, and it feels harder than ever! We need to stick together as professionals and remind each other of why we are doing this… We are here for the kids. Have a good night!

  3. I would love to see what your report card looks like. We are still giving percentage grades to first and second graders in our district. It makes no sense, but we haven't moved away from it. Could you share any part of it so we could see what you have moved to?


  4. I just spent the weekend sorting our first ELA Constructed responses into high, medium, and low piles. We have no guidelines (YET) on how to review them, so it's good that we are using them only as a practice this time through. My district is gradually phasing into Common Core and it is a learning process.