Monday, May 28, 2012
School's Out, Thank You Very Much
I hesitate to write this post. As you know, I am an exceptionally humble human being. I'm uncomfortable promoting myself because it smacks of showing off, and I am anything if not modest. I mean, if anyone will inherit the earth, it certainly should be me.
Still, I want to make a point about education that has nothing to do with my teaching prowess, and in order to do so I'm going to have to do something that might seem a little like boasting. I suppose a real teacher would claim it's all about the kids, they did this of their own free will, etc..., but my point isn't about the students. Therefore, at the risk of sounding like a braggart, I present the following thank you notes, precise transcriptions from cards and letters I received from students at the end of this school year.
"This year I have enjoyed traveling and understanding the world through literature. With your help I was able to travel from Venice to Colombia, and later on to Africa. At times I know I was by no means the nicest or quietest person in your class and for this reason I would like to apologize. However, I would also like to thank you for your dedication to teaching us and also for the humor and sarcasm throughout the year. Most importantly, however, I would like to thank you for overlooking my many flaws this year and pushing me to do better."
"Thank you so much for being a super incredible teacher that cares and helps students excel throughout my two year experience in IB English. I personally think that you are one of the strongest and the best teachers I have ever had because you helped me grow academically and have really helped me be strong enough to get through college."
"Although I highly disliked your class because of all the work, overall it paid off. I learned to become successful and I thank you for that."
"I know I could have tried harder in your class. Thank you for being my teacher. I learned a lot this year. Have a great summer."
"I have appreciated your hard work in preparing me for the IB English test. Besides the test, I have really learned a lot, especially about society. I wish you the best."
"Thank you for making me read again. I used to hate books, but you made me read so many great books. Thank you. And thank you for being you."
"Thank you for reminding me why I love English, and giving me a class to look forward to at the end of the day. Thank you for not hating me even when I stopped doing my homework for two months because I felt pompous and like study guides were below me because I had one of those moments. Thank you for catching every single one of my sarcastic comments, even when the rest of class looked at me strange."
Remember, this is more than an exercise in self-aggrandizement. So here's my question:
Considering the recent climate towards education and the near-constant criticism of teachers in some corners of the country, and considering that last year Colorado's legislature passed a law requiring that teachers are evaluated through a complex system of vague and subjective guidelines but that fifty percent of that evaluation must be based on student test scores, where can I submit my students' thank you notes so that I can be evaluated on the kind of teaching that really goes on in my classroom?