I took out my iPad to write a blog post and found a draft from July
2014, the end of my second year. We had just gotten back standardized
exam results and I reflected the results. While most isn’t relevant anymore, I did want to share one bit:
“…until last Sunday always claimed that success in my class (not
failing) would indicate your ability to succeed on the end of course
exam…John had an A in my class 3rd quarter, but started to slip up.
John scored in the lowest score category. Jane was more of a problem
but during review she stepped up her game and scored proficient.
This wouldn’t be a problem until I reflect and say I dragged John to a higher grade
without his understanding. Jane was the opposite, she understood some
content really well, but others not at all (absences and suspensions
were the cause of that one) and I never would have listed her as one
of the best mathematicians, but she was.”
Welp… There are lots of things that I don’t like about that reality
like my mindsets about students and what they could achieve – and why.
I think about the new book “For White Folks who Teach in the Hood”
which I’ll be reading soon and how I may not have changed much,
unfortunately. However, I know that these small, subliminal actions
are not okay and need to change because they can create huge problems
for me, my students and their future.
My mindsets, beliefs and notions of students matter just as much as
their own. Many students will sit in my classroom for a second time
(for the same or a different course), what mindsets do I have about
them? Are they all growth oriented – “this is a different course/year,
so you can do better!” Or fixed “you failed my class in the spring,
you’ll fail it again.”
Everyone who enters my room on August 1 has to have a fresh start. It
won’t be easy to drop these previous experiences of students but I
have to. I can only hope they are willing to do the same for me.
P.S. after I wrote this draft, I read this post “For White Teachers in the time of #blacklivesmatter” by Chris. I think it tangentially fits here, and deserves more honest and thoughtful reflection once I’m home instead of on the road.